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The Mother in law rule / The ban on speaking to one's mother in law

This image is for representation only. Source: Flickr

The Mother in law rule / The ban on speaking to one's mother in law. Aboriginal custom all over Australia bans a person from talking directly to their mother in law. This rule applies to both men and women talking to their mother in law. Perhaps this rule was developed to overcome such a common cause of friction in families, when a husband or wife has to endure many years of disagreement or argument from their mother in law! To allow this rule to work, communication took place via a third person. So, if you wanted your mother in law to do something for you, you might ask your spouse or another person: "Please ask your mother (so and so) to do (so and so) for me". When food was divided and shared around campfires, a mother in law had a small fire of her own separate to her son in law or daughter in law and their spouse. Her own daughter or son would chat and bring over some of the meat, or perhaps a grandchild would sit with her and act as messenger between herself and her daughter or son's partner.