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Mother-in-Law's Manual:Proven Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships with Married Children Hardcover – May 1, 2009

55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"It's not easy being the mother-in-law. But Susan Lieberman discovered it's possible to do it better."  —Southern Living Magazine

About the Author

Susan Abel Lieberman, PhD, is an executive coach and the founder of Super Summers, Inc., an educational organization for teens and their families. She is the author of New Traditions: Redefining Celebrations for Today's Family, The Real High School Handbook, and Venus in Blue Jeans: How Mothers and Daughters Talk About Sex.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bright Sky Press (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193397947X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933979472
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Abel Lieberman has lived in nine cities, written eight books, directed four educational programs, earned three graduate degrees, raised two sons and wonders if, one day, she may acquire a partridge in a pear tree. In the meantime, she is well satisfied with five grandchildren.

The unifying theme in all her work has been a desire to help people find satisfying resolutions to the situations that arise from leading busy, complicated lives and to grow into their best selves. "I feel so lucky to have four decades of work that always felt important to me. I hope it has also felt important to others. There is no doubt I am kinder, wiser and more tolerant as the result of having diverse and often difficult challenges to hit up against."

Susan was a co-founder of The Y Collaborative, ( in Houston, Texas which focuses on encouraging healthy people to put end-of-life preparations in place long before a healthcare crisis She frequently speaks about death and dying as well as aging and retirement. Her newest book on death and dying is meant to help adults think, talk and act to put end-of-life preparations in place long before they walk into a healthcare crisis.

More about Susan Lieberman can be found at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Nana Annie on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm reading Susan Abel Lieberman's "The Mother-in-Law" manual, which I ordered (used because I'm BROKE! LOL) from Amazon with some doubts. How good could this be? When it arrived just a couple of days after I placed my order, I ripped the box open, cracked the book for a sample reading and ended up sleeping with it.

This is a 5 star book - I'm going to give this one to a friend of mine whose son is getting married in October and who is also having some difficulties with her husband's daughters. It's also got stellular sections that are giving me insight to my own difficulties with my aging mother, who I am non-residential caretaker for.

No matter if you're the MIL or the DIL, this is a new place we're going, a new process we are going through, and there isn't enough written about it.. and for the most part, society doesn't seem to recognize mother in laws as anything but a bad joke. If you ask for help, you are likely to get blank looks for those who do just do not know how incredibly important it is to do this as right as you can, attacks from those who have had bad experiences or jokes from those who don't get it.

This was a book I needed because, despite my status as a mother-in-law for the past 7 years, I still don't know what I'm doing, how to do it right and don't fully understand how an intelligent woman like myself who loves her son and tries her best to love her daughter-in-law can end up where I have (don't ask). Until I ran into problems recently, I just thought being a mother-in-law was -- a title.

The problems you can cause, or be part of it you didn't cause them, are heart-breaking and enormous, no joke!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By esme on May 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm generally skeptical of all books with manual in the title. I'm not a reader of how-to books ; I want to learn through discussions or through my own trial-and-error. But Susan Lieberman offers her own experiences and those of others in a way that feels philosophically and experientially valuable. I was particularly struck by her observation (which I realize that I'm guilty of) that "what we expect [in our adult children] is what we believe is correct, right, just, and we judge [them] negatively when they stray from our vision." For example, when we disapprove of the ways our adult children live and the choices they make, Lieberman suggests that we step back and realize that their decisions are not ours to make any more than than we wanted our decisions to be questioned by our parents.
This is a serious book about relationships in general, not merely about parental behavior. With both humor and scholarship, the author helps us to examine what we do and how we can strengthen the rungs on our generational ladders. Not only does she offer techniques about how to deal with younger family members; she also speaks about the difficult relationship with her mother of ninety-plus years.
We don't get simple answers to these complicated relationships. But we do learn from "The Mother-in-Law's Manual" that complexity is worth examining, and that other people's experiences may offer us paths for improving our varied relationships.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Thelma A. Zirkelbach on May 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
This wise and thoughtful book is useful whether you're a new or not-so-new mother-in-law. Be patient, be tactful, and remember that your children and their spouses have a right to lead their lives in their own way, even if they make mistakes. We'd like to feel we know the "right" way for our kids, but Susan Lieberman reminds us the first and most iimportant law of mother-in-lawing is, Keep your mouth shut. The final section of the book contains short essays by sons- and daughters-in-law about what they appreciate in their relationships with their mothers-in-law and what drives them crazy or hurts their feelings. This book belongs on any mother-in-law's bookshelf.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Klein on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ANOTHER self-help book??!! Yes, but this one is amazing! Susan Leiberman's style is relaxed and comfortable, but also insightful and instructive.

Leiberman counsels "Keep your mouth shut," writes it ten times, and labels this advice the "ten most recommended rules." But she also moves on to "Seven Helpful Maxims." I particularly liked, "Don't get attached to outcomes." Simply put, Leiberman suggests, "Getting fixated on just how things should be is a set-up for disappointment." Have general goals. Think about making an adult child happy rather than exactly what you will do to make them happy.

Among the many astute metaphors that remained with me long after I read the book was this: You raised your children in your "country." Your sons and daughters- in law came of age in another "country." And now, the young couple is creating a third "country." Each has its own culture, atmosphere and values. We look aghast at Americans who go to Europe and expect everyone to speak English and serve scrambled eggs for breakfast. Why would we expect a replication of exactly the way we think things should be done in the homes of our children? It's natural to consider changes that we observe a loss, but important to and step back to get some perspective.

This is a book I am very glad to have found relatively soon after becoming a Mother-in-Law. It would be most interesting and useful to anyone who is even occasionally challenged by relationships with adult children.
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