By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
9 things you should never say to your son-in-law
If you're interested in having a good relationship with your daughter's family, take our advice, and lose these 9 comments pronto. - photo by Gary and Joy Lundberg
In-law relationships can be some of the most treasured in your life and they can also be the trickiest. Like all relationships, they require work, and there are some definite dos and donts.

Here are 9 things you should never say to your son-in-law.

1. You need a better job

You think he doesnt know that? Most likely, hes working hard and doing the best he can. If he needs help in this area, be aware of what his talents are. When you know of a job opening thats up his alley, let him know by saying something like, I heard about this job that youd be good at. Heres the information in case youre interested."

2. When was the last time you had a haircut?

Being critical of your son-in-laws appearance will not bode well. For all you know, he may be trying to save money by not getting his hair cut very often. Maybe he just likes having longer hair. Thats up to him, not you. The more you harp on his appearance, the less likely he is to change it. Back off. Your relationship with him is much more important than the length of his hair.

3. Why dont you help out more with the kids?

Instead of criticizing your son-in-law about what he isnt doing with his kids, start noticing the little things he does with the children and praise him. For example, I saw you playing catch with Jimmy. It looked like he was really having fun with you. Praise creates a desire to do more and do better.

4. When are you going back to school?

Dont push this. Hell do it if hes ready. It may be that he and his wife have other plans. Maybe they dont have the money and they dont want to put themselves in debt with student loans. Maybe hes not the student type and doesnt want to go back to school. Your nagging wont change that. It will only drive a wedge between you and him. Trust him to do whats best for him and his family. Be patient. Hes in the process of becoming who hes going to be.

5. You havent amounted to much

You may think no one would ever say this, but sadly, some do. Sometimes, this is said in a fit of exasperation when youre sure your son-in-law is not working as hard as he should. Other times, it may be said in an effort to motivate him to do better, but heres a promise: this will never motivate your son-in-law to do better. It will only cement in his mind that you have no confidence in him, thus diminishing his own self-confidence. Comments like this will make him more determined than ever to stay away from you.

6. You sure spend a lot of time with your buddies

Some association with old friends is healthy. If hes overdoing it, thats an issue he and his wife can talk about. If your daughter is complaining to you about this, tell her to take the conversation to her husband, and you stay out of it. She can approach him by saying something like, Honey, I dont mind you going out with your friends some, but I miss you and would like to spend more time with you. What do you think would work?

7. You forgot her birthday?!

Its sad when a husband forgets his wifes birthday, but its not the end of the world. You might make more of this issue than it deserves by confronting him. Comfort your daughter, validating that this would hurt. Thats all you need to do. Then, at another time, point out some of your son-in-law's good qualities to her. He may be one of those guys (and he has a lot of company) who simply dont think about birthdays. Before your daughters next birthday, jar his memory by asking him for a little help in knowing what present you could get for your daughter. This will work as long as you are sincere in your request.

8. You're not cheating, are you?

Never accuse your son-in-law of cheating on your daughter. When anyone is accused of something as horrible as infidelity, its a devastating show of mistrust. If your daughter is worried about this, she is the one who needs to discuss it with your son-in-law. If there is legitimate concern that there are marital problems, you can suggest marriage counseling.

9. What were you thinking?

When this is said in disgust, it hurts. It's like saying, "You're stupid." If your son-in-law did something that you think showed a lack of good sense, instead say something like, Help me understand what was happening. Give him a chance to clear things up. We all say and do some stupid things. We all need to be given a little slack, a little understanding. Usually, there is a logical explanation for unexpected behavior.

These are just a few of the faux pas in-laws sometimes make. Watch what you say, and say only that which will build your relationship, not tear it down.