One of the more popular things to do these days is get a tattoo. Teens want tattoos, often from a young age. The question for parents is whether or not you should allow teen tattoos. Here is a look at the question:
First, consider the permanence. It is true that there are now laser procedures for removing tattoos, but they are not without risk or expense. The fact is, tattoos are considered permanent body decoration. Often as a teenager, kids will go through phases, and if you allow them to do something as permanent as get a tattoo during one of those phases, you are asking for trouble. The fact is, kids do what sounds cool in the moment. Saying no until they are 18 and can legally do it on their own is often the best choice, as it is a permanent thing, and most teens do not have the maturity of foresight to choose wisely.
Piercings are removable, tattoos are permanent.
Second, consider if they can stop at just one. Ask anyone who runs a tattoo parlor and they will tell you that their best customers are their existing customers. Most people who get tattoos get multiple. Do you want your child covered in ink? A small tasteful tattoo on the wrist may sound like not a big deal, until they get another and another. Talk to your child about why they want it, and what they plan to do after they get one.
Third, consider the safety. Tattoos are not risk free. In fact, many people have severe reactions to permanent dyes, and may get infections or irritation at the source of the tattoo. In addition, unsterile environments, used needles, not properly cleaned equipment, etc. can all increase the risk. Most tattoo parlors are not the billboard for clean environments, and your child could be putting their health at risk by getting a tattoo.
Lastly, consider the long term effects. It is often harder to get jobs, to be taken seriously, to look respectable, and more if you have tattoos. Some tattoos are not going to hurt your child’s chances at landing a good job, etc., but some are. There are certain social stigmas that come with tattoos, and what was cool when you were 18, may not be so cool when you are 45. The decision to get a tattoo is one that will affect your child for their entire life. So, if you do allow it, you need to make sure they choose a respected tattoo parlor with a record of sanitation and health. Help them choose a location for a tattoo that can easily be covered by clothing. Help them choose a tattoo that they will not outgrow. Names of boyfriends, etc. are always bad ideas. Things you are into as a fad, again a bad idea. Bands, etc. are also bad ideas. Your tastes change as you age, so be careful not to brand yourself with something you will hate later.