I find Dr Apter's generalisations about mothers-in-law rather insulting and not accurate either, in particular her advice to daughters-in-law on how to survive Christmas with mother-in-law.
Any person staying over can present problems, and it is useful to allocate tasks to include a guest in the preparations, but there is surely no need to be so blunt as to ask to be left alone in the kitchen. This can be achieved by far more subtle means, for example, "why don't you pour yourself a drink and put your feet up", or "I am so grateful for your help but everything is under control now".
In particular I take exception to her advice to a mother-in-law not to take it personally if she is shouted at. Nobody should shout at any guest in their home, and if I was ever shouted at in somebody else's home I should take it as an immediate cue to go home myself.
Her attitudes to the older generation are patronising and thoughtless, and I would feel rather sorry for her mother-in-law if she had one.
Mrs MARY CHAPPELL
Over Kellet, Lancashire
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