My son wanted to get a tattoo for his seventeenth birthday. So as with everything that I do, I began asking or others' opinions. Not that I was going to follow their advice necessarily, I just like to get a lot of input about something before I make a decision. What if I make a decision, and then afterwards someone mentions something that is a very valid point that I had not thought of? So, I like to take all opinions into consideration. Here is what I discovered on this subject: People have VERY strong opinions when it comes to tattoos!!!
When my son told me that he wanted a tattoo for his birthday, I asked him what he wanted to get. I was expecting him to tell me that he didn't know but he was going to find something cool. I was very, very surprised by what he told me. He told me that he wanted to get his last name on his back, and that it was very meaningful for him. He went on to explain that because he is the last person to carry on our family name that he is very proud of our family name. I gave birth to him when I was twenty six. His biological father and I broke up shortly after I found out I was pregnant, and I planned to raise him by myself. He has my maiden name as his last name. I married my husband when he was eight and my last name has now changed, but his last name is very special to him. He is very close to his grandfather and also his Uncle. He is very family oriented and feels privileged to pass this name on. If he had wanted some girl's name, tribal symbol (when we are Irish-German), or some other symbol, I would have said no. Instead I began collecting data, or others' opinions.
There were many people that I asked that had gotten tattoos themselves at 17 or 18. Several had said they regretted getting them, and wish they had not. It seemed to me that what they gotten was not meaningful for them, and in some cases had just been an act of rebellion. It seemed that some wanted a tat for the sake of getting a tat. Many had said that my son would most definitely get one at 18 since it was already stuck in his head, so why not wait a year? A couple people had vehemently wanted a tattoo at 17, but their parents had said no, and they got one when they were 18. They said they were mad and rebellious the whole year waiting until they turned 18. Many had said that if it was really important to him that it would still be in a year, so I should make him wait. That is true, but I am a parent that believes in choosing my battles, and I am very sentimental also. As far as regretting things that we do when we are young, I think that is a given. I have quite a few regrets. Usually because I was too scared to do something that I really wanted to do, and not the other way around. So taken into consideration that I liked his choice and reasoning, and that I didn't think it was something to argue about, I gave him the green light.
We then discussed where he would get it, and how he would get it. He had said all black, but I said he needed to get some color also. So, we made an appointment with a nice place with a very talented artist. We had seen quite a bit of his work and we were impressed. My son started posting pics on Facebook of the whole process. He would have myself or his friend take pictures and he kept everyone updated while it was taking place. It was definitely an interesting process to watch. As an artist myself, I was impressed by how precise and meticulous that the tattoo artist was. He had a sketch prepared when we arrived, but it was too large. So it was scanned and reduced and then traced onto my son's back.
It turned out wonderfully! I don't have any tattoos, but that was because whenever I would think of getting one, I could never decide on what I wanted. I decided that if I did not feel strongly enough about one thing, that that would be just getting a tattoo for the sake of getting a tattoo. I have some family members that did not agree with my decision and say that they are very disappointed. I am sure that many of you reading this think that I am a terrible parent. But I gathered my information and made an informed decision.
Throughout this past week while collecting my research I have been surprised at the STRONG opinions that I have heard. I was in Speech and Debate in high school and we always would be assigned to debate something that provoked an emotional response from people such as: abortion, death penalty, politics or public assistance. I think our teacher should have considered tattoos! It seems to provoke the same strong opinions as a life or death matter. Who knew?