Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Do You Get Along with Your Mother-In-Law? 5 Tips to Help

posted by Linda Mintle

distress womanIn a few weeks, I will become the mother-in-law. For years, I have helped people in therapy deal with their  in-laws. In-laws can easily become out-laws in families.

In fact, researcher, Sylvia Mikucki-Enyart at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point polled mothers whose child was about to marry. She overwhelming found that moms were more worried when their sons married than their daughters.


Moms felt more uncertainty and insecurity with the daughter-in-laws to be, wondering how they might influence their sons when it comes to family relationships. Mothers also worried that the wife may change their sons in ways that would create distance. And daughter-in-laws wondered about their mother-in-laws, are they talking about me, going to be too involved, etc.


When the two women dance around each other and don’t work out their relationship, distance can occur. The key is to work through the uncertainty of the relationship, defining it as you go. Sons need their mothers and new wives to work out their relationships. Mothers-in-laws can be strong advocates, helpers and supports to a couple.

So here are a few tips to help make those relationships positive:

1) Mothers do better when requests come from their sons. If something has upset his wife, a son should ask his mom to behave in a way that doesn’t upset her, not just tell her that she upsets his wife. Talk through strategies as to how to approach and solve problems quickly. But make sure those strategies are healthy. For example, a son can’t ask his mom to avoid problems. Relationships don’t grow that way.


2) Daughters-in-laws should keep their mother-in-laws involved in the family. Spend time together and pick their battles. Like any relationship, spending time together and working through issues strengthens relationships. This relationship is too important to ignore or be a battle. Working through conflict is essential. Don’t keep problems inside and don’t avoid.

3) Both should avoid seeing their relationship with the son/husband as a competition. It’s not and both love differently.

4) The couple should be a team and present as a united front. This means couples need to work through the issues and decide how to deal with them together.

5) Two women come from two different family systems. Both need to learn to accommodate the other but work on healthy strategies for relationships. For example, if one woman doesn’t hold boundaries, that is an area of work. If the other avoids conflict, that needs to be worked on too. Dysfunctional family patterns should be addressed to improve the relationship. After all, feminist say we marry our mothers. When both women have worked on healthy patterns in their own families, the relationship between them will go better.


What Happened to Funny Girl Amanda Bynes?

posted by Linda Mintle

I remember watching The Amanda Show with my kids and laughing a lot. We thought Amanda Bynes had a funny sense of humor and an entertaining show, but now, she is a mess. What happened to this teen star?

The 27-year-old actress was recently arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of marijuana. She denies it all. She doesn’t speak to her parents, rants on Twitter and sounds completely paranoid and behaves in erratic ways. She has a DUI pending in Souther California and had two hit and run incidents dismissed against her last year. And she was put on three years of probation for driving with a suspended license. She looks like a crazy person in court wearing a disheveled  blonde wig!


She’s acting bizarre and needs help. Her behavior is not normal and she is imploding in the public eye. Instead of making news headlines for crazy actions, it would be nice to see someone like her get help. It’s so sad to see these child stars like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and such implode in the public arena. Child stars like Corey Haim died from an accidental drug overdose, Growing Pains actor Andrew Koenig committed suicide. Tracey Gold became anorexic, MacKenzie Phillips battled substance abuse and admitted to being raped by her rock star father… the list goes on and on.

Occasionally, we see a child star like Ron Howard or Brooke Shields manage the transition, but that seems rare. But maybe it has to do with the families protecting their kids and keeping them in some normalcy.


AKA, Fred Savage, cute star of the Wonder Years. Fred’s family kept him out of the Hollywood fray. Life stayed normal in a modest house with siblings around. Fred grew up, graduated from Stanford with an English degree, married his childhood sweetheart and seems to be a good citizen, avoiding relentless scandal. I credit his family for helping him navigate stardom.

And that is the key in my opinion–families, can help or create entitled kids who miss out on childhood and are exposed to way too much before they can ever handle it.

What is most saddening is the public comments I see that are just plain mean-spirited to these fallen child stars. They need our prayers. They need help, many need rehab and family work.


When I see those paparazzi pictures of child stars gone wild and crazy, I wish managers and families would be more proactive about helping them and get them out of the public eye. But I know the actor has to want it too and that is not always the case.

You can’t help people who don’t want your help. But there was a time when family members did hold some power regarding creating normalcy. Maybe that is the lesson to remember.


10 Ways to Remember on Memorial Day

posted by Linda Mintle

Memorial Day usually means a day off, time to relax, barbecue, the beach and time with friends.

But I hope on this Memorial Day you also take time to remember the significance of the day –honoring the people who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.

It is an especially sobering day for me. I lost a brother during the Viet Nam war. That loss forever changed our family. And this year, I won’t be with my 91-year-old father (he served in WWII) who will place flowers on my brother’s grave. My mom, who has gone to be with the Lord, and dad always took us to the military part of cemetery to decorate graves.


And because I live in a military town, I am acutely aware of all the families that lost loved ones to recent wars as well.

So this year, here are 10 ways to honor our soldiers who died:

1) Explain the significance of the day to your children.

2) Fly the American flag at half-mast.

3) Visit a war museum or memorial.

4) Place  a red poppy on the grave of a veteran (a symbol of the blood of heroes that never dies).

5) Take a moment for a silent prayer and pray for those still in harm’s way.

6) Attend a parade or religious service honoring our fallen soldiers.

7) Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance (pause at 3:00p.m. your time zone).

8) Give a donation to a veteran charity like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.


9) Sponsor a  thank you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation ( ). You can dedicate your bouquet to a fallen soldier.

10) Ask your school to be involved in the Adopt a Grave program –the school takes care of a grave of a fallen soldier by keeping it clean and placing flowers on it.

There aren’t words to express the gratitude I feel to those who bravely fought for our freedom. Thank you to all the soldiers.





Are You Underestimating That Fast Food Burger?

posted by Linda Mintle

burgerIt’s a busy day. You don’t have time to cook. On your way back from that late soccer practice, you swing by the fast food restaurant and order burgers, drinks and fries for the kids. But do you really know how many calories you are giving those kids or yourself for that matter?

According to a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you may not.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute found that teens underestimate the calories in fast food 34% of the time; parents of school-age children by 23%; and adults by 20%. About a quarter of the people studied underestimated their meals by 500 calories! And interestingly, diners at Subway underestimated their calories more than diners at Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. This finding confirms another study that was recently in the news about Subway and McDonald diners eating about the same calories. I would guess that because Subway has been associated with weight loss,  many people order high calorie foods thinking they are being more calorie conscious.


Personally I have a fast food app that is very helpful in making decisions when I find myself at these dining places.  I am often surprised by the total calories in many items that sound slimming. Sometimes the restaurant posts the calories, other times you can go to their websites.

Now, I know most of you won’t take the time to regularly look up the menu items so here is what I suggest. Look up the items you most often order. Check the calories. Then look for items you like that have lower calories and order those instead. I do that with Taco Bell, the one fast food restaurant I sometimes frequent when out and about. I know which items are the lowest in calories and fat and order those. Honestly, this strategy works because it still gives me the option to run through the drive through in a pinch.

So check out that burger and fries and learn things like how many calories you save at Five Guys by just removing the cheese from your order! Come on people, we can do this!

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