I'm sure this question has been asked in multiple other scenarios, but my background story is very specific.


Disclaimer: this is quite lengthy.

I'm 14 and female, and my parents are divorced. I play travel softball and I have an upcoming tournament in two weeks that is about a three-hour drive and takes place during her time with me. My father is the coach of our team, but because of their divorce (the divorce happened when I was 5, so quite some time ago) my mom still hates my Dad with a passion, and therefore hates all things related to softball.

She has already said we will be leaving at night (later than my teammates), and I won't be permitted to hang out with my friends/teammates "nearly as much as I'd like" (Her words) while I'm there. Note: This isn't for a particular reason (ex: us being busy with something else) but just because she doesn't want me to. She's also said I'm going to have a curfew of about 8 pm, whereas everyone else's curfew is in the 10-11 pm range to be back to the hotel room.

I've offered to go and stay with my dad in an effort to both give myself more freedom, and so she doesn't have to be around him. However, she declined the offer because she doesn't want my Dad to have additional time with me. She's even gone so far as forbidding me from going with him, which I'm not sure is allowed. If it comes down to it, I will outright refuse to go with her and go with my father anyway, but I'd like to not have to do this if at all possible.

My Question

So, this all being said, how do I persuade her to relax her rules without sounding confrontational or argumentative?

  • 3
    What's your usual curfew when not at a softball tournament? If the 8PM one is different from your usual, have you asked your mom why she sets a different one for this tournament? Is 'she doesn't want me to' all the justification you got, or is that an assumption you make? Does she already know everyone else's curfew is different? Are your teammates all 14 too?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Feb 10, 2022 at 7:32
  • 1
    This sounds less "strict" and more "spite". Do you feel/know she'd react the same way if this was anything other than a softball tournament?
    – Erik
    Feb 10, 2022 at 11:02
  • @Tinkeringbell I don't leave the house at night to need a curfew, so I'm not sure what the non-tournament curfew would be. Yes, that is all the justification I've gotten. Yes, she knows that everyone else's curfew is different, as this is not the first time I've had a tournament like this (I had an early curfew and didn't really hang out with the team) and I've told her, and yes, my teammates are all 14 as well. :)
    – ava
    Feb 10, 2022 at 11:59
  • @Erik She would react this way to anything to do with my dad
    – ava
    Feb 10, 2022 at 11:59
  • 2
    Is it possible to swap the "father time" you (indirectly) want more of during softball tournaments with "extra mother time" on a different day? For example, spend the entire upcomming weekend at your moms, and then the next one with the tournament with your dad?
    – Imus
    Feb 10, 2022 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


In my family, and especially with my father, we had a lot of freedom and space. We had rules (a few, but unbreakable ones), and, in case we didn't know what to do, asking and explaining was the key. He would never let us down. On the other side, such a great support and freedom had its counterpart, in the form of trust. Trust slowly comes walking, and quickly leaves running. That being said, we (I) always knew what to do: "deserve that trust, don't lie, don't cheat, don't let him down".

At the beginning, he gave me what we called "freedom and fences". You can do that, but you have to do this too. That's a deal, and don't you break it, or there's gonna be a penalty...

With great power come great reponsabilities, and that's how I learned from the beginning. Respect your word and your deal, no matter what. That's how you earn respect and trust. That will be the starting point and the cornerstone of my answer: ask your mother about something you want to do, and tell her about what you'll exactly do, and how you'll do it. Give her the pros and cons, and set yourself the safety fences you'll promise to respect. If you don't already have it, ask for her trust, and don't betray it.

She may want to settle things a little differently, but it's a give-and-take game, a negociation. You'll have to show that you're mature enough to deal with her inflexibility, and accept a few arrangements. Tell her what's really important to you in that case, and what you're willing to do in exchange in order to get it. But my best advice would be to not push too hard or too far, and to not argue. In any case, or that'll be the end of it...

You come to her with a kind of draft of project proposal, some solution to a situation, but you don't come with problems, you come with a solution, and you help improve some situation. And, as you're the one asking, show her what benefits she'll get too from this deal (I never had to do that with my dad because I was first trusted, but I reused this technic later with people, and it helps).

It that doesn't work the first time, you may have to repeat the operation again, maybe with something of a lesser importance. If you aimed too high, adjust the settings, and tune down the crosshair.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.