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31285 Temecula Parkway Suite 170
Temecula CA 92592

My kid wants a tattoo

So your kid wants a tattoo, if you are ok with this you need to read this chapter, if you are NOT ok with this, you REALLY need to read this chapter. Minors need to be made aware of the facts. They need to know that they are just another hunk of meat to some people. Not everybody has his or her best interest at heart. They are especially vulnerable because they lack experience.

  1. Age laws. In most states it is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18. In California it is illegal to tattoo anyone under the age of 18. In some states it is ok with parental permission, usually if the child is I6 years old or older. You would need to be there in person and sign the release form to give permission in that case. Where you stand on the whole tattoo thing is your business, and permission is something you need to figure out privately, between you and your kid. A few things to think about before you give permission are;

1. Your child’s body has not reached physical maturity. She has not finished growing. In some instances the skin does not grow uniformly and a tattoo placed on the center of the ankle, for example, can travel over the years to a slightly different spot.

2. Your child is not an adult and mentally may not be capable of making a mature decision about the subject matter of their tattoo. This is permanence and consequences issue. Is this a sound decision‘? Why do they want the tattoo? What are the social ramifications of this decision?

b. Cleanliness of the operation. You need to ensure your child’s safety. If you live in a state that prohibits the tattooing of minors, you need to know that the people, who are tattooing minors are doing this illegally. If a tattoo shop is reputable, they will follow the laws of their state. Some shops will tattoo minors because they just don’t care. There is a shop in my town that has a reputation for tattooing minors. At one time they were members of the Better Business Bureau; I‘m not sure if they still are.

So you can’t count on the BBB to check out each business that is a member for their ethics in regards to age laws. You really need to do your homework. Some minors are pretty crafty and will present false documentation in order to be tattooed. They do not realize that they are committing the crime of fraud, and that they can be sued, along with their parents, by the tattoo shop. My favorite question that l get asked by minors is if they can bring a note from their parents or if their mom can call me to tell me that it’s all right for me to tattoo them. This is so funny, and the kids just don’t get why it makes me laugh every time. I had my ‘mom’ call and write notes for me when I was a kid. Who do they think they are kidding?

There are people who tattoo out of their houses or garages. They are already working against the law and don‘t care how old your kid is. These people are usually not the cleanest most sterile practitioners of the craft. Please read the section on ‘scratchers’.

Supporting your kid. I bet that some decisions that you made when you were young were not exactly the decisions that your parents would have made. You probably make decisions now that your parents don’t understand or agree with. Raising a child is all about preparing than to leave the nest, ultimately to be successful adults. I allow my daughter to make decisions that affect her life, because at 16 she is on the road to adulthood, and this is after all, her journey. Surprisingly, she makes very mature decisions. Or maybe not so surprising, as she has been raised to understand that her actions may have long term consequences, and these need to be taken into consideration when making decisions.

You can always celebrate tattooing as a coming of age ceremony. In our society there are few things that mark a person’s entry to adulthood. Jewish people celebrate Barmitsva and the age of accountability at 13 (much too young for a tattoo) and some of the social elite have a coming out party, where young ladies are introduced to society at their debutante ball. In primitive cultures around the world there is usually a ceremony where young men and women leave their tribes and go out into the world to survive some test of strength and endurance. Maybe we are lacking that in this day and age. Maybe people have a primal urge for this. Maybe a tattoo is a kind of test and mark of adulthood for some people. Who knows? Be assured that the moment they turn 18 they will do what they want to do. No amounts of threats can change their minds; they will just hide the tattoo form you. I hear it almost daily. “I have to hide this from my Dad.” If they are of legal age and want a tattoo I have to comply, once again because I am not their conscience. You can make it a positive experience, or you can live in denial, the choice is yours.