Do I Send Christmas Gifts to Adult Daughter Bashing Christians on Social Media?

Updated on December 06, 2018
T.M. asks from Papillion, NE
18 answers

Adult daughter chooses to be an atheist. I accept and respect her choice although I don’t agree with it. My problem is that she is constantly bashing and denigrating all things and everyone Christian in long diatribes on social media. She is the first to speak out very loudly if anyone belittles others for bullying based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., etc., but continues her cyber attack on Christianity. When I pointed out the hypocrisy, I received a long public tongue-lashing on social media.
I am hurt and embarrassed.
Is it time to guit sending Christmas gifts and providing financial help when asked?

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answers from Springfield on

Your daughter is an adult and needs to make her own decisions regarding her faith life (or decision not to have a faith life) and regarding her use of social media. It sounds like she's making some unwise choices, but sometimes people need to learn things the hard way.

I think some people view that as a sign of strength and maturity ... that they are courageous enough to state their beliefs. That's unfortunate because people are usually more impressed by others who are able to balance being confident in their beliefs while also respecting those who disagree.

I have to say, I don't think this has anything to do with Christmas. I am a practicing Catholic. I do understand the meaning of Christmas on multiple levels, and it is an important part of my faith life. But I also have friends who celebrate Christmas as more of a fun time of year to give presents to family and friends. I would never not wish them a Merry Christmas or not send them a card or gift just because they may not share my religious views on the holiday.

It sounds like this is so much more about your relationship with your daughter. I don't have adult children, but my thought is, give her a present because you are her mother, you love her and you genuinely are wishing her a happy and peaceful holiday and a fabulous new year.

If you want to help her out financially, that's fine. If you feel she doens't appreciate it or isn't being responsible, that's ok, too. She's an adult, and it's probably time for her to stand on her own two feet. Then again, many of us need a little help from time to time, and it's not always cut and dry whether you'd be helping her or encouraging irresponsible behavior.

But don't not give her a present just because you don't see eye to eye on religion. This is a Christian holiday, but Christianity is all about loving and accepting each other, even when we disagree. Don't point out her hypocrisy. Model a life of non-judgement.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If she celebrates a secular version of Christmas, which many folks do, and will be joining your family for a holiday celebration then no, I would not deny her a gift. There are a lot of valid problems with how Christianity is being practiced/preached and I find a lot of the anger justified. What you're proposing sounds petty...and not very Christian.

I wouldn't be providing financial support to an adult child anyway unless there was a good reason for it.

It sounds like this is straining your relationship. As the more mature adult with a longer view than your child, I think the right thing to do is a) disengage from her on social media b) try to understand her concerns with some aspects of how Christianity has been hijacked by people who use it as a tool to advance their own narrow worldview (racism, sexism, intolerance of LGBTQ folks, etc.) and perhaps try to find middle ground where you agree c) have patience.

My siblings and I were all raised Catholic. One of my sisters and I have a lot of issues with the Church and are pretty vocal about it. She hasn't considered herself Catholic for years. I still identify as Catholic and raise my kids that way but am pretty vocal about not agreeing with a lot of Church teachings. One of my parents finds this irritating, the other one is a die-hard Catholic and will defend any and everything the church does. We're at a point where we agree to disagree and, like politics, we really don't discuss it. It's taken a long time to get there. My parents and older sister had many fights about this over the years. No one's mind changed, but they've learned to just let it go. Hopefully you and your daughter can get there in time.

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answers from Boston on

Nobody should be belittled on social media. When you "pointed out the hypocrisy," did you do it privately, or on her public page?

I don't think her choice of atheism is something you should agree with or not agree with. It's not your choice, your decision, your belief. So maybe if she felt more truly accepted by you (as opposed to "I accept her choice although I don't agree with it"), she'd be less angry. But maybe she's just a very unhappy person in other ways. It's unclear why she chooses to bash Christian beliefs/practices only, but maybe there's more to the story - maybe she feels pressured by her place of employment (do they not cover birth control, for example?) or some in the political realm (imposing beliefs on some of our laws, for example?).

If she's an adult and responsible for her own life/decisions, then I think she can be responsible for her financial well-being. Hopefully you have raised her this way and your refusal to help won't be perceived as retribution for her beliefs, though.

If she doesn't celebrate Christmas, I see no reason to send her a gift, especially if she'll be elsewhere for the holiday. If your family observes it more as a religious holiday (church, carols, Nativity scenes) and not as a historic or secular event (Santa, yule logs, trees), that's fine. If you're pretty secular about Christmas, then I'm not sure, since I haven't heard your daughter's speeches and I don't know what she's upset about - if she's upset about holier-than-thou attitudes, then excluding her because she's a non-believer will probably give her more ammunition.

I am Jewish so I don't send Hanukkah gifts to my Christian family. I do send them Christmas gifts because that's what they celebrate. I send birthday gifts even if it's not my birthday, you know? If you feel you need or want to send her a little something, I'd send something with a "Happy New Year" card with absolutely no evergreen trees or poinsettias on it, and wrapping paper that's purely secular (maybe something glittery with confetti since it's hard to find something that says H.N.Y.). Otherwise, I'd send her just a birthday gift every year unless you know for sure that she celebrates a particular holiday.

Bottom line, I'd keep things distant and off social media, let things cool down, and calmly (very calmly) respond if she complains by saying, "I didn't want to upset you by forcing Christmas on you, dear." And I'd invite her to visit when there is absolutely no holiday of any sort going on, including Valentine's Day and Halloween and everything else.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Good Lord if you don't like your daughter's opinions on social media then stop following her. As far as presents and money go that should be about what you WANT to give, not how much she deserves, or not.

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answers from New York on

First, why in the world would you point out her hypocrisy on social media? Why didn't you pick up the phone and just call her? In any event, if she is posting stuff you don't like on Facebook (or wherever), you know you don't NEED to be friends with on those sites.

Second, so your plan is to "punish" your child for being outspoken in her beliefs. I'm not standing up for her at all - her behaviors seem very oppositional and over the top, but what does have have to do with gift giving? I'm guessing that when you gifted in the past, it wasn't Christian only related gifts, or given the in spirit of Christianity only, but rather in the matter of tradition of your family. Why are you equating the two now? Just because it suits your needs?

Finally, certainly it may be time for your daughter to not need financial support any longer, and I personally am a firm believer of financial responsibility, but if you are only withholding support because of her outspoken beliefs, then you are only stooping to the same level in an extremely passive aggressive way. Either stop helping her because she is an adult, or because you can no longer afford it, but basing your help on you not liking her behaviors? Seems a little, well like a Dictatorship . . .

Perhaps family counseling should be sought to discuss your daughter's irresponsible behavior on social media and your need to control her?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I am Wiccan, I practice witchcraft and celebrate Yule, December 21. Yule practices are very much the same as Christmas: a tree - gifts - celebration of lights etc.
I was raised Catholic and my kids still are practicing Christians and celebrate Christmas. I respect their views and they respect mine, we exchange gifts.
There are something like 29 separate holidays celebrated around December 25th, Yule and Christmas only two, you also have Hanukah, Kwanza and others I don't know. The funny thing is they all celebrate the same thing. Peace on Earth - the return of the light - gift giving etc.. Do a little research and find a holiday that comes closest to your daughter's beliefs and celebrate that one with her.
My best advice is don't bash her or disrespect her beliefs, she is free to believe what she wants. Accept her for who she is, a gift is an exchange of love and we can never get enough love.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Hm. I'm an athiest and I think having faith in a religion is nice and so is Christmas...yes there is bad in everything, but it is too bad your daughter cannot see the good in things and focus on that. Plus I'm bummed...she is giving athiests a bad name. Your daughter has one of those personalities where she is overly opinionated and too outspoken and rude to other people. Personally, I think you should hide her on FB so you don't see her posts. That is what I do with the really opinionated people. Actually, I don't hardly use FB anymore. I recommend going off of it! As for gifts - give her a gift if you want to. Tell her "Happy Festivus". Or say since you are anti Christmas I am guessing you do not want Christmas gifts? Does she give you a gift? As for financial old is she? Most adults stop getting financial assistance from their parents at about age 18-24.

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answers from Los Angeles on

How old is your daughter? Sounds like she has a lot of anger and hatred. Also, she needs to learn to use social media responsibly. It can be seen by anyone, including her employers and future employers -- people are getting fired over stuff posted on social media.

If you love your daughter and want to send her a gift, do so. If you're too hurt by her tongue-lashing to want to send her a gift, then don't. Do what your heart tells you.

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answers from Washington DC on

i am utterly bored by anyone who feels the need to denigrate others' beliefs loudly and aggressively. i don't care if it's atheists bashing christians or christians bashing pagans or klingons bashing jainists.


so i unfollow or unfriend anyone on social media who does a bunch of this.

and while i'm very devout, i'm grateful that my kids (one unaffiliated, one agnostic) don't feel the need to stomp and flail about religion on their social media.

but if they did, i wouldn't read it. i'd continue to have a great relationship with them.

and while i'm not a christian, i do celebrate christmas as a purely social holiday. the winter solstice (and rural dionysia) is for me and my spiritual path, christmas is for food and lights and stockings and prezzies and music and family. although my husband is the only nominal christian here, we all enjoy it thoroughly.

the tongue-lashing you received sounds hurtful and nasty. but i suppose you did ask for it by calling her a hypocrite publicly, didn't you?

so, now you get to pick.

do you want to punish your daughter, or have a relationship with her?


there's your answer.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm not sure long diatribes on social media are bullying - do you mean on her Facebook?

I have 'friends' on Facebook who post things I don't agree with. I just unfollow them or skip over those posts.

I don't consider it bullying.

I wouldn't (personally) have engaged on social media. People who feel strongly about these matters (enough to get into it on social media) kind of like discussions and feel passionately. Heated debates are their things.

If you're sensitive - at all - then don't get involved. Just respect she feels differently, and don't comment. You engaged in it.

I find that is a whole lot of drama personally - why I don't engage it in on social media.

Is it time to quit sending gifts? I'm not sure what that has to do with anything? You send gifts to show people you're thinking of them, don't you? You could instead spend time together and do an experience 'gift'. I don't know about the financial aid part. I would only do that if I felt comfortable and not taken advantage of. Every situation is different.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Marda has so many good points. I will just say that the idea that you stop giving her Christmas presents or money because she has an opinion she voices that is different from yours tells me loads about you and the control you want to have over her.

Don’t argue with her over social media. She makes her own bed in front of others - let her lie in it. Unfollow her so that you don’t see what she writes. Then it’s not in front of your face. Unfollowing is not the same as unfriending. She will not know that you unfollowed her. Don’t bring up religion to her. All you’re doing is making her dig her heels in more.

As she gets older, maybe she’ll get wiser about limiting her public diatribes. But as long as you are lecturing her, she won’t. My mom has differing views from me and continued badgering me about going to an evangelical church over a Presbyterian church, SO much to the point that I told her I wouldn’t put a foot in one unless it’s for a funeral, because she wouldn’t leave me alone about my choice of church. That finally shut her up, sheesh!

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answers from Seattle on

What does being an atheist have to do with getting / giving Christmas presents?
Do you love your daughter? Do you want to send her gifts? Then do it.
Are you upset by the tongue lashing on Facebook? Then have a conversation about it with her.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She is an adult and entitled to her opinions. I think it was wrong of her to bash you on social media.. uncalled for.

You should not feel obligated to send gifts... you "owe" her nothing.

As for financial help... HE$$ no. Remind her that she is an adult and should be financially responsible without your help.

I am MORE than willing to help my daughter if she ever needs my help but the day she acts like she is entitled to my help or that I owe her will be the day it all stops.

Fortunately she has her dream job and there is no need for financial because she was raised learning how to be financially responsible.

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answers from Louisville on

Well seeing as how Christmas is not a Christian holiday I don’t see why it matters. Also bc she doesn’t believe what you do that means you don’t share Christmas with her? I’m atheist as well and often comment on the ridiculous things I see


Well seeing as how Christmas is not a Christian holiday I don’t see why it matters. Also bc she doesn’t believe what you do that means you don’t share Christmas with her? I’m atheist as well and often comment on the ridiculous things I see

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answers from Philadelphia on

Setting the atheism and social media (and your reactions to it) aside, giving Christmas gifts and offering financial assistance when asked are two different things. One is a seasonal expression of love and affection, and the other is related to whether or not you expect an adult to be able to support herself financially. You can do one and not the other, but, as others have said, your relationship will be damaged if you tie either one to her beliefs and behavior.

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answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia and social media - where people can be "keyboard warriors" and not say the same thing to your face.

I would stop helping. She's an adult. She can fend for herself. If she asks why you aren't funding her anymore. You can tell her that you are not her personal ATM nor her door mat for rude behavior on social media.

I wouldn't send her a gift for Christmas or her birthday. I would call her on her birthday to acknowledge her but otherwise? I'd be done.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I wouldn't give her a Christmas gift to her because, at it's very core, Christmas is a Christian holiday. I don't give Christmas gifts to my Jewish and Muslim friends either.

And if my adult child publicly bashed me, I would have a hard time supporting her financially. If she wants the benefits of being in a family, she needs to accept the responsibility of treating her family with respect.

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answers from Miami on

I agree with J B. You can still give her a gift for the holidays without having to support her financially every month. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Of course, it now looks bad and she will assume you're getting back at her for calling you out publicly, and that is why you're shutting down the gravy train, so there is that. Maybe you should just gradually stop supporting her, little by little, so it doesn't look like you're doing out of vengeance, due to the timing. Eventually, you can tell her that she's old enough to start supporting herself, or perhaps she needs to downsize or find a better job. I am an atheist. I still will accompany a good friend to Mass if they want me there, or a Shabbat dinner. I am open-minded and feel there may be something worthwhile for me to learn about, a lesson, or just a tradition, or more knowledge about a certain faith. People will wish me a Merry Christmas, I say it back. They say Happy Hannukah, and I say it back too. Do I believe in any of it? No, but to me, it's no different than someone saying "good morning" and you responding "good morning to you, too?"

I have friends who have bashed others publicly due to politics, heck, even my boss does that here at work and he is quite vocal, I have found some of his comments somewhat offensive and just ignore them, I don't get into arguments with him or others who are on his side, but you know what? Their beliefs, and their militant attitude has no bearing on me doing the right thing or being polite and giving them a gift for the holidays. Besides, it's called freedom of speech. I may not be on the same side of the aisle when it comes to things like abortion, birth control, or gun control, and I won't join in on their bashing or join some hateful group, march in support of their candidates, etc., but they have a right to express themselves. Also, I can still be a decent human being and wish someone a happy holiday and give them a small gift. I think you can do that too. Besides, isn't Christianity about forgiveness and turning the other cheek?

2 moms found this helpful
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