Marriage is a major step in a relationship, and each member of that newly joined pair brings with them their own existing family and the corresponding complexity and richness of in-law relationships. These are multi-generational, multi-layered, and, like a kaleidoscope, a shifting amalgam of
emotional colors. Exceptionally important, in-law relationships can be joyous and comforting. They can also be complicated, contentious, and disappointing. These ties serve as a model for how to stay connected across generations for the well-being of grandparents, parents, and grandchildren, and as
a bellwether for what to avoid.
Drawing on interviews and survey data with more than 1,500 mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law, the book describes how these complicated and highly significant relationships develop over time. Geoffrey L. Greif and Michael E. Woolley focus on the relationships between
mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law as well as fathers-in-law with sons-in-law. They describe the struggles as well as the triumphs that people encounter with these relationships from the perspectives of both generations and suggest ways to improve the relationships. To improve in-law relationships,
Greif and Woolley present action-oriented family therapy theories based on the insight, communication, boundary building, and narratives that family members wish to create. They also explore how these relationships change with the normal transitions of marrying into the family, having
children/grandchildren, and aging. In-law Relationships
describes highly successful and nurturing connections as well as those that are troubled and distant. The resulting book offers a variety of clinical lenses to help readers of all backgrounds focus on and, if needed, repair in-law relationships.
About the Author
Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, is Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where he has been teaching courses on family, group, and individual therapy for over 35 years. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books, including Buddy System: Understanding MaleFriendships and Adult Sibling Relationships (with Michael Woolley). Michael E. Woolley, PhD, MSW, DCSW, is Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Woolley was a clinical social worker in mental health, health, and school settings for a dozen years before completing his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill andmoving into academia in 2003. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship and has published books, articles, and book chapters on social work practice with children, youth, and families.