Doing Life Together

Talking to your child’s in-laws can bring some interesting challenges. What do you do if you are at a dinner party with your son in-law’s parents and they share intimate information about your daughter and her husband? You squirm and feel a bit uncomfortable, thinking, “Is this information our daughter really wants shared with us? Wouldn’t they have told us this directly if they wanted us to know? I wonder if their son shared information confidentially and now they are telling us?”

You probably don’t know what to say. It’s a sticky situation. Part of you may want to know the information and the other part of you knows this is oversharing.

Usually what motivates this behavior is the need for attention and to feel in the know. However, oversharing  demonstrates a lack of boundaries.  You could say, “This is making me uncomfortable.” and they might stop. That could work. Most likely, you are not going to change this behavior.

If confronting the boundary violation doesn’t stop the behavior, inform your adult children. Whatever is said to those in-laws is probably going to be repeated to other people. So warn your daughter. She may want to let her husband  know that what he is sharing with his parents is getting broadcast to other people. Then, it is up to him to either stop telling his parents things he doesn’t want repeated, or confront the behavior with the hope of an apology and change.

In this case, the son-in-law would take the lead and confront his parents on oversharing. He would then decide if he wanted to keep sharing with his parents. Or he and his wife may decide to be more private. Either way, the problem should be addressed and a plan determined. Otherwise, intimate details of a person’s life may be given not only at dinner parties, but other places as well.

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