Top TV psychologist Donna Dawson has created a guide for surviving the mother-in-law this Christmas.

Christmas on Female First

Christmas on Female First

Donna says, “The fact is that meddling mother in laws can be a problem, especially at Christmas when there is so much pressure to have fun and keep the peace.

“If you are a daughter-in-law, you must realise that your partner's mother will never think that any girl is really worthy of her 'blue-eyed-boy’.

“Remember that a mother is used to being the ‘number one’ woman in her son's eyes while he was growing up, and it is very hard for her to relinquish that spot to another woman.”

Mother-In-Law 101:

Never criticise her son to her face or in her presence – most mums are fiercely defensive of their men, even if they are in the wrong

Never confide in her any of your marital problems/relationship issues (unless it's very serious, such as drink, drugs, depression, etc., which would benefit from a united family effort), as this information could be used against you at a later date.

Always say complimentary things about him to her (this reflects on how well she brought him up!)

When in her home, compliment her on something, such as her taste, possessions, cooking, etc., as this will put her more at ease and take the edge off her natural desire to compete with you.

When in her home, offer to help out with meals or to wash up (never sit around and expect to be waited on, even though her son will!)

If she makes a barbed comment about you, either ignore it or laugh it off (reacting badly shows that she has power over you, which will increase her desire for power over you even more)

Unless it's very serious character assassination, do not ask your partner to fall out with his mother on your behalf - try to resolve things yourself

If things are seriously frosty between you and the mother-in-law, court her; buy her flowers and take her out to lunch for a chat. Take her out for a drink. Ask her about her (she may well be feeling ignored or sidelined), and sing her son's praises. If she is still trying to meddle or walk all over you, firmly but politely say that you and her son will work out your issues between the two of you, thank you very much, but that you hope that you and she can still remain friends

Donna says, “Remember, flattery and diplomacy are your strongest weapons.”

Do you get on with your mother-in-law? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @FemaleFirst_UK