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Mom canceled Christmas! Was she wrong?

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by Damon Carr

I recently received this question in my inbox:

“I’ve been repeatedly talking to my 16-year-old child about being disrespectful, poor grades, and just an overall attitude of “whatever.”  On her last report card there were 3 D’s. I stated then, if this wasn’t rectified, among other things Christmas will be canceled. It wasn’t rectified – so I canceled Christmas. Do you think this was extreme or just the right amount of ‘The more you mess around, the more you’re gonna find out?’”

~ Marie

Damon here: I corresponded with Marie to get more detail. Here’s a summary.

Her daughter goes to a private school. She’s been doing well up until now. She’s currently a junior in high school. Lately, she’s been wilding out. She’s been wanting to do things her way. Her focus has been on being cute and popular instead of focusing on school and chores — so mom canceled Christmas.  Didn’t buy her one gift – not-a-one! Her daughter is furious.  Mom stood her ground although she feels guilty for taking such a stance. Was mom wrong here? I put the question before my Facebook group for them to weigh in.



Below are some of their comments:


“I see myself doing the same thing plus more. I can’t stand disrespectful kids.”


“Not extreme at all. ESPECIALLY for a 16-year-old! Yeah, she messed around and found out momma wasn’t playing! Shoot for birthday gifts, young lady!”


“Mom wasn’t wrong. Mom should be more involved with keeping up with her grades. And she should have gotten that attitude in check years ago.”


“Did she make threats or try to find out what the problem is? Kids act out for a reason. The thing I hate more than disrespectful kids is a dismissive parent. Material things aren’t the backbones of life. If the girl didn’t ‘act right’ for Christmas, Mom needs to find out what will help her behavior.”


“It’s said that she’s repeatedly talked to her child. Sometimes there aren’t any underlying issues on why some of these kids act out. They’re growing up in a totally different world than we did at their age. It’s ALLLLLLLLLL about image. The behavior didn’t change and Christmas was canceled. I agree with mom.”

-Lee Lah

“Mom isn’t wrong. Gifts are a privilege, not a right. We don’t reward poor grades and poor behavior.”


“Nah, I don’t think so. It sounds like boundaries were not set in the beginning, however you have to start setting them at some point. The world is not as forgiving as you are and the world is not going to take the time to ask what their issue is.”


“Tough love is completely appropriate when teenagers aren’t acting right.”


“Mom is probably correct.  How involved is mom in her daughter’s studies? I ask because if she’s involved maybe she would have seen this disaster coming and handle it differently.  On the other hand, most kids today have this sense of entitlement. They want the rewards but do not want to do the work to earn them.”


“I have questions: How involved is she with her child’s schoolwork? Why is she just finding out about it on a report card? As far as whatever attitude and disrespectful talk. I would hope I would have a relationship where I could actually sit down and talk to my child. I would ask questions and look for answers.”


“I’m definitely on mom’s side here. I have a 17-year-old daughter. Trust and believe, I would’ve done the same in that situation. As a parent, I’m sitting down to help you with homework from pre-K through middle school. Towards the end of middle school, that’s when I make it known that I’m still here to help but high school is coming up and it’s time to start getting work done independently so you’ll be prepared for college. My daughter is a junior in high school and I don’t need to follow her schoolwork as closely as I did when she was younger because she’s learning to be an adult.”


“I have canceled Christmas for less for one of my daughters so no I don’t think she is wrong. It was a hard thing to do but I did it and it worked out.”


“Mom was right. She shouldn’t feel guilty about setting the standard and adhering to it.”


“It’s the consequences of her actions.  I had to pull out some old school parenting on my grandson. I told him time and time again when you leave, let me know and when you come back, let me know.  He left one day running out to whom was picking him up for youth church. I went behind him and asked, ‘What did I tell you about leaving without saying something?’ He responded with that funky, nasty, dirty, ugly tone ‘Bye’ as if I was bothering him. I should have done  a M-A-D-E-A  and snatched him up. However, since he was going to church I had another trick for him. When he came back, guess who couldn’t get in. It was freezing outside. He was only wearing a hoodie. He called, screamed through the door, and banged on the door. I didn’t bother to answer or open the door for 45 minutes. He was heated emotionally but freezing physically. Guess who lets me know when they leave and return? He learned his lesson as her daughter will learn her lesson.”


“Good for you. I’m glad you stuck to your guns. You can show her better than you can tell. Hopefully, lessons learned.”


“If more parents did this there wouldn’t have so many UNGRATEFUL TEENS/YOUNG ADULTS REFUSING TO WORK but want expensive items.”


“She did the right thing.  These days some kids are just too disrespectful. They have the audacity to be disrespectful than ask and expect you to buy them something or take them somewhere. ‘She gon learn today!’”


“Kids need to understand in life there are consequences for their actions. She learned today.”



Damon here: Unanimously people agreed that mom was right and within reason. I agree with the mother’s decision to demonstrate tough love, too. What children fail to realize is that parents want to reward their children for a job well done. Raising successful, law-abiding children that are positive contributors to society is the biggest accomplishment for all parents. Punishing them when they do wrong hurts the parents just as much as it hurts the child, for we as parents are disappointed to see that you, the child, aren’t living up to your full potential.”

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached @ 412-216-1013 or you can visit his website @


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