Design for life

It's difficult to find a teenage role model who isn't covered in tattoos, so at some stage most kids flirt with the idea of getting one. If you're lucky, they'll ask you first.

Dear Wendyl,

oy daughter is 16 and has asked me if she can get a tattoo. Two of her friends have them and she wants a little one on her right shoulder. Her father and her older brother both have tattoos, and I have nothing against them, but I wonder if she is too young to have something so permanent? What would you do?

Sylvia, by email

Dear Sylvia,

oost tattooists will want a parent’s signature if their client is under 18, although it’s legal from the age of 16 so you can’t stop her. But the fact she has asked you first gives you an opportunity to check that she is sure of the design.

Explain that she will still have that dragon on her shoulder when she is 70, and ask her about how she will feel having it in 10 years time when she starts work as a lawyer.

Also, visit the tattoo parlour with her and check out their hygiene standards and have a good look at the designs. And ask her not to rush into it – it’s amazing how many common teenage impulses get dropped if you just ask them to think about them for long enough.


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