a teenager who is considering getting a tattoo

5 Tips for Talking Tattoos with Your Teen

"I want a tattoo" is a teenage statement that can strike terror in the hearts of even the most easygoing parents. Below are tips for turning this single sentence into a meaningful conversation that will determine if a tattoo is a meaningful decision or a permanent mistake for your teenager.

  1. Explain your concerns.

    Make sure to explain yourself calmly and logically. Remember that if you say no, your teenager may decide to get the tattoo anyways, possibly risking their own safety in the process.

  2. Understand that tattoo stigmas are evolving.

    Being tattooed today is very different than even ten years ago. Many people lead very successful professional lives with tattoos. If this concerns you, discuss the placement of the tattoo with your teenager, making sure it will be easily covered in a professional setting.

  3. Make sure your teen is committed.

    Suggest that your teenager print out or draw the tattoo they would want to get. Then place it somewhere they will have to look at it every single day for a year, such as a bathroom mirror or next to a closet or dresser. If your teen still wants it after that period, promise them your full support.

  4. Have your teen do the research.

    Make your teenager do the research and present it to you. Focus on the pain involved in getting tattooed, necessary cleaning of new tattoos, physical limitations following being tattooed, and the necessary steps in eventually removing tattoos. Have you teen locate the best tattoo artists in your area for the style of tattoo that they want to get. The amount of work necessary to get a quality piece of body art may deter your teenager if it is just a passing desire.

  5. Speak with potential tattoo artists together.

    Go to the shop and go over safety and hygiene standards, making sure they are up to par. Have your teenager sit down with the artist and explain exactly what it is that they want, and have the artist go over what to expect and care required for new tattoos.

Last Updated: June 27, 2014