Managing conflict with parents-in-law in a secular society steeped in Islamic traditions: Perspectives of married Turkish couples
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In Turkey, conflicts with parents-in-law can be shaped by opposing viewpoints that can emerge from the coexistence of modern secular and Islamic traditions. The integral role of parents-in-law in Turkish families makes it important to understand the nature of conflict between couples and their in-laws, and how these conflicts are managed. Guided by structural family theory, this preliminary study aims to explore the nature and management of conflict between parents-in-law and couples. This interpretive phenomenological study analyzed semi-structured interviews conducted with four Turkish couples. Conflicts with parents-in-law appeared to be gendered in nature and stemmed from unmet expectations and family roles. Gender also influenced how conflict was resolved. Daughters-in-law tended to avoid conflict by remaining silent, and sons-in-law were more forthcoming about their dissatisfactions or took the blame to avoid conflict. In-laws of opposite sex appeared to have more contemptuous relationships compared to in-laws of the same sex. Implications for clinical work and research are discussed.