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How I Discouraged My Teens from Getting Tattooed

How I Discouraged My Teens from Getting Tattooed

Tats for teens are hot, even if many moms think not at least not for their own kids. Just ask Circle of Moms member Diana, who says she finds tattoos "physically repulsive" and is very concerned that her teen daughter will take it upon herself to get one. Diana, like many Circle of Moms members, is wondering if moms can maintain any control over their kids and their bodies as they hit the age of tattoo temptation.*

Michella S. says she's allowed her teen daughter to get tattooed as long as she takes certain precautions. "I have told her that she needs to keep the tats where she can hide them, she never knows when she will be judged for a job."

At the other end of the spectrum, Sharon G. says tats are strictly forbidden to her kids. For her it's very simple: "I have a friend who just posted pictures of her 16-year-old getting a huge tat in her home. She is one of those who is all about 'it's their body, their choice.' But this is easy for me: until they move out of MY house, their body is mine. I dictate what they eat, drink, wear, etc. They have their choice and I have the veto vote. There will be NO tattoos. Not while they live under my roof."


As a mom of three, two of whom begged for tats when they were teens, my advice is to do everything possible to discourage your teen as soon as you see signs that he or she is thinking of inking.


Why? Because teens sometimes do impulsive, careless things that can have a lifetime of repercussions. It's the same thinking I apply to my "advice" about their Facebook pages. (Here's what I tell my kids: A photo of you drinking at a frat party is not a god idea. When you sit down at your first post-college job interview and discover that the HR person has already seen you chugging a beer, you'll understand why. Same goes with a profile picture of you as a large leprechaun, or so I advised my son, when he excitedly announced his plans for such.)

So what coolly persuasive tactics did I use to discourage my kids from getting tattoos?

I "rationally" explained the risks. When my son announced his idea of portraying his "Irishness" on his entire lower leg, as if the map of freckles across his face wasn't enough, I shrieked, "You'll poison yourself, get hepatitis, HIV and need a tetanus shot!"

When my daughter wanted a shamrock or some such thing on her wrist, I said (while shaking my head and cringing), "Blood. The needle will cut your wrist open."

I even trotted out some statistics I Googled about the extremely large percentage of people who decide to get their tattoo removed within 10 short years of getting it.

And finally, I played the money card: "You'll have to pay for it yourself."

Did these tactics work? Yes...and no. My daughter has a clean wrist. My son has a leprechaun tattoo on his leg.

He paid for it himself.

How would you prevent your teen from inking?

* Laws about whether a minor can get a tattoo without parental consent vary from state to state.

Image Source: El Paso Public Library Teen Hangout via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
KatieLarson85457 KatieLarson85457 5 years
I have 4 tattoos mtself, so my opinionmay be a little different from the rest of the moms on here. I personally love my tattoos, because they are beautiful. I have always loved tattoos and can't remeber a time when I didn't want one. With that being said, I knew I had to wait until the legal age (18) to get them. I never even dreamed of asking my parents to give their consent when I wasn't old enough. I am going to take that same approach with my children. If when they turn 18, that's what they choose to do then so be it. Mine are all places that can be covered so I will strongly suggest they do the same, but ultimately it's their decision. As long as they go somewhere clean, that's all that really matters.
LeanneGrigg LeanneGrigg 5 years
Um yes I will still want my tattoos when i am 70! that is the point! My daughter has 4 and they are lovely and meaningful and always will be.She is 17.I got my first tattoo at 40 and having just turned 43 now have 6.I love them and they are all very special and signify imporatant events and people in my life.Not everyone gets tats as a drunken whim and to be honest after all the hard stuff my family and my kids have had to go through over the years I don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of is too short not to live it as you want!!
SueSutherlin SueSutherlin 5 years
My oldest daughter wanted to tattoo a pot leaf on her body when she was 14. I told her when she was 18 and did not need my signature, she could get one. Her response? "When I'm 18, I won't want it." Duh!!!
FionaHawke FionaHawke 5 years
I have two tattoos and my 12 year old loves them. However, if he wants tattoos, he will have to wait until he's legally allowed to do so, which is age 18 in Australia, and I will gage his readiness. I was well into my adult years before finally getting a tattoo, and I would not want my child to get one simply because his mother has one. At any rate, so far he's said he will never get one because I has admitted it hurt both times!
LoriRobinsonPorcelli LoriRobinsonPorcelli 5 years
As an 18 year old girl, I went against my parents wishes and got a tattoo. It is in a place that noone can see and it is there for me. Now that I am 36 I think, "why did I do that?". I do not want my children to get them. I married a highly respected, high positioned business man who would love to have mine removed; but, he is just happy that noone can see it. He has most certainly admitted that when clients, job seekers, colleagues have noticable tats they are not as respected as someone with clean skin. Tattoes represent who you are not necessarily everyone around you or those for whom you wish to employ you. My only advise would be to ask yourself, "when you are 70 years old do you really want something on your skin that you can't wash off"? I guess all I have to look forward to is a scary future full of regretfull people- myself included. My beach time certainly will be limited too! I hope that kids now days make smarter decisions that thier parents. You can be cool without the ink.
JoAnneCuster JoAnneCuster 5 years
For all of you who argue that "its their body, let them decide", how many of you took that same stance when you circumcised your boys? Dont be a hypocrit. It may be "their body" but as parents we have the experience and I know plenty of people who got tattoos at 18 who 10 years later have hated them and had to have them changed or removed.
JasmineQuick JasmineQuick 5 years
I dont think theres anything wrong with tats my son is 11 and he has said he wants them i have told him that when he is 18 he can do what he likes and as he gets older if he still wants them i will have no problem with it and i will talk about it with him look at pics with him research tattoo parlors with him my son and i talk about everything i wouldnt be letting him just jump into it but with planing i think it would be ok you cant hide your kids from the world they need to learn how to make the right choices by making the wrong ones first just like we did :)
jaymierawlings jaymierawlings 5 years
i dont see tattoos as a prob i got my first one at 16 and i dont regret it i think if your gonna get one u really need to think about the design as it is for life and i like ones that have meaning all mine do, i dont like getting boyfriends names and stuff like that cause nothing lasts forever u just never know but tattoos do.
DanikaLemessurier DanikaLemessurier 5 years
adding to my comment, i am not against my kids having their bodies however they like i just feel as a teenager the choices you make are not exactly the ones your still proud of years later. i don't have any but have a few ready to be done, i wanted to wait until i had gotten married and had my kids. atleast my skin wont stretch more and i didn't regret anything on my wedding day. (too many of my friends got shit tatts as young teenagers and they are either trying to hide them now, tattooing over them or having them removed. another big problem with teenagers getting done is most of the time they go to the crappy places that don't care about their clients and they walk out with jailhouse style tattoos.
DanikaLemessurier DanikaLemessurier 5 years
i'm hoping to instill respect in my children the same as what my mum did for me. i wanted tattoos but knew i would regret it later. a good idea is get your kids (who are wanting tatts) to get the picture they want done and then copy it several times and place it all around the house. give them 3 months and most of them are sick of the design and realise that jumping into anything that lasts forever needs careful consideration. I figure i'll allow piercings (not lobe stretching) because they can always take it out later.
EmilyCampbellJones EmilyCampbellJones 5 years
I really have issues with people who make assumptions based on what they see of a person. I am a professional with a respectable career. I am a nurse and a midwife. I am also a mother to 4 children and I am covered in tats! I also have body piercings. My husband has tats and body piercings and he worked in a bank before he became a stay at home carer for our autistic son. Just as some people chose to spend money on what they wear, or how they do their hair make up, or even what car they drive, it's all about self expression. Every piece of art on my body has meaning to me. My Mom even decided that in her fifties she was going to bite the bullet and get inked despite the fact that my Dad didn't approve but she realised after many years that the only person who should make decisions about her body was her! Same goes for my kids, if, when they are old enough to choose whether or not it's something they want to do I'll be with them. I'm definitely not saying that I would allow a 13 year old to get ink but 17+, sure, as long as I felt they were mature enough. But that's where being a parent comes in, we should be assessing the needs and wants of our children based on maturity, not just age. I definitely will be thinking long and hard if my son with autism looks for one but it won't be out of the question if I'm convinced he knows the consequences of his actions. I always felt if you give a child overly strict rules they will just retaliate and go and make poorly made decisions based on defiance or spite.
JenniFilipe JenniFilipe 5 years
I have several tatts, but I was older when I got them. If my son wants one when he is a teen its his choice, however there will be rules, like, he pays for it (which will allow him to make sure of the pattern he chooses), it must be respectable, no names of girlfriends, and mom gets to choose the tattoo parlor (for safety) also either mom or dad must be present, also for safety, tatts are very personal, and teens do make good choices
ErinHersey ErinHersey 5 years
Growing up tats and piercings were a at 18 when I moved out I got my belly button done,a yr later my nose,shortly after that my tongue.and most recently I got my 1st tat and my nipples pierced.why? Because its my body,and my decision.i have an almost 3yr old and im a good mom,so just because I made these decisions doesnt make a mom on the pta any better than me.i also dont believe in god,but we allow our son to read and watch religious cartoons because we want him to grow up wiyh options,and if he grows up and wants to be a minister then we will support him 100%.....its all about loving ur child and letting them make decisions.
NicoleHester66025 NicoleHester66025 5 years
This is so silly to me. As a not only tattooed but pierced mom, it bugs me to no end why people are still so close minded about tattoos and piercings. If my daughter decides on day she wants a tattoo that means something to her, I'm all for it. Because it IS her body and it is HER choice. My mom was the anti-tattoo/anti-piercing mom too. I begged to get a tattoo from the time I was 11. Wanted my lip pierced before that. I got snakebites and a barcode on the back of my neck for my 18th birthday present to myself. It didn't do her a bit of good to discourage me. If your kid wants it done, let them, because they'll get it done eventually anyways.
SarahGill75131 SarahGill75131 5 years
Ps I have one. I am not anti tattoo. Just known few people with bad teen tattoo choices to live with!
CoMMember13613795819569 CoMMember13613795819569 5 years
I am a mother of two children And when they are older its up to them if they want a tattoo or not i myself have a half sleeve and also 11 others on my body
RosaLopez21322 RosaLopez21322 5 years
Excure me, teen? A 13 yr old is considered a "teen"; a 13 yr old cannot make an educated decision about "their body" yet. I'm sorry, I have nothing against tattoos but they are a very personal and serious decision, this is for life people. I have one, of my daughters name, I knew that was a decision I was not going to regret. No, my kid will wait until she can make a responsible decision. There are lots of temporary tats she can wear till then.
SarahGill75131 SarahGill75131 5 years
All I have to say is be careful! And a teenager my like scooby-doo or the play boy bunny, but at 25 realize that is not what they want! It's a life time thing not a spur of the peer pressure be cool thing. Who's to say if they hate it laser removal will work? Or they do react and have a bad reaction? If they still want it at 21.... Go for it! If after 2 yrs it's lost it's luster then good thing u put ur foot down and said No. Parents should protect their kids from all bad choices, even if for just a few years.
TeriaAnderson TeriaAnderson 5 years
When my son hits 18 he can do as he wants. He will no longer be a child, he will be an adult and he will need to learn things on his own. His father and I both have tattoos...but neither one of us got one until we were 21. I think I was about 22 when I got my first one. If he chooses something that is disrespectful I will simply explain why it isn't a good idea but I wont tell him he can't do it. All my tattoos have meaning and are in places that I can easily hide if needed to be, my husbands are the same way.
ShawnaNunn ShawnaNunn 5 years
I have tattoos and was allowed by my parents to get them when I was a teen. I have 3 kids and I know that the will most likely want tattoos as teens. I will allow them to get them but they are told about the placement so that it will not be visible for job interviews but if they choose to have it visible I hope close minded people will not judge since it is for God to to do so not us. I don't think telling my kids how to eat walk or do anything will stop them if their mind is set to do so plus I had children not inmates.
LeahWhitaker47537 LeahWhitaker47537 5 years
Growing up I was told that Tattoos were bad and you would never get a good job if you had on people could see. My Father was completely against them. When I hit 17 and became tempted to get one when I turned 18, my Dad repected my desision to look around and do my homework on where the best place to go. At one point he even said he would help me pay for it. But I felt that if I wanted it I needed to pay for it. So I waited until payday and got the one I wanted. He thought it was big but if I liked it, and it wasn't a bad one and not everyone could see it, he was ok with it...and 11 years later I still like it. Oh and just because you don't like them now doesn't mean 10 years down the road when your kids are old enough to make their own decsions doesn't mean you won't feel different then. Its not your body and you don't have to live with it so keep an open mind, just cause I have a tattoo doesn't make me a bad person.
CoMMember13630494243593 CoMMember13630494243593 5 years
I don't or would not have a problem with my daughter when she becomes a teen who wants a tat as long as its within reason and not distasteful, I have tattoos and my parents were against it but its a matter of taste and expression
SyedaFauzi SyedaFauzi 5 years
Tattoo is not allowed in Islam. And the religion obligation make it easier to tell them why they should not get tats. And yes, if it's religion ONLY, it will never easy. We have to support it with facts about how harmful tattooing could be for the skin, the blood etc. And we have to start from when they are still kids so that when they grow up, they will just not have any intention to do it.
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