Kids and ink… what to do when they want a tattoo.
Chances are, if you have a lot of ink, one day your beautiful sweet mini me is going to want some ink as well. Now, it’s not necessarily a given that you do or do not want your kid owning some ink someday, but it’s best to impress upon them the permanence of owning body art and the right time to go down that road. Putting art on your body is some serious lifetime kinda stuff and needs to be treated as so. I know more people than I can count who have gone out and gotten the rebellious teenager tattoo and regretted it not too long thereafter.
First and foremost, it’s illegal in most states for minors to get tattoos. That means anyone under 18 is a no go. That’s not to say there aren’t a bunch of shady artists or wannabe tattoo artist out there who will tattoo anyone with a little bit of cash to throw their way. If a person is underaged, they can probably find someone to spit some ink if they are really set on it. And I’m sure that any parent with a kid knows that teenagers don’t always respond the best to a parent using the “it’s illegal” approach. Lots of things are illegal, and it’s pretty likely that if you are a chill parent you have let some stuff slide along the way. The best way to explain the illegal stand point and being a minor, is to drive home the fact that anyone who will tattoo someone underaged is not a legitimate professional in the field of body art.
Next, tattoos can be really expensive. If they truly want a piece of art that will exist on their skin forever and ever, it will cost some serious dough (on the up side of a couple thousand dollars for a decent sized piece). When they know that a tattoo will be something they have to really save up for, they are more likely to take the time to make sure it is worth it. Also, you can easily express how cheap tattoos are just not good quality. To get work from an experienced artist, you will have to pay. Never waist money on shotty sloppy work, and remember, cover up and tattoo removal are way more expensive than doing it right the first time.
Another thing is the value of life experience. Once they have lived a little bit they will have a much better sense of the reason for wanting to sear an image on their skin that will stay with them eternally. We all evolve and change over time and someone in their later 20’s and 30’s will have a much better sense of who they are and what are the truly important things they want to carry on their skin throughout a lifetime. Time is always a benefit and no one will ever go wrong with taking it slow and gaining perspective, at least where body art is concerned.
Finally, research. This is a key factor and I would advise everyone, young and old, to do their research. They should do research on EVERYTHING! Color, style, artist technique, placement, pain level, aftercare, longevity, expense, side effects, and artist connection. Doing this much research on a tattoo experience will take some time and will force the young one to really think out every aspect of the tattooing process.
Expect some resistance while going through this but understand that by going through these few important steps, everyone will win in the end. Share your own tattoo experiences with your kids and be honest about all the good and bad aspects of inking your skin. Bottom line is to just be real! Remember, you were in their shoes at some point and here you are today with the ink that you love.
“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being” -Albert Camus-