Toddlers and Tattoos: How to Have a Productive Conversation About Your Ink
While tattoo statistics vary, they agree on one thing: tattoos have left the realm of alternative fashion into a more accepted form of self-expression. Despite the prevalence of tattoos, in many circles they maintain their taboo status. Depending on which circles you frequent, your tattoos can still spark judgement and debate.
Parents with tattoos seem to be one of those groups that experience unfair judgement because of their body art. Older generations and more conservative neighborhoods tend to associate tattoos with rebelliousness, laziness, and irresponsibility, which are three traits that are frowned upon in the parenting world. While you see your tattoos as art, others view them as definitive evidence that you are unfit to parent.
Although these judgements are unfair, they will end up sparking conversations between you and your child. When strangers draw negative attention to your tattoos and your child notices, how should you address it?
Introduce your body art philosophies
Everyone has a different reason for getting their tattoos. Some people are more casual about their decision and enjoy getting new ink spontaneously. Others believe in waiting at least a year before taking the plunge. Whatever your views on tattoos, talk to your kids about why you chose to get your tattoos, any regrets you might have, and the stories behind them.
Being open about your reasons behind your tattoos not only helps your child to learn how to make decisions concerning their appearance, it opens up your lines of communication and helps them to learn more about you.
Use it as an opportunity to talk about judging people for their appearance
We are lucky enough to live in a world where the common agreement is that it’s wrong to make decisions about a person based on their looks. Although society has come a long way, individuals still tend to make vocal judgements about a person based on looks alone.
If your child hears negative comments about tattoos, use it as an opportunity to illustrate how judging a person before you get to know them can be hurtful. A conversation about your tattoos can lead to helpful discussion about how race, handicaps, and other physical appearances can garner hurtful, untrue comments. Discuss the negative assumptions people make because of your tattoo and other ways that people make assumptions based on how a person looks. In this way, your tattoo paves the way for your child to gain valuable lessons on how to treat others.
Discuss healthy choices behind body modification
No matter the reason for your tattoo, the time will come in your child’s life when they will want to make their own tattoo and piercing choices. When they do, you want to make sure that they make smart and hygienic decisions to avoid infection or getting a tattoo that they regret.
Talk to them about the importance of researching quality tattoo artists and piercers. Educate them on the importance of sterile tools, using high quality materials and jewelry, and how it might affect them in their day-to-day lives.
Tattoos provide opportunities for unique conversations with your children. Use your tattoos to open a genuine and productive dialogue and help them to get to know you a little better along the way.