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Disrespectful atheist daughter, how to deal?

I am atheist, as is my teenage daughter. I come from a strongly Christian family, who my daughter frequently argues with about her beliefs. It gets to the point that I feel it's disrespectful (especially to elders). It's one thing to defend your viewpoint but when you get to the point where you're ridiculing someone else's I draw the line. I have told her to simple not discuss religion if she can't be nice. But then I feel like I'm stifling her because my family is open about starting discussions with her. Where's the middle ground?


Asked by benjamink at 4:28 PM on Mar. 1, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 10 (378 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • If she wants to debate, have to debate with you..
    show her the proper way to discuss an issue that isn't being disrespectful.

    Example, start with a debate about the great flood (sorry this question came up not long ago, so it was the freshest debate on my mind). Have her explain to you her beliefs on it. Then have her show documentation for her reasonings. You pull up theories that would go against her arguments. Explain that there aren't just right or wrong issues, that in order to discuss, she has to look at BOTH sides of the argument. This will not only further her education on the debate in question, BUT it will show her WHY they think these things, thus allowing room for more respect. If it continues (her being disrespectful)... teach her why being rude will only allow her to come off as ignorant, rather than knowledgable.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 9:57 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • She needs to learn to be mature enough to argue her viewpoint respectfully, and you may want to talk with your family about ending a "conversation" at a certain point, just by agreeing to disagree.

    Answer by missbreezy214 at 4:30 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • I would simply tell her it's not worth it. They aren't going to change her mind and she won't change theirs... So don't waist her time. If and when the subject comes up, just walk away. Or do what I do, simply say, I'm not discussing this with you, I see no point in fighting.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 4:33 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Just continue to explain to your dd that tho it is good that she stands firm within her own beliefs, others may not and she should not be rude to others about it ex, her elders... that is disrespectful...
    As my dh and I have agreed to do... no religious talk or discussion and if it does come up, make your point and then end it...
    This is family... you should always respect them wither or not you agree with them...

    Good Luck and sounds like you have a well rounded dd...

    Answer by gmasboy at 4:34 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • i am the same way with my fam. My family is always telling me if i don't have jesus in my heart i am going to hell. I don't consider myself athiest...just agnostic i guess cuz i'm just unsure of any beliefs or gods. I don't like hearing their preaching and feeling presure from them. When i question them about jesus or stuff thats happend from the bible all they can say is "you have to let jesus in your heart"...they can't give me answers and i don't like i just let it go and i don't argue with them about anything. I have asked Jesus into my heart and life but it doesnt seem real and it seems so fake because i don't know nothing about him. I have'nt seen him...its just not there. Who knows???

    Answer by shay1130 at 4:42 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Get her an account on CM pronto! LOL jk What is it that really gets her to make personal attacks? You say your family is opening the conversation, right? Talk to her more deeply about wishes.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 4:46 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • Remind her that respect is earned, and that if she wants them to respect her view point, she has to prove herself worthy of that respect. That goes both ways - if they are purposely baiting her, say something to them as well.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:49 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • there is a difference between a healthy debate and an unhealthy argument. She needs to learn to decipher between the two. No matter what religion she also needs to learn to honor her elders and to be respectful to them.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 5:36 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • If your family is instigating it, I'd say you should speak to them as well. It's a two-way street, she can't be expected to sit down and shut up if they're constantly badgering her.

    (I should know, my mom never shuts up about religion, ugh!)

    Answer by caitxrawks at 5:37 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • There is a line. And she should respect her elders. But at the same time, there should be no provoking on their part either. Perhaps this is something that she should just agree to disagree about with them. There is a difference between defending her beliefs and being defensive. Sometimes it helps to learn etiquite and techniques for debate. Perhaps you could do some research with her on those subjects. Coming at it from an educational angle may be a good way to avoid further arguments and upsets since it will give her something positive to focus on.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 6:46 PM on Mar. 1, 2010