When your child wants a tattoo, what do you do?

Here’s my suggestion … first take a look at this woman from Brazil and count your lucky stars!

Tattoo.jpg
Seriously … what have your conversations been? Is this what Marko might look like in a few years?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    when my 3 year old tells me that she wants a “cartoon” on her belly just like mommy, I tell her that she has to wait until she is old enough to be a mommy too. :)
    and yes, my parents would still kill me if they knew I had a tattoo…

  • Scot McKnight

    Julie,
    What if your dad or mom reads this blog?

  • Bill Crawford

    Unfortunately, our 17 year-old daughter raises the issue about getting a tattoo just to get a rise from her parents. She doesn’t seem interested in a serious discussion, just a reaction.

  • Ed

    Several years ago when my,then college student son, told us he wanted a tattoo my wife and I didn’t react. We simply told him the cost was his and then I explained how painful receiving a tattoo could be, especially in the area he wanted his (lower ankle, right on the bony area). We never heard another word. I don’t think it was anything we said. I believe it was our non-reaction. Thank the Lord I kept my mouth undercontrol.

  • Heather

    Scot, I’m interested to know what brought up this question. I’m fairly sure your grown children would not be contemplating the possibility of a tattoo at this stage…

  • cas

    My 21 year old has about 4 tattoos. The first his friends bought him for his 18th birthday. It’s the bird from the cover of GK Chesterton’s novel, The Man Who Was Thursday. That softened the blow a bit. At least it wasn’t vile. He’s very careful not to get them in places that might interfere with future opportunities, in part because I got a tattoo-gone-terribly-wrong when I was 16, against my parents’ wishes, and then tried to have it corrected, only to make it bigger and uglier.
    About the time my son was contemplating and getting tattoos, I was paying $350 a visit to have mine lasered off. (After 4 treatments, it’s still not gone.) I used every treatment as a warning to him, which he heeded to a degree. He has a flock of crows flying around his calf, song lyrics from mewithoutYou on the other calf, and a couple silly homemade ones.
    I did have the experience of my other son calling from college to tell me he had pierced his ears. I was bothered until I went to the local mall and saw a SoCal version of the woman in your photo and instantly realized two pierced ears is getting off easy.
    In both cases, I came to appreciate their creative choices. Church grown kids are sophisticated these days. Don’t bother with the Old Testament prohibition argument. They’ll retort with cultural context, learned I think from tatted up youth leaders who are sanitazing their BC habits with Christianized versions.
    I have a feeling this fad will fade with the ink of aging tattoos.

  • mick

    I always told my “mohawked” son that when he turned 18 he was free to do it but not until as he would be “legally responsible” to make a permanent decision about his body. He reluctantly agreed – several times. Now he’s 26 and still has not gotten one although he still “threatens” to. Looking back, I’d probably have let him get one if it was within “reason” and his mom would let me let him :)

  • http://www.newwaystheology.blogspot.com/ Mason

    I wonder why the tenor seems to be that tattoos are inherently a bad thing?
    Perhaps the content of the tattoo and the reason for getting it are the parts that matter? Like any art form tattooing that is done for the right reasons can be a beautiful, healthy, meaningful thing.
    Getting a giant flaming skull at the age of 15 to tick off authority figures, bad idea.
    Getting a tattoo in your 20’s + because it commemorates something or means something deep to you, go for it.
    As for the OT prohibition, I’ll tell people not to get tats when you tell them not to shave their sideburns :)

  • Nathan

    My wife always says she doesn’t know how she will respond if when our kids are old enough they don’t want tattoos. I guess I’m somewhat indifferent to the whole thing.

  • Bob

    I agree with Mason, I’m a little surprised at all the negativity toward ink. My wife and I both have multiple tattoos that honor Christ and are memorials for us much like the monuments erected by Jacob and Joshua in the OT. Like many things, the issue is not the tattoo itself, but the motivation for getting one. Anything motivated by rebellion or selfish non-conformity is displeasing to God. Tattoos are not inherently rebellious.
    In response to Scot’s question, if and when my daughter wanted to get one I’d caution her to check her motives and to make sure that it is something she truly wants to live with the rest of her life. I would also advise a long “engagement” period before taking the plunge.

  • Rebeccat

    I got a tattoo on the inside of my forearm for my 35th birthday this summer. I love it and am planning my next one (or two or three?). My 13 year old just thinks it’s silly and unnecessary – which I find amusing. I would really like to get my eyebrow pierced as well, but the other homeschool moms already think I’m Satan’s spawn (literally), so I haven’t done it because I don’t want to be unnecessarily provocative.
    I figured that at 35 I’m old enough that I know what I like and won’t hate it later. I’m also at a point in my life where I’m just about sure that any opportunities which would be negatively affected by having a tattoo are opportunities I’m not interested in.
    As for my kids, I would tell them to consider the following:
    Their bodies are a gift from God for them to use while here, so don’t put anything on your body that is defiling or dishonors God. When you’re young, if you just can’t wait get any tattoo in an inconspicuous spot you won’t have to look at everyday just in case your tastes change. Also, don’t get a tattoo you can’t cover up if you need to and consider the effects of aging on the spot you want tattooed. Now that I’m writing this, it seems that contemplating getting a tattoo could probably be an exercise in considering the future more than you consider your immediate desires. Which is a good exercise for young people even if they never do get any ink.

  • cas

    Bob and Mason,
    I suspect the negativity comes from a realistic view of the world re. career challenges, etc.
    Your final point gets to the greater issue for me. Advising our children to “make sure it’s something they truly want to live with for the rest of their lives” is an awful tall order. How many of us have the same taste at 30 or 40 or 50 that we did at 25? It’s enough to stick with the same spouse for life, I think.
    My teenage tattoo was not done in rebellion. I was an artist. It was simply executed poorly and I was then stuck with it. My sister got a very nice black one on her hip that same year and has not regretted it. Conversely, I have been job hunting lately, and as a professional, I now only wear pantsuits to interviews because $1400 worth of laser treatments still have not erased the mark from my ankle and I don’t need any unnecessary barriers standing between me and a potential job at 44 years old. I’d also often much rather wear a skirt.
    My son has been very cautious with his choices, but seriously, at 50, is still going to want a dinasaur on his foot or the word “rabbit” on his wrist? Thankfully those two were handmade black tatttoos, which is the easiest, and cheapest type to remove.
    My niece took a job in a tattoo parlor at 18 years old, and within a year was tatted up and down her body. I was sad to see so much done so fast in so many public places on her body. There’s a cultural imperative that has come with the mainstreaming of tattoos, just like with cosmetic surgery, etc. that I think we ought to rightly question.
    I must note, however, that after my son died earlier this year, my niece quickly added one in honor of him. You can see that tattoo here:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/photo.php?pid=689182&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=11235017398&aid=-1&id=662687833&oid=11235017398
    She sheepishly sent me a photo. How could I object to it? I’ve thought myself about getting a tiny sparrow on my foot as a memorial. Still, I wish she had done something more modest, for her own sake.
    My advice to parents advising kids who are intent on getting a tattoo would be to tell them to GET BLACK INK ONLY, and if they are intent on color, ABSOLUTELY AVOID GREEN, which is the most difficult color to erase.

  • Jason

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with tattoos though I must admit to finding them extremely unappealing. I never think it looks good, especially on women. I have two young girls and I would encourage them against it for that reason alone. That said, I wouldn’t forbid it. But I would stress the permanence of it, the aging effects, and concealment issues in case in interferes with future opportunities. While were on the subject, I happen to find almost all body piecing kind of revolvting as well. Ears are one thing, but anything on the face is a huge turn off to me. Lips, toungue, nose, eyebrows, oh especially the eye brows. It just seems so uncomftertable and it pains me to look at it. And belly button, doesn’t that rub against your shirt all day?
    My wife on the other hand…. She has repeatedly expressed interest in more piercing, her face and bully button, and has remarked several times that she might do so if it wasn’t for me….I’m not giving in on this one.

  • ca

    Okay, that link didn’t work. Sorry. It’s a large rose on her calf, with the words “Gabey Baby” weaved into it.

  • http://www.lenflack.com/ Len Flack

    My mother had a great response to my inquiry about getting a tattoo: “When you’re 18, you can do whatever you’d like, just don’t expect me to like it too.” (I’d note that I think that statement assumed that it wouldn’t be anything coarse or vile.) That was when I was sixteen.
    When I was nineteen, and and about to start my sophomore year of college (and my first year at Bible college), I decided did get the tattoo I wanted. I later got another one, much larger, in the same spot. I’ve never regretted either of them.
    Funny thing: my mother, who will be turning 60 this coming August, is thinking about getting a tattoo now.

  • kent

    Our approach has been simple and consistent – we tell them “Pierce or tattoo and college is on you”. What happens after they are launched in their issue.

  • cas

    Kent, what happens if they do pierce or tattoo? Will you really follow through with that ultimatum? Really?

  • http://www.mysticallimpet.blogspot.com Travis Greene

    If they’re under 18, I’ll tell them to write down their idea and put it in a drawer. If a year has passed and they’re over 18 and they still want it, I’ll pay for the first one myself.
    The career and aesthetic considerations are excellent pieces of wisdom to listen to. As well as the practical aspects of certain piercings. And any health considerations (actually,getting a tattoo a year is a good excuse to not have to give blood–why is it I can only stand one kind of needle?).
    But after having calmly considered all that, surely everyone realizes that the main objection is cultural. Culture (Western culture, it’s worth noting) used to say that tattoos were for sailors, prostitutes, and convicts. That’s no longer the case. I’m not particularly worried about having my tattoos (all in places pretty easy to cover up if it mattered) when I’m 50, because so will half the other 50-year-olds.
    Everyone’s welcome to finding them unattractive, but that’s what they said about long hair for men or blue jeans or when people stopped wearing breeches and powdered wigs. It passes.

  • BeckyR

    I don’t understand the large reaction against tattoos. I have 2, kinda. Both on my ankles, yes it hurt a lot. One is a rose, on the other ankle is what looks like an anklet with charms, each one having meaning to me. A cross is one of the charms. They are usually just seen in the summer otherwise they’re covered up with socks. I started getting them at 40 with the rose tattoo, sort of a mark of passage, turning 40 being a big deal. Some of the others, the charms, have been done on my birthdays. I didn’t get all the charms at the same time, I’ve added as others have appealed to me. After the last charm I got on the anklet tattoo I may never get another tat, it hurt soooo much. I have room for one more charm on the anklet. Each tattoo was done after much thinking about it to make sure I really wanted it.

  • H.S.

    We have the Five Year Rule (and two teenagers). Clumsily stated, our children are not allowed to do anything that could or would affect them in five years. (No tattoos, no piercings, no sex, no drugs.)
    However . . . we soon discovered this left out hair dye. So now my kids have blue hair. This week.

  • Your Name

    Very difficult question.
    Most people would let thier older teenager children pierce their ears. What about two pierings, or three where does it stop. What about a nose piercing? At what point do we assert our parental perogitive.
    The idea of the five year rule is a nice idea. But what does “affect them” mean? Having ears pierced only once might be understood to affect them in five years though I doubt many would take this position. I suppose we would read “affect them” to mean at least the potential hinder the child’s carreer or professional development, or perhaps health. Naturally we are assuming that socal norms remain static, which we know is not the case.
    How could small tasteful tatoo in a descrete location ( perhaps on an ankle, in the small of the back) significantly “affect them” in five years?
    I very much agree that we, as parents, need to help our teenagers make good choices and certaily have should step in at times and limit behavior that has more permanent consequences. I just wonder if the lines are a bit more gray.
    One approach I’ve seen is to dissallow tattos and excessive piercings but allow non-permanent alterntions to hair viz. color etc.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I wonder how Kent will react when his offspring decide that he really needs to be in a cheaper nursing home.

  • http://www.mysticallimpet.blogspot.com Travis Greene

    I forgot to add the ways in which my tattoos have allowed me to have conversations with people about faith, Jesus, and spirituality which we wouldn’t have otherwise had.

  • cas

    Blue hair, like powdered wigs, long hair, etc. is reversible. Be warned though that blue hair may be a sign of things to come.
    To those who are middle-aged, established in careers, etc., more power to you. For young people, it is a different matter, and I’m not convinced the fact that many will have them at 50 will change things that much. Again, few keep the same taste in furniture for 30 years. I think, rather, that removal procedures will get better and hopefully cheaper, and that this will be an increasingly lucrative profession.
    Thanksgiving dinner with my niece’s family involved a bit of tension between sisters because of the non-tattooed sister’s slight concern about her sibling’s choices, and her young husband’s abhorance of it. Obviously not all young people see them the same way.

  • Your Name

    I should have said, the young husband’s abhorance of them (his sister-in-law’s choices).

  • http://www.mysticallimpet.blogspot.com Travis Greene

    You kids with your MTV and your baggy pants.

  • Your Name

    There is a country song that depicts a conversation with a young man (with Tattoos) and an old man (with scars). The premises is that this young man is trying to prove his toughness by getting tattoos, instead of patiently waiting and earning his scars. I have a tattoo, received when I was 21, and this was definately a motivator with why I got mine. But it makes me ponder the quest for knowledge, vs patiently waiting for wisdom.
    A little off the topic, but what I think of when discussing tattoos.

  • Tony Hunt

    You take them to go get it, duh

  • http://www.theophiliacs.com Tony Hunt

    No seriously, I was raised a holiness Pentecostal, my dad was a pastor. He recalls that when he was a kid he couldn’t play with face cards, go bowling, or go to movie theaters. Just last year though, the church bought him a gift card to the movie theater for “Pastor Appreciation Day” I think tatoo taboo’s (ooh the wordplay) are just an unfortunate left-over from the time when holiness meant personal abstinence from silly things.

  • http://iamryno.wordpress.com Ryan Smith

    While I don’t have any tatoos, my younger brother does and I recall when he was set to get his first tatoo done my father said to him, “I’ll cut your arm off if you get it tatooed!” A day or two later, my brother walked up to my father, pulled up his shirt sleeve and said, “Get your saw.” To this day my brother is a two armed, tatooed wonder.

  • LuvBritLit

    We don’t forbid our kids from getting tatoos. We just don’t pay for them. Seriously, when your child is 18, you need to just let them do these things. If they ask for advice, give it. I’ve told my girls to think carefully before they get a tatoo, and if they decide they still want it, fine, I can’t stop them. If they can pay for it, they can have it done.
    I don’t think this is a moral issue, it’s just not to my taste.
    A good friend in her 50′s, who is a pastor’s wife, just got her first tatoo. I use her as an example to my kids that you don’t have to be a staid conservative to be a Christian. ;-)

  • Steve

    Our youngest is now 16 and has been wanting tattoos for two years. So far he only has one on the inside of his lower lip. That one was our concession. But he says that when he is 18, he has his tattoos all planned. Our older kids had hair of all sorts of shades and styles–and I said, “Hey, it’s only hair.” Somehow tattoos seem…well, more permanent (though not eternal). But beyond fatherly advice, there isn’t much I can do but love him. I can’t really come up with any good biblical prohibition that makes sense. And, after all, I have a few friends both here and in various parts of the world, who are also dear to me, who have all sorts of body adornments.

  • rking

    Both of my older than 18 yr old daughters have gotten tattoos. In both cases they are a memorial to their mother who passed away last year. I was not for them getting tattoos and they both did it without my knowledge. However, both had them done in places that are easily concealed and it was hard to argue with the content.
    After it happened, I thought this is the kind of conversation I wish I would have had with them earlier. I also think it is something the Church should have some discussions about in HS groups, not in a condemning way, but a general information way. It is just another way to help young people make good, well-informed decisions

  • rking

    Both of my older than 18 yr old daughters have gotten tattoos. In both cases they are a memorial to their mother who passed away last year. I was not for them getting tattoos and they both did it without my knowledge. However, both had them done in places that are easily concealed and it was hard to argue with the content.
    After it happened, I thought this is the kind of conversation I wish I would have had with them earlier. I also think it is something the Church should have some discussions about in HS groups, not in a condemning way, but a general information way. It is just another way to help young people make good, well-informed decisions

  • Mason

    Glad to get some kind feedback from earlier. I completely respect anyones choice not to get a tat, or their right to dislike them aesthetically. I just think that if done for the right reasons there is nothing at all immoral about tattooing.
    That said, you need to be really really sure about it, and to be smart.
    As someone with a couple myself (a celtic cross and some Latin on my back, and ‘Grace’ in greek on my shoulder, might go for more eventually), here is my advice.
    Black is a good choice. Not that there is anything wrong with colors, but I know too many people who’s colored tats faded far faster than black does.
    If you might pursue a profession where tattoos would be a detriment to your career keep that in mind. Nothing against visible tattoos, but if your concerned about that it is very easy to place them in areas where if someone can see them you are not in work dress anyways.
    Finally, be extreamly picky about the quality and cleanliness of the parlor. Find people who have tattoos and get a number of recommendations and see the work the artists do before hand,
    After all, if you go in wanting the word Rose on your ankle with a little flower, but instead they write Ross and a vine, well that will not be a good day.

  • http://julieclawson.com Julie Clawson

    “What if your dad or mom reads this blog?”
    well that would be interesting now wouldn’t it…
    I see nothing wrong/scary/negative about tattoos, but I knew they didn’t like them. For me it wasn’t a rebellion thing in fighting them on this, which is why I waited until I was older to get one.
    I don’t want to fight my kids on silly things like hairstyle, but to still encourage them to take time considering the more long term body changes. Most states don’t allow certain piercings under 18 or tattoos under 21 anyway. But there are a lot worse things my kids could do to disappoint me than get a tattoo (which is what I often see this conversation as being about)

  • cas

    I think #27 hints at a larger issue and that is the cultural trend toward body shaping—whether through dieting, body building, elective cosmetic surgery or tattoing—rather than character development. For example, Steve Waldman had a recent post about the increase in children lying, cheating and stealing, but one only needs listen to the news for evidence of the same with pastors, politicians and business leaders.
    What is all the focus on controlling the flesh about? What is the spiritual issue at the heart of the matter? Is there one at all?
    I had an discussion with a woman in Newport Beach some years back comparing what I called the “body armour” of my son and his punk rock friends (clothes, piercings, tattoos), whom I admired, with rich women’s Gucci, fake boobs and injectibles. They’re two sides of the same coin in my estimation.Not necessarily problematic, but certainly a trend worth examining.

  • cas

    Body manipulation would be a better way to describe the trend I’m talking about. Why are we so invested in manipulating our bodies? Is it because our world and/or personal lives feel out of control as society has changed exponentially over the past 100 years? Or am I just reading too deep into the matter? My son would have said yes to that last question.

  • BeckyR

    To make tattooing a christian matter is to make it extra biblical like banning dancing or card playing. I am a parent who has survived my child’s teen years, so I speak from experience. Parents certainly have jurisdiction over what their kids do to their bodies while minors, but to make tattos a moral christian matter is wrong.

  • Your Name

    Uhm…I believe my son was 15 or 16 when he called and said he wanted to get an ear ring. I told him, “If you plan on wearing a dress, then go ahead.” He did not get the ear ring. BUT….he now is in the piercing business and has 95% of his body covered with tattoos. Guess I should have said “yes” instead of being a smart *** about it.
    I have several tattoos now. All of them tell a part of my life’s story. Can’t tell you the number of comments I’ve received and the opportunity to tell a bit of my story and that of Christ’s love.
    Just a suggestion….if your kid wants a tattoo…have them start with one on their butt or the inside upper arm. They’ll have a new appreciation for pain!

  • cas

    Becky,
    When I was interviewing women for an article on elective cosmetic surgery, they often argued that their faith had no bearing on the decision. A Christian feminist argued that such a position is dualistic. Of course, what we do with our bodies has spiritual significance. Ours is an embodied faith. Christ is God made flesh. My question is about what meaning does it have?

  • Dana Ames

    Son (22) talks about getting a couple of small tattoos but so far has not done it. Older daughter (21) has two- she got the first, smaller one her first year of college; it’s a couple of tiny five-pointed stars behind her right ear, so with her hair down it is totally covered. The other, which she got her second year of college, is a circle of the names of her dad & me and her brother and sister in her own handwriting, “near her heart” but in a place that can’t be seen unless she’s wearing a bathing suit. I did not know about these until a year ago. I don’t think she plans on any more, but who knows?
    Younger daughter (19) used to have plans to be a tattoo artist but without having any tattoos herself; she liked the irony of that… She has changed her mind and now wants to earn money doing something else…although a floral motif she designed is tattooed on the leg of a friend of hers (done by someone else). She wanted a nose pierce (right side) from about age 14, and we allowed her to get it at age 17, though she was willing to wait until she was 18. It was part of her birthday present. Her dad put a punch hole in a 3 x 5 card and enclosed it in her birthday card; she couldn’t figure out what it meant! I went with her when she had it done, as I had to sign the “permission slip”. Three of her friends were also there; when it was time for the needle to go through, she asked someone to hold her hand, and none of those friends would do it- so I held her hand. It was one of those bonding experiences…
    We always let our kids have whatever style or color hair they wanted, except to have their hair bleached, because that is so bad for it.
    Dana

  • Dana Ames

    I should add that though we agreed to the nose pierce, we told the kids no tattoos before age 18; if they wanted to have one, they had to pay for it themselves, and we did not think it was a good idea, for a variety of reasons, including potential hepatitis exposure, which is also permanent. When I found out about older daughter’s tattoos, I cried, because it’s so permanent. I also cried because her family’s names are on her permanently. Yup, I’m like that.
    Dana

  • pagansister

    Both my grown children have tatoos. My son has both legs covered in art work he designed, and my daughter has several, in areas covered by clothes so it doesn’t interfer with her job. The artist who did both won a prize in one of the yearly tatoo conventions for the work on my son’s leg. As I said, they are grown, and were several years older than 18 when they decided to do them. I have talked about getting one for myself…but haven’t yet.

  • Your Name

    cas #38 and #42,
    You’re probably right, a certain amount of “body manipulation” is probably a result of a desire to feel in control in a world where we feel powerless. I was bulimic for five years and that was definitely a present element. But based on my conversations with people who have them, I wouldn’t easily categorize tattoos in with that wholesale.
    Although a couple people I know have them ‘just because,’ by far the majority (again, of the people I know) who have them do because they mean something very significant to them (frequently spiritual) that they want to express in a permanent and visible way. I have one friend who considers his tattoos (and he has several, all with religious significance) as a kind of marking of himself as Christ’s–the permanence and required commitment only underscore that. It’s not a substitute for spiritual growth or character development–it’s an outgrowth of it, an expression of internal events and changes through an outward and culturally available medium.
    Not that all tattoos people get are for purposes like that, but if my sample group is any kind of indicator it is a present strain in the reason stream, at least among Christian young people.
    Beyond tattooing, one of my friends has a second piercing on one of her ears to signify that she’s a “bondservant” of Christ, after the model for establishing permanent, voluntary slavehood in the Old Testament by piercing the ear with an awl at the doorpost of the house. In that way it’s like being a health nut or wearing presentable clothing: it can be done for good, significant reasons or it can be done for silly or selfish bad reasons.

  • cas

    Thanks #46 for the thoughtful reply. I think you’ve answered very well. Blessings to you~

  • cas

    That should have been thanks to #45.

  • cas

    Upon further reflection of #45′s point, I must say that I’m inclined to think their is a correlation between the increase in irreversible body decisions (like cosmetic surgery and tattooing) and the decrease in faithfulness to moral commitments (marriages, contracts, oaths of office). What I am not saying is that individuals who are tattooed or surgically enhanced are more likely to be unfaithful to their vows. I simply think there is something to the fact that as a society one form of commitment has increased expoentially while the other has decreased. I suspect also that fear of death may animate both trends to some degree. Now/this body/this life is of utmost importance.

  • H.S.

    ‘Your name’ at post #21 asks about our household policy of the Five Year Rule for our teenage children: “How could small tasteful tatoo in a descrete location ( perhaps on an ankle, in the small of the back) significantly “affect them” in five years?”
    1) They could get hepatitis from that little tattoo.
    2) They could decide they didn’t like it later and have to pay hundreds of dollars to remove it.

  • GREG

    A TATTOO IS LIKE HAVING AN 100 BILL, KNOWING THAT WHAT NOBODY CAN SEE, BUT THEY HAVE A TATTOO JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HAVING ONE, THEY ARE BOTH NICE TO HAVE!!

  • AB

    Whatever you do, don’t use the old “Your body is a temple” line… I say this because what is a temple with out it’s many colored banners and decorations and it was one of the lines used on me; this was my response after some careful thought at 18.
    I have three tattoos. My mom was really upset at the notion, however my dad had a Marine tattoo inscribed on his forearm, therefore I used that during every discussion as to why I should be able to have one. My father, very wise, told me that it was a poor decision – as far as placement went. He is a teacher and must wear long sleeved shirts all through the year to keep it covered. With that in mind I, unlike many mislead kids, put a lot of thought into my body art. Another deterrent was the thought of what being an 80 year old woman with tattoos would be like and so because I had already made up my mind that I would have one, I took that into account.
    I ended up with a ring of daisies around one bicep, a sun with a face on the other and the common Indian symbol of friendship – two crossed arrows – on the inside of my left ankle. My choices are extensions of myself: The sun which lights my days and seems to smile upon me at times, the daisy – commonplace, inexpensive, yet beautiful nonetheless and of course, the arrows which signify someone very close to me.
    All of these things I could also see myself happy with when I’m an old woman; it’s important to add that I had considered a ring of skulls at one point. Because I’m a woman, I went feminine and that seemed to help. Though suns were very trendy not long after, I didn’t mind because I knew mine wasn’t just because of the trend. I will be honest and say that on occasion I do wish I hadn’t put them in such revealing places, but that’s only because a couple times a year I’d like to get totally dressed up and not have to wear a sweater or jacket.
    A tattoo should be well thought out and never a whim. It shouldn’t be because it looks cool or is a fad. Some people just love art and want to cover their body in it, but that stuff belongs on walls, IMHO. It should compliment who you are and the choice you are making to add something so very permanent to your body.

  • Heather C.

    I am 18 and have my own tattoo. It is completely covered unless I am in the shower and is a memorial to my grandfather. I put a lot of time and thought into my tattoo and settled on getting the same tattoo that my grandfather had. It is a small black widow on my right hip (the same side that my grandfather’s was on). I see no problem with getting a well thought and meaningful tattoo in a tasteful location. For me, it is a way to be close to the grandfather that I never got to know and with whom I share many personality and physical traits. I plan to get a second tattoo (a dogwood flower on the other hip) soon to signify my faith (look up the legend behind the dogwood tree). Like my first tattoo, I will wear my bathing suit bottoms under my clothes to make sure that the tattoo is always covered. Also like my first tattoo, this one will have meaning and the people that will be with me while I get it will be special to me. Might I mention, I am a very successful student with plans to become a vet. Getting a tattoo does not make me rash and rebellious (any of my tattoos WILL have special meaning and much thought and prayer behind them). Nor does it make me less of a Christian. I believe that IF your child wishes to get a tattoo, give them your honest opinion of the idea. My dad doesn’t like them; my mom thinks that when done in good taste and put in appropriate places they are acceptable (just not for her). Then ask your child what he/she wants and why. If your child is under 18 tell him or her to wait until a few months after that 18th birthday and then if the idea still appeals to them, they can legal go through with it. In very few instances will forbidding work. If you are responsive (in a positive or at least neutral way) then your child will be far more likely to value your opinion and act in a way that closely relates to your wishes.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X