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Balanced Parenting Newsletter

The Mother-In-Law Challenge                                  March, 2011                                         

In This Issue
Introducing "Ask Bette"
Mother-In-Law or Monster-In-Law
Coffee with Bette
Support for Parents
"Ask Bette"


Just email your parenting questions to me and I will be answering a different question each week on my website through the Balanced Parenting You-Tube Channel


How exciting, huh?


Send your parenting questions to:



Thank you for your help with this new adventure!


"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."

 Richard Bach

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, class ideas, article requests, constructive criticism or otherwise great ideas, feel free to let us know! 

If you enjoy reading this newsletter, please feel free to forward it to your friends.
Hello Friends!
Happy March to you!
This month, I'm asking for your input in two areas.  First, I want you to tell me about your Mother-In-Law. Whether your relationship is a dream or a nightmare, I want to hear about it.  Second, I'm starting a new feature on my website wherein I will be ANSWERING YOUR PARENTING QUESTIONS!  I'd love for you to send me your questions and I'll be answering them on video. Check out the details in this newsletter.
Also, I'll be at KidFest 2011 in Thousand Oaks on Saturday, March 19th from 11 to 4.  Come see me there if you're local!  Lots of fun for the whole family!
Wishing you balance,



Mother-In-Law or


Q:  How many mothers-in-law does it take to

change a lightbulb?


A:  One. She just holds it up there and waits for the world to

revolve around her.


 Mothers-in-law have historically gotten a bad rap.  Why? For some the jokes are likely true, but that's not true of all mothers-in-law. Whenever I do speaking engagements and the subject of mothers-in-law comes up, the room explodes into fireworks.  I've asked myself, "why is this such a hot topic?"  So, I've decided to write an article and do some research on this subject.   


I have been married to Jeff for almost 26 years.  I'm incredibly lucky to have Terry as my mother-in-law.  She's loving, supportive, non-intrusive, non-demanding and has made me feel loved like a daughter, not just a daughter-in-law.  I truly admire her for how hard she works to ensure that her relationships with her kids and grandkids are filled with love and quality time together.  She's also very smart and incredibly funny.  She should absolutely give mother-in-law lessons!  Even so, things haven't always been perfect. Inherent in the "in-law" relationship are complexities, to say the least.


I know that I'm very lucky and not everyone is.  I hear stories from my clients and my students all the time about the difficulties they have with their mothers-in-law. Lack of respect, lack of understanding, lack of kindness, selfishness, demands...I'm sometimes astounded by the stories I hear.  I've decided if I can write an article (and maybe a book, later on, with my mother-in-law), perhaps I can help bridge the gaps in these challenging relationships and teach some of the do's and don'ts for mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law and sons-in-law how their behaviors might be creating the difficulties.

Here are a few items from my research so far:

  • Mothers-in-law (MIL's) have better relationships with their Daughters-in-law (DIL's) when they engage in inclusive behaviors such as sharing family stories, calling her "daughter", etc...
  • MIL's and DIL's better relationships occur when the MIL is seen as warm or sweet in personality.
  • A better relationship is associated with a good relationship with the MIL's son or daughter.
  • A better relationship is associated with the spouse displaying loyalty to the DIL before the MIL. (That one's going to cause some fights tonight!) 

There is so much more information that I will save for my article.  Stay tuned. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you about your relationships. E-mail me at and put "mother-in-law" in the subject line.  Thank you, in advance, for your input and sharing.

Wishing you balance,


This article is also posted to my blog.

coffee cup 

Coffee with Bette 

We will meet this coming Tuesday,  March 1st from 9:30 - 11:00, open house style at Chocolatine, 2955 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., T.O.


Bring your parenting questions and join the fun!


Remember, the parenting advice is free, but the food and beverages are not!

Parents of 0 - 10 Year Olds!

We are back up and running!
Our next meeting will be
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
at my office
268 E. Lombard Street
Thousand Oaks
Please RSVP so I know how many to expect!
Bring a friend!

$35 per person
$50 per couple

This month's topic:
Showing our kids love with healthy boundaries!

RSVP 805-230-2464 or


The Balanced Parenting Learning Library Introduces:

Raising Our Kids to Become Fabulous Adults by Looking Forward and Working Backwards
 by Bette Levy Alkazian
edited by Karyn Blackmore-Hagy
Now available!



POTTY LEARNING: The Do's, Don'ts and the Oops of Poops

 (available in hard copy or electronically)Bette Alkazian, LMFT
Whether you've already accomplished potty training with your kids or not, you know what a frustrating time it can be.   

If you're somewhere in the process, not yet ready to begin or long past it, but know someone else, this book is a great resource!

How to order these books:
Go to my website and click on the Learning Library.