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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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My husband and I have a 20 year old daughter who is good and

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My husband and I have a 20 year old daughter who is good and smart,etc. But she wants to get a large tattoo. My husband and I both think tattoos are ugly, degrading and way too permanent. She knows how we feel. We are trying to be open-minded about this. Why are so many people falling for this? Is there anything else we can say to her to help her reconsider?
Hello and thanks for using!

You've done what you can by simply explaining your point of view. Too much pressure may backfire, of course, since she may see it as an act of independence. Better to approach the situation with respect for her decision (after all, it his her body). You may want to frame it positively by telling her how much you love her and although you appreciate that she listens to your opinion, you know that ultimately the decision is hers and you'll support whatever decision she makes. You could then add that you only ask her to take some time to think it through before making such a permanent commitment -- e.g., Is this something you'll want at age 40? 65? How will this tattoo be perceived by others? (Friends, family, romantic interests, co-workers, employers) Ask her to consider how this affects the first impression she makes on those she meets (I'd avoid explaining what that might be -- What does she think?) How will it affect what you'll be able to wear -- now and in 25 years? These are important considerations.

The amount of "growing up" that goes on in our 20's is significant. You may want to share your own experiences for how you changed during that time period. She may meet someone, settle down, begin her career, and possibly even start a family. These are major changes that will significantly shape how she defines who she is and how she wants to portray herself to the world.

If she still feels this is something that is important to her, ask her to help you understand why that is. Perhaps there is more to it than you realize. While I'm not a tattoo fan myself, I do understand that for some it is an art form, a way of expressing themselves to the world, and/or a significant part of their identity. If there's more to it than simply looking "cool," it's worth discussing so that you have a better understanding of the idea.
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