What Do You Think About Body Piercings or Tattoos on Kids and Teens? My Thoughts…

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My nine-year-old daughter had an all day play date Monday. The kids had a great time. As we were packing up to leave after dinner, I noticed something shiny on my daughter’s lip. My eyes quickly flickered to her friend, who also had something glistening on her lower lip. My eyeballs quadrupled in size–OMG! They both look like they have lip piercings! They have silver hoops in their lips.

I stayed calm on the outside, but on the inside, I kind of freaked out…My mind flashed forward and I envisioned my baby with a billion tattoos and multiple piercings everywhere. Is my rule-following-angel going to turn out to be a complete rebel?

Now, I don’t care if someone of a certain age chooses to have body piercings or tattoos; it’s not my business, but not my nine-year-old daughter! Come to think of it, not my 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18-year-old daughter either! I have never thought of myself as conservative, but I hope they never get a tattoo! I mean maybe a little one when they are like forty years old if they really feel the need or how about a temporary Henna tattoo?

When it comes to tattoos; it’s pretty clear-cut for me. Kids and teens should wait to make that choice until they are older (much older), responsible, and mature enough to make and live with that decision. A tattoo is permanent so they better be certain that when they have “Billy Bob’s” name tattooed on their arm that Billy is forever! Chances are at the ages of 18, 19, 20, or older, “Billy Bob” is probably just a passing phase. And the big butterfly, eagle, or dragon they loved when they were 21…they may hate when they are 41 (or maybe they won’t), and the multiple tattoos everywhere—why not just design a super cool shirt or pants with the same design? I’m not judging and I believe in creative expression, but I’m just saying that forever is a really long time!

Piercings are a little more complex for me. I let my seven-year-old get her ears pierced, so I sort of feel like a hypocrite when I say she can’t have any other piercings while living under our roof. I only let her wear studs, and I know it’s not permanent, but what if it leads to more piercings…

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What if my daughter asks, “What’s the difference between getting my ears pierces vs. my nose, lip, belly button, or nipple pierced?” That line of questioning would make me cringe because I don’t have a good answer.

Because of my personal minimalistic fashion style, I would not choose to have anything but my ears pierced, but in the grand scheme of things, what is the difference between ear and lip piercings? How would I explain to my daughters that it’s different? Is it really different? Why? It’s not like I would love my daughters any less if they choose to get a nose piercing at 18, I just won’t like it. Or as one of my friends said last night, if it’s your own kids, some piercings kind of grow on you over time. Hmm.

At least piercings aren’t permanent…

I’ve met people who have loved and then hated their tattoos. I know people who have tried to “erase” their tattoos with laser treatments to no avail. I’ve also met many really fabulous people who have multiple piercings and/or tattoos and still love their body art many years later.

Having said all that–this is what I know for sure: My daughters will only be allowed to have their ears pierced. I don’t know exactly why I’m taking this stand with my girls, but it’s what my gut is telling me to do. That’s my personal choice. When my girls are eighteen, they may decide to make a different choice. I will support whatever decisions they make at that time, even if I don’t like it because every person has a right to their freedom of choice. However, I will make sure they are educated first.

Please don’t hate me (or send me hate mail) for sharing how I feel.

I think of all of the issues (besides piercings and tattoos) that my little girls will have to deal with in the future and it scares me.

I would love your input! What do you think about kids and teens having tattoos and multiple piercings? While we are at it, what do you think about kids dyeing their hair blue, green, purple, etc.? Do you think it is harder to get jobs with piercings and visible tattoos? Do you think kids who start young with piercings and tattoos are more likely to get into trouble? Have tattoos and multiple piercings become the “norm”?

P.S. I asked my daughter’s friend what her parents would say if they saw her with a lip piercing and she said, “They would kill me twice!” I think my mom may have sent me to boarding school if I came home with multiple piercings or tattoos. :) Just kidding (kind of).

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Tattoo Trivia: According to Wikipedia, Kat Von D was 14 when she got her first tattoo. She quit school at the age of 16 to become a tattoo artist.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janell
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 12:15:05

    Although I am not one that is at all interested in anything permanent on my, or my kids’ bodies, I am all for all things temporary. Temporary tattoos are all the rage in my house and hair color is a fun way to express yourself, although it is against the dress code at my kids’ school. I have always wanted purple hair, and had it for a while during the college years when I could get away with it. But one also must consider that in the business world these things are not yet the accepted norm and if you want to work in that world one had better plan on conforming to that “normal” standard. Some day, if I somehow become wealthy or become the eccentric writer that I want to be I am sure that my hair will go purple again, but it is only temporary after all.

    Reply

  2. Myra Elwell
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 12:40:13

    It is my firm belief that it is up to the parent to decide about body piercings and tattoos for themselves or their kids. Certainly, no child should get a body piercing aside from the ears until they are old enough and responsible enough to understand what it means and how permanent it is.
    That being said: My daughter’s father was a biker. She was exposed to tattoos pretty much all of her life. Ironically, he was adamantly opposed to me getting any kind of tattoo but had no problems with the idea of body piercings. He has passed away and I am remarried now. My daughter turned 16 last year and began asking for a tattoo or piercing in her father’s memory. We had discussions about it for about 6 months, with her step father letting her know how permanent it would be and all that went into taking care of one. She still wanted it. I have a small tattoo on my shoulder in her dad’s memory, and it is tasteful and well hidden even with a bathing suit on.
    So, on *my* birthday, we went down to a very reputable shop and I let her see first hand what it was like. The guys who performed the piercings and tattoos gave her the pros and cons and then proceeded to tell her that with her looks, they would seriously recommend only sites and tattoos that would be easily concealed or enhance her features. She was quite stunned as this was the first time any male older than 18 and not her relative remarked on how striking her features were and how pretty her skin was. The shop manager suggested an eyebrow piercing or a lip piercing with just a stud to enhance her face. She chose the lip stud. I chose an eyebrow piercing. She very faithfully takes care of hers everyday, as do I mine. Most people do not immediately notice that either of us have a piercing. Just like they do not notice we both have pierced ears immediately. When they do notice, it’s “Wow, that is actually quite pretty. I always thought body piercings were loud and ugly, but those are actually dainty. Neat.”
    Of course, now she wants a tattoo. My answer was “Well, get a job. They are expensive.” And my plan is to get some Henna and do temporary ones for her to let her see what it will be like to have one and go out in the world. *SIGH*
    Now, for the downside: My husband, despite his willingness to discuss body piercings and tattoos had a rather adverse reaction to the fact that both myself and my daughter got a piercing. I *still* haven’t heard the end of it and we’ve had the piercings since December. It’s now June.
    So, I think that no matter what the discussions about the subject yield, the fact is that it may not be something a parent can handle, no matter what the age or maturity or responsibility level of the child. (I got my tattoo when I was 30. My mother did not see it until I was 32 and had an absolute hissy fit about it. I’m 42 now and my mom had a hissy fit about my piercing, too. )
    Some folks view tatts and piercings as art. In a lot of cases, they are right. Some of the work I have seen is breathtakingly beautiful. However, a Sunset at 21 turns into a Starfish at age 50. Ergo, I believe a great deal of thought should go into what a person is doing to thier body. Yep, it looks good on paper. But skin isn’t paper. It changes and stretches.
    Ultimately, once a child leaves the household and is an adult, there isn’t much you can do to forbid them from getting a tatt or a piercing. However, I do strongly urge parents that if thier kid brings the subject up, be willing to listen to them and to talk about what it means. Kids have this thing where if you absolutely forbid something and refuse to entertain discussions about the subject matter, the more they want to do or get that something.
    Parents are a child’s mentor and guide through this life. They will only stay on a good path if we teach them to. *SHRUG*
    ME

    Reply

    • Liz
      Jun 15, 2011 @ 17:02:38

      Hi Myra,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

      I totally agree with you that “Kids have this thing where if you absolutely forbid something and refuse to entertain discussions about the subject matter, the more they want to do or get that something.”

      Parenting can be complicated!!

      Reply

  3. Caity
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 02:53:06

    Hi…
    Im 15 and i am currently studying legal studies at school…. i am very thankful that i read this article because our project is on tattooing and body piercing and there is 3 of us in a group and one has to introduce the law and and the other 2 have to be for and against the current legislation. so during this time we are researching and taking into consideration all of the stakeholders that will be affected by this whether they are for or against the law. I personally believe that some teenagers even at the age of 18 arent responsible enough to make that sort of decision. I have boys at school and i know quite a few young people over the age of 18 that just go out and get a tattoo because its cool and everyone wants one but what i dont understand is that they are all immature and pathetic and school and arent even interested in an education but they have the right to be able to pierce and tattoo their bodies. They arent old enough to make that decision at 18 and i personally think there shouldnt even be such a thing. Our bodies will never look the same and people are not going to employ teenagers with tattoo’s and piercings all over them when they can employ a beautiful young lady/gentleman that has looked after their bodies and look much more appealing!! our whole group is against this law and the entire assignment because we do not want to agree with the law at all.
    Thanks for your opinion i do think the same myself and you couldnt be more correct!!!
    You sound like a great parent who is just trying to keep your children away from making mistakes they will regret later.
    I will definitely use your point of you in my assignment.

    Reply

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  5. korbe
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 00:50:37

    I am a 32-year-old with a 13-year-old son. I have never had any tattoos or piercings, and no one in my immediate family does, either. Several months ago, after my son turned 13, he asked for his first ever piercing – in his genitals. Of course, my reaction was an outright “no!”. He kept asking me and in the end we made a deal that if his grades continued to be of an excellent standard, I would let him get a genital piercing.
    A month ago we got his results back and of course they were excellent so I let him get an ampallang genital piercing. He’s had it for over four weeks and has already shown most of his friends. I would never have thought I would allow my 13-year-old to do this, but there you go. So long as he’s responsible with it and isn’t going to be stupid about it, I don’t see why he shouldn’t.

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  8. Megan
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 21:48:21

    Hi, just thought I’d reply to this, I understand everyone has there own opinions and I respect that very much, I remember when I was a teenager (around… 14? I’m now twenty six), I wanted a nose piercing, of course, my Mum, being my Mum said no, I think this is what caused me to be a rebel more then anything else, a year later I had a daughter, who is now eleven, although she is not interested in a belly button piercing, lip piercing or a nose piercing, if she asked I wouldn’t hesitate to take her to a place where she could get it done, so long as her gut told her it was what she really wanted to do…
    Hair, I feel the same way, I wanted to dye my hair red, also when I was 14, again, my Mum said no, and again this caused me to be more of a rebel then anything else, I ended up dying it anyway and piercing my nose my self, now, tattoo’s… That’s a different matter, as you said, they’re very permanent and what if she doesn’t want it in ten years and goes to drastic measures to cover it up or get rid of it? I have a small star on my back, but it is easy to cover up and easy to ignore unless you know it’s there, so, letting my eleven year old, let alone my six year old get a tattoo…. No. I have a feeling they wouldn’t want it soon any way, Ava (eleven) wants a heart on her wrist, I said she could get it done when she was fourteen if she still wanted it, I doubt she will but if she does, I will look further into it.
    You may be thinking, she’s crazy! But saying YES to your kids is a way to get closer to them and connect with them, I follow their interests, a tattoo I wouldn’t say yes to quickly but a piercing I know they’d be able to remove it at will and hair dye, well, although you can’t take it out straight away, it will come out and it is to some peoples taste.
    Personally, I believe people underestimate children, yes, they haven’t had quite as much life experience as adults but they do have feelings and opinions that I feel should be listened to and respected!
    Again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your opinions, these are just mine, I respect your opinions, because you are you and if everyone had the same opinion, what would the world be like?

    Reply

  9. tattoo parlors Charlotte NC
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 18:53:55

    Ear piercings are very common for girls of all ages. I think I got mine when I was 4. But on any other part o the body seems to give a different kind of message of the type of people they are. Tattoos are a definite no, no until the person is old enough to know what they are doing (imagine it when they are 70+ and wrinkly). Hair dying i do not support. I like naturally collared hair more. Besides, that is what wigs and hair extensions are for. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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