For perspective, I'm a young man and I don't live with my parents nor am I dependent on them in any way. Recently, I've started to grow an interest in learning to ride a motorcycle. My dad has been riding since he was very young.

Despite my dad's lifelong hobby, my mother has never been approving. From what I can tell, she tolerate's my dad's hobby. Interestingly, she has allowed me to ride with him as a child.

However, she has been strongly against any ideas that I get into such a hobby. This is not new behavior when it comes to my physical risk, however, she understands very much her leverage as a parent and mine as a human, so I was rarely forbidden from having risky hobbies, just heavily discouraged.

The situation I'm in now is that I want my dad to help me learn to ride, and he wants to give me his motorcycle as he is physically unable to ride anymore (due to age). My dad is unwilling to do these things without my mother's approval and insists I be the one to negotiate it (which is fair).

To put it simply, my risk tolerance for myself is much higher than my mother's (probably not an uncommon thing for mothers and sons).

Without arguing or escalating a conflict, how do I convey that it is more beneficial that she help me pursue this hobby even though she is adamant on wanting me not to do so?

Some Details:

  • It's fairly likely I'll pursue this hobby either way, eventually. This will disappoint my dad because he doesn't want me riding without his guidance. And of course my mother will be just as unhappy.
  • It would be much safer, cheaper, and beneficial if I had the support of my parents.
  • I am taking this hobby, as well as safety, very seriously.
  • I don't see my parents in person much due to location. Our time to talk in person would be limited to a day or two.
  • I do not want this to cause conflict between my parents, meaning I want my mother to not fault my dad for teaching me and helping.
  • Really, I'm looking to explore motorcycle riding as a potential hobby.
  • If it were up to my dad, I would have been taught a long time ago.
  • My goal is for my mother to at least end up wanting to work with me, instead of against me, to help keep me safe. After all, it's safest to simply never walk the uncharted path, but the second-best option is to walk it with others.

3 Answers 3


Use the contrast principle of persuasion techniques.

You'll need to create and resolve tension through contrast. You already provided useful tension narrative.

It's fairly likely I'll pursue this hobby either way, eventually. This will disappoint my dad because he doesn't want me riding without his guidance. And of course my mother will be just as unhappy.

While aiming at goal, we'll use another narrative you provided as the way to resolve tension

I do not want this to cause conflict between my parents

And these are the two cornerstones that will support all the rest.

So keep your actions and arguments revolving around that. The first creates the tension and the second offers resolution. From that you can deliver arguments like:

Well, mom, I already have the money to buy a motorcycle of my own, but dad worried about me riding an unknown vehicle and decided to gift his reliable wheels, that bike didn't fail him.

So dad is your savior and by extension you're mother's champion and your best silent lawyer. And by contrast, the alternate option is uncertainty, your mom will intuitively reject the uncertainty option and feel better about your dad helping.

I've never kept things from you and I don't want to start now, that's why I told you, I still don't regret it because I don't like lying either, I'm sure you wouldn't like that either

Again, by contrast the option of keeping her on the blind offers more uncertainty and she'll be reminded it was good that you told her. The way it is phrased is not menacing but still subconsciously alarming, she will reject the lying possible scenario intuitively. If this triggers a more conscious response like:

Don't you dare lying or keeping things from me

You can perfectly and safely state that you didn't, you mention it because other people do that, you are the good son, you told her, now she should be the good mom and not get in the way being an obstacle for your savior, dad.

Elevate the value and status of dad, and imprint his present existence on your mom's imagination as proxy of your future existence, alive, safe and sound, by contrast, there's the stranger uncertainty:

I need you to support dad in helping me, he's got experience, he's perfectly safe and sound and happily elderly, I want to follow his example to have a good time while doing things correctly, successfully and safe. Dad is awesome, I can be as good as him but I need his supervision, an experienced stranger won't be as interested and invested in providing the best possible advice as dad will be, don't you agree?

Your parents are now feeling like parents again, so useful, not only emotionally available like good nice parents are, but practical and useful again at last.

I think she won't be able to debate that.

Oh, and please honor that, be safe and follow his advice. I already had a messy motorcycle accident even while following advice and traffic rules, provoked by a girl who was learning how to drive, fortunately, I'm immortal and landed on my feet while the bike was utterly destroyed. Not all people come out as victorious from such an event. The helmet did help, always wear a helmet. Special jackets with reinforced rigid structures for the spine have saved people I know, get one of those. And, sorry for the off-topic paragraph, but providing manipulative skills only for you to get hurt would make me feel horrible, I do believe he can be your savior, in a sense, a practical sense.

Best of luck.


I had a similar situation arise when I started Jiu Jitsu. My mother is terrified of me getting injured in a fight or in practice. To placate her, I reassured her that I take every safety measure possible to avoid injury when I practice. Although she isn't a huge supporter of me doing the sport, she does respect my decision without arguing with me.
You don't mention this, but I suspect your mother's main concern with you riding motorcycles is the risk that they pose. If this is the case, the following may work for you.

  1. Show her that you have the appropriate equipment to safely ride, and that you take your safety seriously.
  2. Take multiple classes that will ensure your safety. While it is great that your dad can teach you, I am sure that she'll relax a little more about this potential hobby if you take a class from a trained professional.
  3. Explain to her that you'll ride in safe conditions. This means that you'd avoid cycling at night, when it's rainy, or when it's snowy (if you want to ride in these conditions, you may avoid telling her this, but this is probably the situations she's most worried about).

If you take these steps, she may allow you to take up this exciting new hobby, because you've demonstrated to her that you're listening to her concerns.


Tell your mother that in your independence you have come to realize that there are certain skills in life that you weren't aware that you needed, and one of those is riding a motorcycle. You could go to a young, inexperienced instructor, or you could ask dad for help (seeing that he has reached old age he surely has a lot of motorcycle wisdom to hand down.

Also, think about something that your mother could teach you that helps you in your independent life (cooking perhaps?) and ask her for help in that too. Visiting family and having motorcycle lessons by dad, followed by cooking lessons by mom, and then all of you sharing a hearty meal sounds like the perfect family plan.

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