(I had to update this blog because Jack just got a new tattoo,It’s our dog, Theo, right next to the Gonzo tattoo! I remember when Jack wore blue footie pjs.)
First, face the facts, it’s going to happen. Your child is going to get a tattoo and, if they are 18, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You may think you have to power… but you do not.
You can yell, and threaten but your child will still get a tattoo. You are negotiating from a very weak position. You kid will simply put it in a place you don’t see very often. My son has a really ugly naked cat kind of animal wearing a thong right under his armpit. If he hadn’t shown it to me I wouldn’t have known till summer. I know several kids who hide their tats from their parents. And these are good kids and good parents, parents, police officers, lawyers and chefs. It’s not your fault, it’s just their culture.
Now, you have to figure out how to talk to you child about their impending markings. You need to be friendly, not angry, or they won’t listen to you, at all.
The first thing you want to do is try to get them to slow down and think about what they want as a tattoo, then wait a month. If Jack had gotten a tattoo when he was 12 or 13 he’d be covered with Spider Man, Good Charlotte and the name Jerica, good thing he waited.
Make sure you ask your child if that flaming high school mascot, maybe its a bull dog or cobra, is really what they want eternally etched into their skin? Is the barbed wire wraped around a Celtic Sword on their ankle going to seem cool when they are 50? Why do you want to tattoo your name on your wrist, are you planning on Althizmers? Won’t you always know your name?
Jack’s first tattoo was simple, the rebel alliance emblem from Star Wars. Sure, that sounded awesome when he was 17/18 but he’ll be the first to admit now he thinks it’s kind of lame. I remember when he told me about the tat, trying to convice me what a great idea it was, “Mom, it represents equality and democrocy, it’s everything you love”. I wonder how he’ll feel about the naked, hairless cat with a thong in a few years.
Before they visit that black light lit, back ally shop you need to have the location conversation. If your daughter gets a dolphin jumping over the moon splattered on her shoulder she’ll be really sad the first time she tries to put on a wedding gown. Girls need to make sure their tattoos can be covered by a wedding dress. They also need to stay away any possible fat locations..That’s right, those fat tattoos are pretty wretched. Boney locations are better.
Boys need to make sure their first tat can be covered by a polo shirt and a pair of shorts. Someday he may have a boss who wants to play golf. At that moment your son may be very sorry he had the Chevy pick up truck rolling over a pile of dead bodies tattoed on his calf.
Your baby is going to get a tattoo, and you have to deal with it. The most you can hope for is something small, tasteful in a low visibility location. And you, as the parent need to have a little tact and style. If they are 18 and have fifty bucks you will lose the argument, don’t let it ruin your relationship.