If you’re the parent of a teen or preteen, you likely already know about the many phases that kids go through on their journey toward discovering their personal sense of style. One minute your little princess is prancing around in a tiara, and the next, she’s experimenting with black eyeliner and wanting a tattoo. Experimenting these rapidly shifting phases can be scary as a parent, and you want to do your best to support your child’s self-expression without allowing him or her to make a regrettable change.

Acceptable Forms of Self-Expression

Different parents have different ideas about what is acceptable self-expression. If you’re a tattooed rocker yourself, you may be more comfortable with the idea of your young one wanting some body art than a straight-laced conservative type. However, even most parents who are supportive of tattoos believe that a young teenager isn’t ready to make such a permanent decision.

There will be many more phases of exploration still to come, and no good parent would allow their children to do things they might later regret. Some parents might be against any form of self-expression that makes their kids look different from the norm, but if you’re okay with an edgier look and just don’t want your child making any permanent adjustments, you might want to consider allowing things like semi-permanent purple hair color and temporary tattoos.

All The Fun, None of The Commitment

Temporary tattoos have come a long way since the tiny, faded pictures that used to come as prizes in cereal and snack boxes. Case in point, the website of Tattoo You “is re-inventing the temporary tattoo.” Now, you can find removables in every color and design imaginable, many of which are very intricate and realistic looking.

Various online stores offer a wide selection, allowing your child to choose designs that he or she feels match their desired look. Creating unique and stylish offerings, even some famous designers have jumped on the bandwagon.

Make a Convincing Case For Removable Ink

If your child’s desire for a permanent ink is strong, he or she may be less than enthused about going the temporary route. You can make a convincing argument by explaining that while tattoos can be a great method to make a personal statement, most people are happier with them when they wait until later in life. Also, explain the difficult, painful and extremely expensive process of getting an unwanted tattoo removed versus the easy and pain-free process of washing off a temporary version, which can be done with rubbing alcohol, soap and water.

If their complain is their desired design isn’t available, let them know they have some options to customize the perfect removable image. Not only will playing with temporary tattoos encourage your child’s creativity and self-expression, but it will allow him or her to have some time to think about whether a certain design would make a good real tattoo in the future.

If you play your cards right, your child will listen to your points and decide to be happy with a temporary tattoo. If not, you might have to deal with some anger at first, but in the long run, they will likely thank you for not allowing such a permanent decision to narrow down options for style in the future. Or if you can get them to wait a minute, the next day, as teens do, they may be on to something different.

Teresa Stewart, a free-lance writer with an artistic edge, appreciates a meaningful tattoo but subscribes to the theme that variety is the spice of life. What’s great for today might be not so great tomorrow. She writes for parents who feel their child’s still maturing mind may also want a change in the future.

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Supporting Your Teen’s Self-Expression
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