Hi! I love tattoos and I have thoughts about them! Especially for parents who have kids that want tattoos when they really don’t want them to get one. If your kid REALLY wants a tattoo and you really DON’T want them to get one, it’s on you to become okay with it. None of the “typical” arguments work for people who like tattoos. I don’t think my skin is going to look great at 80 with or without tattoos…so pointing out how bad they’ll look saggy doesn’t faze me. So if you know your kid wants one and you really don’t, the best you can do is at least try to be supportive and help them make the best tattoo decision that they can. Because…at a certain age you have no control over whether they walk into a tattoo parlor and get inked, you might as well try to find ways to be kept in the loop and to do your best to help them make smart and safe decisions!
- PATIENCE IS KEY. When a kid turns 18 who has really been looking forward to getting inked, they just want to walk in and get flash off the wall. I know because that’s EXACTLY what I did. And this is fine for small/quick tattoos. But if they’re wanting something bigger or custom, encourage them to wait until they can afford a SKILLED tattoo artist. Tell them about Donnie and I who spent over $1500 each covering up bad tattoos that we got when we were too young and too poor to afford a good tattoo artist.
- If they can’t afford a good tattoo artist, encourage them to plan for the long game. Plan a tattoo with a good artist that they can spread out over time. Like something that would have a really cool black outline that they could get FIRST and then get the color/shading grayscale LATER. Or plan one in pieces that you can get a piece at a time that you can afford. (For reference, one of my favorite artists charges $180/hour. NOTE: THAT IS ONLY INKING TIME. The machine keeps time as she inks you, so you are not paying for planning/prep etc.)
- Encourage them to find local artists and follow them on instagram for awhile to get to know their work. Make sure they like most of what they do and get familiar with their skills.
- Once they find an artist they love, don’t let them be discouraged if they can’t get on their books for a few months. A good artist is popular and that is NOT A BAD THING. Patience is key to make sure you don’t regret your ink because of bad quality and that you don’t have to pay for cover-ups or touch-ups from a better artist later.
- Themed art is better if it’s GOOD (Bonus if it’s CUSTOM). Your instinct as a parent is to want your kid to avoid getting a Game of Thrones ink because they may not like GoT in 10 years. But here’s the thing, if they get a good piece of art it won’t matter if they’re not into it in 10 years. Especially if they find tattoo artists who love a certain theme. Did you know there’s a Harry Potter/Literary Tattoo Convention? That’s a great place to look for artists who like doing interesting and good themed art. My favorite is mashups. Harry Potter characters done in Anime style etc.
- Never say never for yourself. I know you may think you’ll never get a tattoo but I know several women who have changed their mind as they get older. I met one lady in her 60s at the tattoo parlor one time getting a paw print on her ankle for her dog and she didn’t even tell her husband she was doing it!
- If you’re really struggling with being “okay” with it…try to find the value in tattoos like you would good art. If you open up to tattoos as art, you may find you like some of what you see. There are some BEAUTIFUL tattoos out in the world. Keep your eyes open for ink you like out in public and maybe ask the person who their artist is. If you come home to your kid with names of local tattoo artists they’ll definitely keep you in the loop more so you can try to at least guide them to quality over urgency!