Influence on Daughter...

Updated on September 24, 2015
K.H. asks from Upper Jay, NY
21 answers

DD(17) is intent on getting a tattoo once she turns 18 in a few months time. I would love to be able to influence her not to get one, but the thing is I was about her age when I got one myself and would obviously sound very hypocritical. I know that she is also very influential over younger brother (15) and if she gets one, he will definitely want one when the time comes. I guess its their decision at the end of the day but I know I would rather not have one now...its just hard to say she shouldn't without being a hypocrite. Anyone have any sort of similar experience?

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answers from Columbus on

I would not recommend attempting to influence her NOT to get one. I would suggest attempting to influence her thinking regarding tattoos. Try to help her to understand that if she gets a tattoo, it will be with her forever. Try to impress upon her the significance of choosing something that will be with her forever-she might not like the same things when she's 40 that she does now.

Luckily, most people I know do not regret their tattoos 20some years later so long as they understand the importance of their decision when they made it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You know why. Have never gotten a tattoo? I would not be able to decide on something that permanent. I would probably regret it later... And I am now proud, that I have not marked the temple... I have never been a person to follow the crowd so this trend will fade, but not the tattoos..

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answers from St. Louis on

Encourage her to get one, heck, help her pick one out. Offer to drive her. If she then gets one it was something thought out and not some form of rebellion.

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answers from Washington DC on


If you regret getting your tattoo...tell her and tell her WHY you regret it. That is not being hypocritical.

My 15 year old son wants a Tattoo. I told him when he turns 18, he can get one. I had my best friend talk to him about tattoos and her husband. Her husband has a tattoo that is SSSOOO 1980's and guess what? It's permanent. So if she gets a tattoo that says "I am Johnny's girl" or something like that?? she better hope that all of her future boyfriend's and/or husband is named John.

Remind her that yes - tattoos can be removed - the procedure is costly and painful. And it really doesn't erase it.

have her test out the "fake" tattoos - the press on ones? Even Henna to see how she likes having something on her skin EVERY DAY....

If she wants one? Support her. Just remind her that it's permanent.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would tell her that a tattoo is something that she'll have the rest of her lift and it's very hard and painful to get rid of it later on if she decides she doesn't want it anymore.

I'd also tell her that in her future she is going to want a job and that some employers look down on tattoos and she might not be able to find work in her career.

All in all it truly is her decision but you do still have her ear. Let her know you might still have done what you have now but would have waited to get it or waited and picked something else entirely. Being honest with her is the safest route. She will probably still do it but if she has thought about all the choices and still made that decision then she's set on her choice.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't think I would honestly care if my kids got tattoo's. I would encourage them to start small and where it can be covered, then if they want more to go for it. I don't have any because I am scared of the pain, but I don't dislike them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I suppose since tats are so common now, you could say something along the lines of:
"Way to be different - just like everybody else!" and see if she picks up on the irony at all.
As far as your own tat goes - if you no longer want it, then have it removed - and have your daughter be aware of what you go through to get it done.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Be honest but it is her body. Suggest that she get one that can be concealed if need be by a long or quarter sleeve blouse/shirt. I say this because there are still businesses that frown upon persons with tats.

She is not you but if you go along and give her your blessings she might just think about it more seriously. At least you are not putting your foot down and making her want more.

My daughter has several but there area covered and a couple of them were more painful than others when she got them and is now down with them. I think there are six I don't know as she is a grown adult. My son has one huge one on the inside of his right arm which is his son's name. I wanted one but it would have been in a location that would have had the ink radiated out when I had radiation for my breast cancer. So I only have a few dots that are alignment markings for treatment.

This, too, shall pass. Welcome to the world of the teen adult.

the other S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think it is hypocritical to express your current feeling on tattoos. As you have aged, you have grown and changed your mind about them. The fact that you regret your tattoo shows you are not a hypocrite.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think that the hypocritical part would only come in if you DIDN'T have a tattoo and was trying to give advice :) I know exactly where you are coming from - I got a tattoo (but I was not 18 - I was like 21 or 22), but really didn't want my 18 yr olds to get them the second they turned 18 (in fact, I wish they wouldn't at all). My general house rule was that they had to wait until they were 18 (sadly there are places that will take fake ids and not care) AND they had to have a job to pay for it (I wasn't going to pay for it). My oldest 2 have ink and got them right at 18 (oldest daughter was 16 but lived in another country for a year and it was legal there - boy was I pissed), and considered them a "rite of passage". My 3rd daughter I was able to convince to wait. I told her I supported her decision, but that why be like all the other 18 yr olds in town and run out a get one. Wait a year, really decide what you want, and then get one. She fell for it :) So, don't assume that if one kid gets one at 18, the other will - I would have thought the same thing with my 3rd, her sisters got them, she will too, but no. Now my oldest son will be 18 tomorrow. If he had any money (works, but can't save a dime other than forced savings by us for college) he would be at the nearest parlor at 12:01 a.m. tonight.

Good luck - aren't 18 yr olds a blast!

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answers from Washington DC on

I agree with others who note that it is not hypocritical of you to let her know you now regret your tattoo and wish you did not have one. Tell her that as time passed you realized--well, whatever it is that now makes you wish you had not make a permanent choice at the time you made it. Tell her in a way that lets her know you are being frank and direct but not judging her -- you are just relating your experience and how time has changed it for you.

My brother has tattoos on his upper arms. He would have more but is a business owner in a retail business and for many reasons (the type of business, the norm of men in this business wearing very dressy shirts and ties, etc.) he has confined the tattoos to an area that can be covered. I know he also has a few tattoos that he would really like to remove but he is worried about the pain and expense involved. While your daughter, being a teen, is not very likely to listen to arguments about how "Employers might not hire you if you have tattoos that show," I would see if she is willing to research things like tattoos and employment, the expense of tattoo removals, whether insurance is going to cover expenses if anything goes wrong (infection etc.) A reputable place should not have a risk of infection or allergic reactions but she needs to do plenty of "due diligence" research for her own safety. After she does that she might decide it's not for her after all.

If she is paying for this herself when the time comes -- will she have enough to go to a safe and reputable tattoo artist? She needs to consider that and not go for whatever she can afford. She also might find that the cost of the tattoos is the same as something else she might want more at the time. That's something else to have her weigh. It's good practice for any teen to have to think through the cost of her wants.

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answers from Williamsport on

I wouldn't worry about being a hypocrite. None of us want our kids to do things we regret. She can do it if she wants, but you are allowed to express an opinion from a place of knowledge. Why are you sorry you got one at 18? Are you sorry? Have you regretted getting it? If so, be honest. If not...then you probably shouldn't be worried :)

Use supportive reasoning like, "You are free to do as you wish, but you are such a beautiful person, there is no reason to hurry and get one by your 18th birthday. You have your whole life ahead of you to find meaningful art, research the best artists, etc...Make sure you're getting a work of art that's worth being on your skin forever, there are a LOT of bad tattoos out there..." You know. Probably anything you say will not work. But. Stay upbeat and kind. Maybe offer her a reward for waiting a certain amount of time :)

My kid's father is a metal musician covered from neck to feet in tattoos. I have none. So many times I almost got one..then waited...then decided not to...and now know I would have been tired of looking at all those ideas for tattoos by now so I'm glad. I'm a painter and an art fanatic, so no image was good enough to be permanent imo..but my ex's are all awesome by the world's best artists worldwide from his touring life. Some people love having them and never regret them. Having spent the last 20 years in LA and NY frequenting music clubs and art events, I'd say most of the adults my kids know have tattoos. And even out here in rural central PA there are tons and tons. It's not at all subversive anymore. I have to say, being ink-free is kind of novel now in some circles.

But the most effective thing to make her wait would be if you regret yours. Share your feelings, let her know she's precious and only has one skin in this life, let her know you support her freedom to do it, and then let it go. But PLEASE help her get a nice one. My brother raced out and got one at 18 on his was supposed to be a pretty blond torso only (?) and the way the artist did it, she looked like an amputee blow-up doll. He had to have it covered.

Also, don't worry about your son. He won't do it because his sister does it. He'll do it if he likes tattoos.

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answers from Kansas City on

You have a right to say, "You know what, I got one as soon as I turned 18 too, and I regretted it. I'd hate to see you do that. Take a couple years to think it over and be sure, why don't you?"

But beyond that, I don't see where you can say much else. It IS her body - and she will be 18. Be thankful it's this and not crazy partying or drug experimentation. Help her to make a wise decision (something meaningful rather than a butterfly tramp stamp, for instance). Be proud of the young woman she is becoming. If you can't then the answer is, say nothing. It's not your choice.

ETA - I see some references in these responses to what a "fad" it is. I don't know why but I somewhat take exception to that. Why is that a bad thing? It doesn't have to be. I have two, and both are very personal and meaningful to me. I will never regret symbols of my family. I would love to get one of a cross or something spiritual for me. And when I have this baby I will get one added for him/her as well. It's only "faddish" and dumb when it's trendy, meaningless stuff. To put down "the fad" of tattooing is generalizing. And just because one person regrets theirs doesn't mean it has to be that way.

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answers from Phoenix on

My cousin just took her son on his 18th bday and got him one. She has a full sleeve and supposedly promised him at age 10 that if he still wanted one when he was 18 she would get it for him. Well now he's the proud owner of a skull that covers his arm and looks like every skull out there. And he doesn't even drive. lol

My kids are 15 and 12 and have said for years they wanted a tattoo. Of course my kids saw my cousin post the tattoo pics on FB and said they wanted one too when they are 18. I said NO. If you are living in my house you will not be getting one. If you move out and have a job and can support yourself then you are free to do as you wish as long as you are not hurting anyone else or doing anything illegal.

I got my first and only tattoo at the age of 25. It's the size of an inch square. Every time my kids change their minds I say, well, last week you were into dragons so I'm glad you didn't want a dragon tattoo cuz look how quick you change your mind and you'd be stuck with it, wouldn't you? Maybe point some things out like that and she'll see that's a good point. Good luck.

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answers from Sheboygan on

Do you regret yours? just be honest in your opinion and tell her why you think she should not get one at this point in time. If she still chooses to get one a least you tried. But yes-I agree you can't just tell her not to get one if you have tattoos.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Encourage her to get one easily covered by clothing. There are many employers who require tattoos to be covered at work. We bave a young man working in our school this year who has a sleeve tattoo from wrist to elbow. Last week with a heat index of 90+ and an unairconditioned building he had to be in long sleeves. Nothing wrong with tattoos, but I think sometimes young adults don't think forward about where and what their tattoos are.

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answers from Austin on

Could you offer to pay for one as an 18th birthday gift, as long as she agrees to a couple of things? The tattoo must be done at a place you approve of (one you've researched and confirmed is sanitary and properly licensed), the tattoo must be something you approve of (a small bird, a special word, not some kind of zombie skull with bleeding eyes and skin that's falling off that will look pretty awful if she were to become a nurse or teacher or get certain jobs where there are restrictions on clothing and appearance, or if she wants to go into the military, etc), and the location of the tattoo must be approved by you (inner wrist, back of shoulder, inner ankle, etc).

It's very possible she'll love it and want to get more, and it's equally possible that the pain of the tattoo process, the costs, and the after-tattoo care (I don't know all the details but I know you have to apply ointment or cream for a few days afterwards while the skin heals - again, not sure of the process but there are some things that must be done just like when you get your ears pierced) might just make her not want any more tattoos.

Don't over-preach, but just ask her to not get a tattoo that will limit her future employment opportunities. And remind her that hygiene and sanitary procedures are something not to mess around with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Work with her to find a very reputable place and amazing artist to get it done. It is permanent as you know. Visit several places and talk with people.

Start researching her options and artwork and designs. How much is it going to cost to get it done right? You don't want just any john doe with a tattoo machine to ink you forever with a crooked, or badly drawn, or poorly designed piece of "art".

You need to find the best most reputable and CLEANEST place to have it done.

I was researching ear piercing for my daughter she was 6 at the time. And was going to take her to a local piercing and tattoo shop. Why, because their rooms looked like surgical suites and the health department gave them highest scores. (We ended up doing it at the pediatricians and I still kinda regret it because one is crooked.)

I think in the process of researching the whole thing and having time to visit with her you guys can really talk about the whole thing. Why you regret your tattoo...if she should wait a bit longer to get hers...where is she going to get her's placed...will she still like it at 25, 30, 40, 50...can she afford to pay for quality work...

Neither my husband or I have a tattoo (he was military and has his all planned...then when he had the money could never find time to go get it done...or when he went with friends didn't have the it never happened. Now he is so thankful he didn't get it!!!)

We joke that now we are counter culture and "rebels" because we don't have ink. Because everyone we know has at least one...usually three or four.

I don't have one because as an artist myself, I could never put one design on my body forever.

Then again I have a friend who just got back from flying to Warsaw to catch up with a very famous tattoo artist to get his art done. This tattoo artist travels the world, people pay him large amount of money for his art. It is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen but the cost to fly and the tattoo must have been very expensive...but it is forever. visit places and talk, talk, talk...then if she does it, you both have you bases covered. Big hugs!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

The fact that you regret yours doesn't mean that she will regret hers if she gets one.
I have one (along with a body piercing) that I got in my forties, my twenty-five year old daughter has two tats.
Neither of us regrets our body decor.

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answers from Lakeland on

If you regret getting your tattoo then let her know that, be honest about it.

I never got a tattoo because I could never think of anything that I would want to look at for the rest of my life. I have also had friends that after child birth and/or gaining weight the tattoos look terrible or they regretted getting them.

I do see a lot of young people with so many tattoos now and they complain that they cant get a job, employers still want employees that look respectable (not saying people that have tattoos are not respectable). I also know of young people wasting their money on them and bitching about being broke (in my own family).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Well you could make some rules about the tattos. First nothing crass , no curse words, no boyfriends names{ once you breakup its kind of awkward} you could make her research the long term effects on a persons body with tattos. What might be attractive when you 18..probably not so when your 60. Print out the negative effects of tattoos

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