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  • Format: ms-word (doc)
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Sources Of Dispute Between Mothers And Daughters In-Law: Implication For Counselling


This study was on Sources of dispute between mothers and daughters in-law: implication for counselling. The total population for the study is 200 selected residents in Uyo. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made civil servants, married men, married women and daughter inlaws was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.

Chapter one


1.1Background of the study

Violence is unfortunately part of human social life (Fein, 1999). The inevitability of violence in whatever form it occurs in the day-to-day activities and interactions of man is well documented in social research. Anthropological evidences since pre-state era till contemporary times have shown that human violence and cruelty either to other humans or/and animals have been on for long and appear to be rule rather than aberration. Apparently to many, violence is an issue that no rational human being should desire; an issue many abhor and try frantically to prevent, yet its rate of occurrence since the pre-historic period till now and how oft it occurs suggest that human beings, by nature, are not totally peaceable and that human’ social relationship cannot be totally rid of violence. Interpersonal Relationships

In literature, several factors ranging from biological, psychological to sociological and many others have been attributed as causes of violence. But of all forms of violence globally, domestic violence occurs the most, in spite of the fact that actors involved are relatives (either by affinity, consanguinity), known to one another and more often than not live together or had lived together one time or another (WHO, 2008). Findings from social research have shown domestic violence to be a global phenomenon which only varies in patterns and trend in different societies of the world (UNFPA, 1999, UNICEF, 2000; 2005). Interpersonal Relationships

Research findings have described domestic violence as a form of violence that transcends colour, race, creed, age, education, social class and family lines. Interpersonal Relationships

It occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other. The problem is exhibited in many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation or threats of violence. Domestic violence is recognized as most prevalent but relatively hidden and ignored form of violence mostly against women and girls. Most incidence of violence in home goes unreported and this makes it difficult to measure the true extent of the problem. Interpersonal Relationships

 When intergenerational conflicts occur, it typically involves the wife and her mother-in-law. In fact, in-law trouble has been characterized as a “female problem”, perhaps because women have traditionally shouldered the responsibility for maintaining kinship ties (Marotz-Baden & Cowan, 2007). Fischer (2008) found that wives tend to turn to their own mothers for help after giving birth. Yet they may regard their mother-in-law’s concern over her new grandchild as “interference”.

The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law impasse has never given birth to any good, dividing women who have much in common and who could benefit from one another’s friendship. It causes great unhappiness to mother-in-law, who feels her overtures of friendship are rebuffed, and who fear their connection with their son and grandchildren may be threatened by the daughter’s-in-law hostility. It causes distress to the daughter-in-law, who feels judged and pressured, particularly on matters involving her role as a woman in the family (Apter, 2011).

Interpersonal communication is an integral part of human experience. Moreover, interpersonal skills are highly relevant to adjustment, because they can be critical to ones happiness and success in life. There is a need to be aware that communication is very important between mother and daughter in law and it can be effective or ineffective depending on what transpires between the speaker and the hearer and care should be taken not be an ineffective communication (Byng-Hall, 2008).

Simmel (1955) made another important point by stressing that both conflict and cooperation are ways human beings relate to each other. When there is conflict between the wife and the mother-in-law, this should not create a rift if there is effective communication between the two. If information is shared between the two women at all times as necessary, there will be an understanding of self which will create a positive attitude by the wife towards the mother-in-law.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Strained relationship is often noticed in many extended families, to the extent that daughter –in-laws often pray that they do not have mothers-in-law, or they don’t want those ones that will live with them. This is often as a result of the treat that mothers-in-law pose to regular running of the family. According to Ilumoye (2011), a lot of homes have been broken as a result of family (mother in law) interference into marriage.

A question to be raised is why daughters-in-law are so sensitive to what they perceive as lapses in a mother’s-in-law recognition of them. The answer may lie in the high demands they put on the response of a mother figure. Indeed, the touchiness or sensitivity often displayed by daughters-in-law to a mother’s-in-law behaviour is close to that of an adolescent’s to her mother (Apter, 2010). Many tensions, too, take place in the broader context of the work/family dilemma that is etched into so many of these women’s lives.

The modern couple sees marriage solely as an integration of two individuals-just the husband and the wife. That seems to be the modern perception of a marriage. When the modern couple gets married, they often forget that it is not just a relationship between the two of them that has begun, but the relationship between the husband’s family, no matter how large, and the wife’s family, no matter how large. Problems somehow arise from this modern but much distorted perception of a marriage, because based on it; in-laws do not play important roles. Thus, brothers-in-law are not treated as brothers, sisters-in-law are not treated as sisters and mother-in-law is not treated as mother. When this happens, the relationship has begun on a wrong footing (Duval, 2004).

1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are:

  1. to determine the role of effective communication on the attitude of mothers-in-law towards their daughters-in-law
  2. to discuss the consequences of ineffective communication between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws in marital stability,

iii.   To examine the relation of mother daughter relationship and well- being of the daughters with respect to self-esteem and life satisfaction.

Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there is no role of effective communication on the attitude of mothers-in-law towards their daughters-in-law.

H1: there is role of effective communication on the attitude of mothers-in-law towards their daughters-in-law.

H02: there is no relation of mother daughter relationship and well- being of the daughters with respect to self-esteem and life satisfaction

H2: there is relation of mother daughter relationship and well- being of the daughters with respect to self-esteem and life satisfaction

Significance of the study

This study is significant because many people will find it useful. Such as:

Married women who are having problems with their mother-in-laws will benefit from this study as it will expose them to other peoples experiences and give them insight into solving their own problems.

Married men who have to continually mediate between their mother and wife will benefit from this study as it will help to find a way round the problems.

Mother-in-laws who have been having a continual conflict with their daughter-in-laws will be able to use this study to resolve their differences.

Marriage counsellors, psychologists and clergymen will also find this work beneficial in their respective fields since they provide both pre-marital and post-marital counselling to couples to be and couples.

The society at large will also benefit from this study in the sense that their level of understanding of the conflict that could arise between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is raised and the resolution is provided.

It will further be useful for future researchers in related discipline.


Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers Sources of dispute between mothers and daughters in-law: implication for counselling. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).



Attitude: it is an opinion or general feeling about something. It is a physical posture, either conscious or unconscious especially when interacting with others. It could also be referred to as an arrogant or assertive manner assumed as a challenge or for effect.

Mother-in-law: she is the mother of one’s spouse.


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