A harmonious mother-son relationship after marriage does exist. It may not be easy for you to connect with his new family. And it takes you as a mother and your son to build the connection.
A strong mother-son bond is essential to have great motherhood in your late 50s. Your grown son is having his own family. And maybe, soon enough, he’s also going to be the father of a child. You start daydreaming about being a grandmother with your grandchild running towards you on one Saturday evening.
It must be a great feeling to see how you have raised such a man that is able to have a family of his own and filled with confidence that his life is going in the direction he wants.
A boy that was once in your lap, is now a fully-grown man responsible for his own life and decision.
But those dreams of staying close with your son may seem too far fetched. You are not sure if your relationship with your son will stay the same.
What if you two are growing apart after marriage? What if he doesn’t have time for you anymore? How is it going to be with a whole new family from your daughter-in-law? Are they good people? What if your son behaves differently? Do you lose your son once he is married? What if you have a mother and daughter-in-law conflict?
All these what-ifs are the reason you’re looking for answers to tell you that everything’s going to be alright. And if you’re reading this article thoroughly, I sincerely hope you’ll find those answers.
The good news, it is highly likely to keep a healthy and harmonious mother-son relationship even after your grown son is married. Detachment is not even a choice here because you won’t have to detach yourself from your grown son in order to have a solid relationship.
There are ways of letting your grown son go into marriage while still keeping a healthy and harmonious mother-son relationship.
With those changes, you may think it’s not easy to have a healthy relationship with your son and his family. However, with these 5 best practices for mothers with in-laws, you can build a stronger connection with your son, even when he’s married.
Before going down to the core topic on how to have a healthy and harmonious mother-son relationship, let’s take a look at how important this relationship that you have is.
The Importance of Having a Healthy Mother-Son Relationship
Research suggests that having a healthy bond of mother-son relationship is important for his lasting overall adulthood. It makes them better in school, relationships, and even in the workplace.
It also makes them less vulnerable to depression and stress.
A study conducted by Nicholas Zill, Ph.D. for Family Research Council reveals that the mother has the second most influence over the quality of the parent-child relationship after both biological parents or two adoptive parents.
This is enough to prove that having a great mother-son relationship is necessary. It’s important not to underestimate your influence over your son’s life.
You could affect him now when he’s an adult and a married man just as much as when he was a little baby of yours.
While it’s true, the research still counts the existence of both parents to make a better parent-child relationship.
Having said that, the family structure of the mother alone can still give more influence to the parent-child relationship compared to the one biological parent and one stepparent family structure.
A solid relationship between you as a mother and your son is a good ingredient for a happy married life that your son is going to have. Women are credited with fostering emotional intelligence in their children. As a result, a son who has high emotional intelligence is more likely to be understanding of his wife.
If you’ve been a close and supporting mother to your son, you’ve taken part in raising a man who is respectful and thoughtful towards his wife. Kudos!
On the other side, some parents reject the idea of having a close emotional relationship with their sons. According to some, it would make their sons delicate, wimpy, or even an effeminate mommy’s boy.
Some mothers don’t think about the influence they have over their sons. They prefer to raise a son by being absent in most of his activities, avoiding being emotionally too close, and lack of physical affection. It’s closed to being a toxic mother.
Sadly, this shapes emotionally-distant sons rather than the intentional goal; raising a manly man.
When it comes to raising a son, there’s no need to worry about being too close. Nurturing a strong mother-son bond has many long-lasting benefits that will make his adulthood even better.
For example, a solid bond between a mother and a son could prevent delinquency and behavioral problems, promote better emotional intelligence and allow them to openly express what they feel, reduce anxiety and stress, and enhance their communication skills.
However, the strong bond costs an attachment to moms. Especially when the son becomes a man, lives by himself, and starts a family of his own.
As a mother, you may have questions, concerns, and worries. Is this marriage a good decision? Will I see much of him anymore? How much of a role I have in his new life together with his wife and children?
Well, now let’s how the changes in your son’s life can affect you as his mother.
The Changes in Relationship Between A Mother an A Grown Son
Your concerns and worries as a mom are natural. Just as your son works on his future and his new family, you also need to adapt to the changes and readjust your position. You can try by focusing on the positives that occur in his marriage.
Seeing your son found his life partner and being fully independent is a great achievement for a parent. This is one of the signs that you have been doing a great job as his mother.
He has been living on his own and now he gets to share his great life with his spouse. She too will be involved in his decision-making progress.
If so far, you are always his go-to when he needs to decide about a matter or two, he may now get to discuss it with his spouse and your opinion will be the second or even third. But this does not mean that your role as a mother has been replaced.
You are always his mother and that’s a fact. A marriage and a daughter-in-law will not change that.
It’s fine for you to feel downhearted. It’s even understandable.
But, like I always say, everything in the universe is constantly changing. So are you and your son.
Your son will grow apart from you, but you’re still his family. There’s no need to disconnect yourself emotionally while you can still keep in touch with him through phone calls.
Now, let’s see how you can improve your mother-son relationship after his marriage and pave a way to a better connection between you, your son, his spouse, and his in-laws.
Best 5 Ways to Build A Healthy Mother-Son Relationship After A Marriage
A son is a son till he takes a wife.
A daughter is a daughter all her life.
This old proverb expresses the opinion that when a couple marries, they usually maintain a closer relationship with one side of the family. Often, it’s the daughter’s side.
Research indicates a fact that because women are more invested in family ties than men, grandchildren tend to have better relations with maternal grandparents than paternal ones.
This can be traced back to the practice of females serving as “kin keepers”, which is someone in the family who maintains ties with the members of the extended family. In this case, that person is more likely to be the wife than the husband.
In a case with your son, his wife will jointly make the decision in the family event. What this means is, because she is the one in charge of arranging the family’s calendar, it’s easier for her to distant the relationship between you and your son.
Whether purposefully or inadvertently, she may fail to inform the paternal side about family events, or simply by talking to you less often. And remember, this is not entirely her fault.
Some daughters can easily initiate contact with her in-laws, but the challenge lies in staying in touch with them without being intrusive.
Science and research apart, this cannot always be true for every case. Take my family for example.
My mother has been keeping a really good relationship with my brother even after his marriage. She also takes care of his children very well that they are all in love with her.
The kids are excited every time my mother comes to visit and wish to spend more time despite the fact that she is a paternal grandmother.
And this happens not only to one or two brothers of mine.
I have three brothers and their children are very much happier when they spend time with their paternal grandparents. This simply due to the fact that my mom levels herself with her grandchildren.
She has always been the one to approach them first. She simply give presents to the kids. Every time she goes shopping and sees one or two items that she thinks the kids would like, she gets them.
And I am not talking about expensive gifts that will cost you above $10. I am talking about stickers that are on discount, cute little magnets, and hairpins. Just little things that remind her about the kids.
And most importantly, she offers and shows sincere love.
“You know, Elise. Children can always feel when they are loved.”
Yes, I do agree.
Children do not come running for a hug to a stranger. They come running and shouting your name because you’re their grandmother and you are willing to sit and look them in the eye when you’re talking.
This shows that the study does not always reflect each one of us because every person is unique.
Now, let’s dig deeper into 5 best practices to improve the mother-son relationship in a marriage that as soon as you put them on to practice, you can see how you’ve improved the connection.
#1 Play a Kite
This advice came from my mother. She is such a great mother that I look into and I’ve gained many benefits from her insights. That’s why I thought about sharing it with you.
The relationship between a mother and her grown son should be like a kite. You let him go as far as he can wherever he wishes, but you hold a string to prevent him from losing himself when the strong wind comes.
With the mother-son relationship, you should be the one who takes action to get him closer anytime you feel he is going too far.
Pick up a phone and call. Ask specific questions. For example, you can ask “Does Lena get new flowers this week?”. It is much better than asking “What’s new with your wife?”
This shows that you care about his new family and pay attention to the details.
#2 Announce Your Visit
Mothers who have a tight relationship with their sons will share everything they have with their children. Even the tiniest matter seems important enough for mothers to tell their sons. Do not fall into this trap.
Your married son has his own schedule and activities. He does not have the same routine as when he was single or dating. If you’re used to coming unannounced to his place and he’s happy with that, you need to stop. Starting from now.
Even if your son is okay with that, his wife may be against it.
Yes, you also have to consider his wife’s feelings before you do anything that involves your married son. It seems complicated that you have to put a daughter-in-law into consideration, but it is just a matter of time until you get used to this new relationship.
If you live relatively close to your son’s house, resist the urge to visit too often. Never ever come unannounced. Try to phone him before you come. Even if you’re already outside and want to drop by.
For example, “I am currently at Target and I bought you some canned beans. I wonder if it’s a good time to drop by?”
Now, when you mean to drop by, you have to only drop by. Do not extend the courtesy and stay too long than it’s needed. I know you want to hangout with him in his place, and your son or his wife may be too nice to say no.
Knowing the right time for a family visit and for a drop by is an important rule to have a good mother-son relationship within the marriage.
#3 Maintain Boundaries
Some mothers tend to rely on their son regarding several things. You may need to change the battery on the smoke detector and you call your son to see if he can come by and do it.
However, this is not a wise decision when your son’s already married. Don’t ask your son to do things for you if you can obtain other resources to get them done.
The boundaries between you and your grown son may not always be spoken to. When you are unsure, it’s always best to ask for confirmation to make sure no line has been crossed.
For example, do not offer solutions to their marriage problem when they don’t ask you personally. If your son comes to you and starts complaining about one or two things that’s going wrong in his marriage, be a listening ear.
You can also ask questions such as, “Do you need suggestions, or a listening ear?”
#4 Treat Your Son and His Wife Equally
One key thing to have a harmonious relationship between a mother and a married son is to treat both of them equally.
Your son is now connected to his spouse and you cannot separate one from the other. They are now one package and you have to treat them as one family. Think about how you would treat a family who lives next to you.
Often, it takes more effort for you to treat your daughter-in-law because you just became a part of her family.
The suggestion is that you treat your daughter-in-law 10 times better than you treat your son. This will smoothen your relationship with her which eventually keeps the connection you have with your son.
#5 Show That You Appreciate Them
It’s important to show people that we appreciate what they’ve done and given to us. If your son gives you something, thank both him and his wife.
As a mother of a married man, it is important to think that a gift is a gift from your son and his spouse. Remember not to exclude one from another.
Many mothers fail to realize this and tend to undermine their daughter-in-law. First, mothers think that their son has been taken from them. Second, they tend to treat the new family member harshly because they never receive anything from the daughter-in-law..
Just because she never gives you something directly, doesn’t mean that she never gives you anything. Remember to always thank both of them when you receive a gift from either of them.
A healthy relationship is an honest one. If your son has to hide the fact that he gives you something, it means their relationship is not healthy and you should not be a part of that.
Then, after you receive the gift, you are recommended to wear or display them.
When You’re an Alone Mother
Relationship between an alone mother and a son after a marriage may be more difficult. Conflicts may arise when the mother is divorced, widowed, or single.
This may be due to a reason that the mother has presumed the son as the man of the house and has relied too much on him to compensate for the absent male figure in the family.
When He’s the Only Child
As a mother, you may have dedicated your life to raising your only son and when he’s away with another family, you may feel left alone. When this is the case, it’s recommended for you to improve your social life and focus on what you really like doing.
Some newlyweds take their single mother into their family and live together. This can be an option if your son and your daughter-in-law are both okay with it. This issue may also be brought up earlier if it has been your concern.
There are many married couples who invite their parents to live with them together because both are working individuals and well invested in their career. A help from parents can be a lifesaver and make their daily routines much easier.
When this kind of relationship is your choice, boundaries are more essential than ever. When two families live under one roof, you have to have open discussion about rules and set of ethics. Make decisions on what’s okay and not.
For mothers, it is important to remember that their sons will build the family with their spouses. They’ve got to decide about their lifestyle, children, religion, and other individual values that you may not always agree with.
It’s not always easy knowing that they have the right to live on their terms independently from you. But, there’s a crucial stage in a marriage to create boundaries from the parent so they can move forward as a single-family. This is important to prevent conflicts within the core family.
The transition can be quite simpler if you openly accept your son independently having his own family, his choice and decision to live and build a family on his terms. You can show your love by accepting and supporting them when they need your help as well.
Getting to know in-laws is also important. Whenever the big two families meet, there’s a chance to connect and get to know them.
Finding the common ground between two new families will eventually make your son and his spouse less stressed.
Finally, giving them space allows them to focus on building a family and planning for their future.
While this is difficult at first, it’s worth the patience to hold your temptation to drop by almost every day. Give more time for them to establish a long-lasting relationship in a wedlock.
Having a healthy mother-son relationship after marriage is neither easy nor simple. Some mothers struggle every day to establish a relationship with their in-laws.
That being said, it’s not impossible to reconnect with grown sons who already have family of their own.
Follow these simplified steps to help you have a healthy mother-son relationship after his marriage.
- Think about your relationship with your married son as if you’re playing a kite. Let him have his own life with his spouse and do whatever they wish. But, you hold a string that makes both of you stay connected and for them not to lose themselves.
- Never visit your son unannounced. Even if you’re already driving on the highway with packs of gifts, it’s impolite to just drop by. Call first and confirm if your visit is acceptable.
- Maintain boundaries between you and your adult son. Do not give relationship advice unless you’re asked for it and get someone else to get things done instead of your son.
- You cannot separate your son from his wife. You have to think of them as a one package. Treat them equally or even better, treat your in-laws better than you will treat your own son.
- Display and wear the gifts that have been given to you. Tell them your experience using or wearing their gifts.
It’s not easy to change the well-established relationship between a son and a mother. If you live alone and he is a single child, talk about arrangements on how you would like to be treated.
Is it necessary that he or his spouse comes often? Do you want to live with them? Are you okay with the new arrangement?
After all, open communication is a key to a healthy relationship.