Article: tattooing children/adolescents | General Discussion | Forum
January 7, 2011
I came across this article today:
It details a mother who tattoos her own 11 year old daughter with a very small tattoo and is later arrested for it as she states that she believed that minors could receive tattoos with a parents' permission. On the surface I was appalled. The mother did a small outline heart near the daughter's shoulder. I assume she talked with her daughter at length concerning the permanency and she even used a numbing agent to ensure that the child was not in pain. I know my mother got my ears pierced for the first time at age 5mos, and again at my request at age 12 years. By 12 I was fully aware of the consequences of my decision. Then again…I was a precocious teen. With so many teens with tattoos, I wondered what issue anyone could possibly take with a small, outline heart.
Then I began to think about teens with tattoos and some of their parents who allow them. I've worked mental health for very many years. I worked with children, teens and adults, as well as with families. I have seen many teens absolutely covered with tats, many of them done by their friends or in some illegitimate fashion. I worked with a 15 year old who had DGAF tattooed in very large letters down his forearm. I think back to the thinks that I thought I was cool at age 15, and picture myself covered with Anarchy symbols, depictions of Succubi and statements proclaiming that I, myself, was a Succubus. These are some of the things written all over my year book. I look back on them and laugh.
Adolescents are interesting characters because their brains are in the process of transforming from child to adult. They are literally rewiring, and many of their bizarre behaviors can be directly attributed to this process. Teenagers are notorious for having a very shaky understanding of cause and events. They are almost completely unable to think a situation through to the end. Later in life, when you hear them recall teenager exploits, you often hear them state "I dunno what I was thinking". With this is mind, it is essential that the parent allowing the minor to receive a tattoo actually be a responsible and clear headed adult, as the teenager likely will have difficulties making a proper decision as to whether getting a huge dick tattooed on his back is something his might regret or not…
In addition, I'm sure we all know, not all parents are the most quality of parents, and I have seen way too many children with swastikas or other hateful messages on their bodies at a time when that child is barely old enough to make a decision for themselves as to whether they believe that particular dogma, let alone want it permanently inked onto their bodies.
With all of this in mind, I'm torn. On the one hand, I feel that if a child wants a small, appropriate tattoo and his or her parent permits, what's the problem really? People are only upset because still, even with them becoming so popular, our society finds tattoos in generally to be distasteful, and they consider it to be corruption of a minor and bad parenting to allow them to receive one. On the other hand, I do realize that not all parents have their children's best interests in mind, and not all children/teens are able to understand the weight of the decision that they're making. I'm quite ambivalent on this topic.
What do you think?
I've said similar before, but i don't feel a child understands the consequences, although they might think they do.
Heck some days i wonder if i understand them fully, and i'm about as considered as you'll find! At 15 i too would have been covered in terrible work i'd regret.
A parent doing this? I'd suggest there is likely some issues there. I can see some reasons which aren't crazy, but i think there's always a better option.
January 7, 2011
When I was 15 I'd have made the same choice for my first tat as I did at 18 when I was I finally able to legally get it. I'd had it planned for years. But then again, I wasn't like my peers, and I do see some of the tats that kids have.
But what about piercings? Is it okay to take your kid in to get a nostril pierced, or belly button? Yeah, they come out, but I can tell you, if I took mine out it'd be a VERY long time before they closed up, and I'd have a couple of holes in my nose for a good long while.
I got my second set of ear piercings with my mom's blessing at age 12. She was not so keen on the tat I got at 18.
It's just an interesting argument. Many parents really just don't care, or they figure they have tats too so they'll go ahead and let their teens get them. I think this mom's choice to get a small outline heart in an inconspicuous place was probably the best choice that could be made given the circumstances. It's not as if she did a full sleeve. :p
September 9, 2012
I'm not a parent, but I see no fowl in allowing a child to express themselves as long as you make sure they know what's going on and potential effects. When I visited my "wife", her husband and the kids I watched as she allowed them to get their own hair cuts/styles/dye, clothes, makeup, etc. from the age of 5+. It didn't matter if we were makeup on the lil boy or I was doing henna on all of the kids who were at the right age. They are very happy and feel free to be themselves (where I was much the opposite to the point I have a hard time not trying to restrict who I am some days).
Yes kids don't really understand the impact of "the rest of your life" but doesn't mean they should be completely restricted from things. No don't allow them to get a full sleeve as a teen, but a small ink in a hideable location I don't see harm with.
To add to the 15 stories: At 15 I was more into piercings and I'm really just getting the ones I've always wanted then now. lol idk why I've waited so long to get more than the one I got at 18 but still lol
May 24, 2012
I'll chime in as the voice of Mother here: I have thought about this topic and I have decided I would NOT allow my children to get tattoos under the legal age of 18. For me it's about abiding by "man's law" here because it is my obligatory duty to keep my family safe. Making ANY decision to do anything in contrary to the laws of our country could potentially jeopardize the family as a whole, and therefore not worth the risk.
I would buy my children a large pack of permanent markers and help them draw on whatever heart or anarchy sign or flag they wanted. I would try my best to NOT edit the expression, but guide them on a smart path.
The whole topic of age adherence and modification is a slippery slope at best. Piercing babies and circumcision have been round table discussions, as Oakbear and I can attest to, for centuries. I'm at a loss when the child ASKS for the mod and it is opposed to by law. My heart wants to allow the 15 year old to get the tattoo, but my head tells me to stop. What about if the mod is truly done in a traditional ritual… like a ritual that can be documented back at least a few decades, and is done for spiritual reasons?
November 20, 2012
Like many other sensitive topics related to children, this too needs careful review. But in the end, what the law says is right. Sad story though.
January 16, 2013
I am 17 and I have had tattoos for almost a year now. Generalizing teens like that is not right. I don't have a dick in my back or DGAF on my forearm; I have my religion tattooed on me. I also have a rose for my mother. These remind me who I am every day, and I am proud to have these. Not all teens think stuff through though; you're right about that. Some teens think that whoever has the biggest and most visible tattoo is the coolest. That's how I see it. Also, saying that all parents aren't "great" parents is a good point, but because their children have tattoos or some other modification to their body doesn't exactly mean that they are bad parents. Their children probably went behind their back and save their lunch money to get tattoos. I know this because I did it, and my girlfriend also does it.
Thanks for your input, it's interesting to hear from some one in the age group (just!) we alluded to.
I fully accept there are exceptions, there always are are, and i hope you and your girlfriend are amongst that group.
I do still feel that most under 18's have little concept of the commitment tattoos can be, as they can have little idea of how their life will actually be. Which is great, experiencing it as new is a wonderful thing.
I'd have been gob-smacked at 17 to look at me 17 years later! And rightly so, i've learnt so much and changed in many ways i could never have anticipated. I have learnt that modification seems to be an enduring aspect of my life though, so am willing to risk future complications related to my modification. At 17, for me, i really wasn't. Maybe it'd have been nice if i had the confidence then, but i also feel sure i would have regrets.
I don't mean this as patronising at all, sorry if it sounds that way. I also don't dispute that you may well be that exception.
I suppose i generally suggest caution as you have many, many years to decide what is right, and when it involves something which can have such a permanent impact, it's time worth spending.
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013
Sorry for the spam. Don't mean to. I have done a lot of thinking about this. I can't really say this with out sounding like another teen who thinks that they know everything about anything. I can admit that I don't. I have accepted that modifying myself will lead to risking my future in many ways. I have committed to this.
Ah the teenage catch 22, i remember it well – If you say you are certain it's just because you don't know yet, if you're not certain it's because you don't know yet! It's nice to hear your commitment, and i wish you well on your journey.
January 16, 2013
May 24, 2012
The desire to do a ritual at this age is very strong and real. Boys becoming men and girls becoming women want and NEED a individual path for growth. Many cultures provide this opportunity, and others just don't. I feel sadness about this article, not because of the quality of the tattoos on the youthful arm, but because of the lesson which was not taught. Lessons of respect and growth and health and reverence for the art of modification just to name a few.
February 27, 2012
I read this article when Shannon posted it the other day. I feel really sad that the kid doesn't get the point of it all. Sommersett makes an excellent point. I get the need to express yourself at that age. I felt it, you probably did too. However, these tattoos are awful. Since the parents have tattoos, I would hope they would try to steer their child away from getting a full sleeve, knowing how that cuts off many opportunities in the future automatically.
Personally, I would not let my child get tattooed at such a young age that much. Maybe one small one I could let slide, but a whole sleeve and chest? He's still growing….
Unfortunately not all people with tattoos feel the same way as most members of the CoBM, but that's ok i suppose. Likewise not all under 18's will feel tattoos are spiritual, a commitment or even worth taking time to get good work. I suppose that's ok too, but it does feel sad as there is a responsibility on society to protect children.
Having said that, Sommersett really got me thinking. A high number of people with modifications are adolescent, and it makes perfect sense that they are searching for rights of passage, often more physical or visceral than Western society offers. Prohibition doesn't seem to work, so how can we provide this kind of ritual and modification without too much harm? I think predominantly it must be down to parents, but sadly this doesn't seem to often happen.
Sorry for the little rant, I really must be getting old!
January 16, 2013
Young people get tattoos and piercings because they think its cool. Most of the kids that go to my school get tattoos and just show them off to people. It's the competition for who can get the biggest and nicest tattoo. They get them on their chest and arms. Mostly where you can see them the best. They go around showing it off to teachers and admin. So yeah it's expressing yourself but its also a mistake because they don't know what it can bring. When they are getting it they are just thinking "I'm gonna be the coolest kid at school now." I have a couple, but I don't go around flashing every one. I love my tattoos because they make myself more appealing to me. Not other people. I just thought a point of view from a teen would help out a little
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