Skip to main content

How Can I Stop My Daughter from Getting a Tattoo?

Do you Support Your Child Getting a Tattoo

Kids, Tattoos and Piercings

My daughters want to get tattoos and piercings and I don't know what I should tell them. Any advice?

Everybody has different things that are acceptable for their family. If our daughters want their ears pierced, that is acceptable. However, tattoos are unacceptable until they are adults.

Your daughter needs to know what is acceptable in your family. This boundary establishes a threshold that once crossed has consequences. For our family, if they want to act like adults, then they must assume the responsibility of an adult. When I was a kid, my father told us, that if we chose to get a tattoo, that was letting him know that we were ready to be financially independent. I still don't have any tattoos;)

How old do you have to be to get a tattoo in California? I thought I better look this up to see if there are any laws against getting tattooed or pierced.

In California, it is against the law to get a tattoo if you are under the age of 18. The tattoo shop can be prosecuted for molestation of a minor if they tattoo a minor. However, a minor can be pierced with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. So, I think it's our job as parents to uphold the law and to not circumvent it for a child that wants a tattoo under the age of 18.

With kids, it's important to use our leverage over them with responsibility. And, as parents, we must be positive that we are prepared to follow through with the consequences we outline. Otherwise, children have the ability to step over boundaries like Superman bounds buildings. If a child over the age of 18 wants a tattoo, they are free to go to a parlor in California, present their ID and pick the design of their choice.

However, we as parents don't have to support this behavior. I'm not saying to stop loving your child if they do things like getting a tattoo, but I do believe in consequences.

Here are a few ideas for consequences until the tattoo or piercing is remedied.

  • No financial support for college.
  • Pull other financial support for cell phone, car or anything else you may be picking up the tab.
  • Can't live at home or access to things in the home.

These may seem harsh, but the boundary is clear and the consequences grave. If my 18 year old daughter came home with a tattoo from spring break. I'd say great. You are ready to take care of yourself. Now, if she realized she made a mistake, I would say. Fine. We all make mistakes. Get rid of the tattoo and I'll reinstate your privileges.

I think it's important to help our kids when they do make mistakes. In this case, I wouldn't pay to have a tattoo removed, but I might give them jobs around the house to earn the money. I wouldn't make the appointment to get the tattoo removed, but I'd go with them if they needed support. The important thing is to know that boundaries will be crossed. And not to be too upset or disappointed, but to enforce the consequence and then to provide the opportunity for them to correct the action.

Share your opinion on getting a tattoo

Liz on December 17, 2012:

I was 25 when I got my first tattoo...and for the entirety of my life my mother had put up with my otherwise crazy, all in the name of "it's not permanent." She was tight-lipped about it, sure, and I respect her position but reserve the right to politely disagree, but before then she refused to sign off on or pay for any extra piercing before my 18th birthday, let alone a tattoo. I can't understand why other parents don't do this as well. If you really don't support it, if you hate it but they've got their ickle hearts set on it--why waste time on the question at all? Refuse to sign off on the paper and refuse to fork over the money! Don't finance something you don't see as a worthy investment! Let them wait for the moment that they can get it and pay for it themselves! Either it was just a passing phase, and they'll be grateful later for the prevention, or they'll be grateful for teaching them independence.

Julia on February 09, 2012:

That's just wrong. Not allowed to live at home or access anything in the home? If I came home with a tattoo and my Mom said, "Great! Now you are financially independent, and you may not come in the house anymore!" I would be so heartbroken! That is just cruel. But the thing is, my mother would NOT say that. It is HER body. I say just discuss the place, size, and what it will be, and make sure she knows it's permanent, and painful, the health consequences and how to take care of it, and that if in 5 years she hates it, that's her own fault.

jj saucier on January 21, 2012:

I am 18 about to be 19 I have two Tattooes on on my right ARM it is a hand grenade with my friends dig tags around them he was killed by one last year in Iraq and I have my zodiac sign on my back I got 5 days after I turned 18 it wouldn't of mattered what my parents have said I was getting it I got these two tats

Juanita on January 15, 2012:

I am currently 19 years old. I got my first Tattoo when I was 12, as well as my belly piercing. I now I 12 tattoos, and I don't regret any of them. My first tattoo came about because I asked my mom if I could get it, and she told me to ask my dad, thinking he was going to say no, but he didn't. My mom trusts me to the highest extent. All of my tattoos symbolize something, or someone of importance to me. Three of them names of family members that were murdered, that I was really close with. Although my mom allowed me to get them, never has she funded any of them. They were all paid for with my own money, whether it came from my personal savings, or from my job. I always brought exceptional grades home and did what I had to do. I explained to my mom that tattoos were a way for me to express myself and she understood that. Its really about the mindset of the person, and their reasoning for wanting the tattoo. None of my tattoos are in places that will hinder me from receiving a good job, or anything of that nature. To each his own. You have to make mistakes, in order to get things right.

Ana on December 29, 2011:

Scroll to Continue

You people are too conservitive.!!! If a teenager wants a piercing, he/she will find a way to get it. But that brings consequences. It could get infected if not taken care of right. And theres alot of crooked pierciers who mess it up. Before you quickly shut them down, ask them how long it takes to heal, how to clean it, and all the cpros and cons. My mom asked me this and I researched my piercing day and night, guess whos getting their monroe in a couple months(;

Ol Timer on December 16, 2011:

I'm not a Mormon either and though I live in the states I think it's funny saying I'm not a racist but....!! Making blanket statements about a particular group of people IS being racist, albeit mild, it is still passing judgement regardless of whether it is constructive or destructive (ie. critical) it's still being judgemental and racist and in many ways no different to those people you claim to be judgemental and rude.

Mary W on December 16, 2011:

For the record Ben, I'm not a Mormon, in fact I don't even live in the US (I'm from Australia) and it's not just people in Utah that are judgemental and rude, these sorts of people are EVERYWHERE and I'm not saying it's right to judge someone for having tattoos or piercings, I'm just saying it happens.