I’m going to sound old and out of touch now – but I’m okay with that. My children will not have tattoos, piercings other than basic ear piercing, or any other permanent body alterations done while they are living under my roof. Not because I dislike tattoos or piercings – but because I believe there are some boundaries that should be set by parents, so kids are forced to wait until they are mature enough to make certain decisions.
Tattoos are incredibly expensive (if they’re done right) and they are a life-long commitment. If anything, I want my child to understand that the kind of commitment a tattoo takes requires work, money and certainty. If the answer to the question “What do you want for your birthday?” is “I want you to pay to permanently modify my body” – the answer is no. If somehow, my teen manages to have a job that allows him to afford this on his own – the answer is still no.
I believe that if my child becomes fascinated with tattoos and piercings and if it’s something he’s really supposed to have in his life, the desire will stick around until he’s legally allowed to make those decisions without my permission. At that point – I won’t be able to stop him. But also – if he expresses an interest in these things, I want him to be educated about them an as art form; I’ll buy him books, I’ll take him to art exhibitions – I will do everything in my power to support and nourish his interests. It’s not that I think teenagers are incapable of making decisions, or that I think a tattoo or piercing is a bad one – it’s that I think some decisions have permanent repercussions, and it’s my job as a parent to guide those decisions.
I think there is always a bit of parental influence shrouding the decisions that teenagers make – whether that is good or bad depends on the situation, I guess. Tattoos are important works of art and serious commitments. I will teach my kids this – just as I will teach them about many other of my own personal ideologies. If that makes me overbearing – so be it. To me – that’s parenting.
(photo: Getty Images)