A study done in 2006 by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed; that’s almost one in four. The survey also showed that about 36% of Americans age 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.
If you’re a parent, chances are at some point your child will come to you and say, “I want to get a tattoo.”
It usually happens somewhere after the weird hairstyle, crazy piercings, and the words, “Can I take the car?”
If you don’t mind the idea of your child permanently marking their body, read no further. If you’re opposed to the idea however, you may want to consider the following steps on how to talk your teen out of getting a tattoo.
1. Remain calm. Try to avoid screaming things like, ‘over my dead body’ and ‘have you lost your mind?’ or the ever-popular, ‘as long as you’re living under my roof you’ll do as I say.’ Those phrases are ineffective and over-used.
2. Gross them out. Lie if you have to.
“A tattoo, why not? Your Grandmother, Uncle Richard, Aunt Mable, and my friend Rita all have them.” Describe their tattoos in detail and precisely where they are on their bodies. Use your imagination. Just be sure to paint a pretty picture, one they’ll visualize and have nightmares about later.
3. Instill fear. “Yes, as long as I can go with you. I want to make sure they properly sterilize the needles. You don’t want to contract any horrible disease.” No one wants to get sick, and even more, no teenager wants their mommy or daddy going with them to the tattoo parlour. Google Tattoo Procedures with your child the bloodier the better. Read health risks related to tattoos and be sure to check out Tattoos Gone Bad.
4. Threaten to embarrass them.“Yes! I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo on my forearm for a while now. We can go together! Your friends will think you have the coolest Mom.” Teenagers don’t want their parents to be cool. They want them to be invisible.
5. Mess with their minds. Offer a solution for a tattoo they regret. “Sure, get one. If you don’t like it you can always have it removed.” As they smile and hug you, add, “I read you can have it removed for anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of the tattoo. The procedure almost always works and only takes three to six visits. They say it’s like having a baby, you’ll forget about the pain eventually.”6. Use reverse psychology.
“I think a tattoo’s a great idea! You should go today.” This response will surely send your teenager into a tailspin. They’ll become confused and nervous and will stop to re-think their decision. Since when do you agree with them on anything?
7. Resort to bribery.
“I’ll pay you three times the cost of the tattoo, if you don’t get one.” Let’s face it, money talks.
I hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful. But should you fail to change your child’s mind and they walk in one day sporting a tattoo, recall step one:
Remain calm. Then hug them and love them anyway. There are worse things in life than a tattoo.