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Posted: Sep 3 2008, 09:10 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 24-September 05
My 16-year-old wants a tattoo on her lower back. How can i persuade her not to get one?
The fact that she’s asking is a good sign. Don’t lose her by saying “Hell, no!” Use her question as an opportunity to show that you care. The key is to finesse the discussion so that it seems as if you’re allowing her to make the decision herself, while you bring her around to your perspective.
Start by empowering her. Tell her that you’re going to let her make her own decision and you’ll love her no matter what. Show you’re serious by asking why she wants a tattoo and the specific design she’s considering. Then lay out your case. Tell her to project ahead and ask if the short-term fun of having a tattoo is worth the long-term frustration of potentially not liking it. Also, point out that a 16-year-old’s body is still growing, so in 10 years, or even five, her tattoo may become quite deformed and, thus, more ugly than trendy. Finally, be up front about the fact that some people call lower-back tattoos “tramp stamps,” and that, while you know how secure she is, being a teenage girl is hard enough without having body art that may read as a sexual come-on. If that fails, pull rank and say that it’s illegal at her age in most states and you can’t condone breaking the law. Stress that you would find it deeply hurtful if she went against your wishes, but that you’ll reconsider the tattoo when she turns 18. By then, she’ll likely be into another fad.
Marvin Marshall, EdD is the author of Discipline Without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards and Fostering Social Responsibility .
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