How to Tell Your Parents You Got a Tattoo - 7 Tips When You're Already Inked

Written by: Pete

If you went and got inked as an underage person without telling your parents first, you have to prepare for some anger and disappointment. It’s time for damage control on how to tell your parents you got a tattoo and we’ve got the best tips on approaching this conversation. 

Related: Tattoo Regret - What You Can Do About It

7 Tips for Telling Your Parents You Got a Tattoo

We’ll be honest with you: this won’t be easy. We always say that if you want to be treated as an adult, some of the responsibility that comes with that is having adult discussions before you make a permanent decision such as a tattoo. In addition, shops that are willing to tattoo underage clients are not reputable spots! 

If you’re reading this because you’re considering getting a tattoo, you should definitely mention getting a tattoo before actually getting one! In fact, we put together an entire article about how to approach your parents with this conversation in an adult and serious manner.

But if it’s too late for all that, let’s dive into our best tips for how to tell your parents you got a tattoo.

Tip #1: Wait Until the Tattoo Heals Completely

While it may make you sick with dread as you wait a month or more for your tattoo to fully heal and you become extra cautious about keeping it hidden from your parents, that’s something you’ll need to live with for the time being. If you show your parents a tattoo that isn’t healed, is peeling, scabbing, or looks infected, you will only add to their worry and their concern. 

Ensure you are meticulous in your aftercare to show that you are responsible for the healing of your tattoo and show them once your tattoo is healed. But if you notice any signs of infection, scrap this plan and get their help right away or you risk further health issues.

Tip #2: Let Your Parents Know You are Aware of the Risks

Your parents have your health at the center of their concerns when it comes to tattoos. They want to know that you got your tattoo in a reputable destination that follows strict sanitation procedures, and that you were safe about your research into the shop licenses. 

You may have to convince your parents that these steps were taken prior to getting your tattoo, which is why it’s best to wait until your tattoo is healed before you share the news. You may even want to bring them to the tattoo shop so they can see where and who tattooed you.

Tip #3: Be Prepared to Work Towards Your Relationship

The fact of the matter is that you did something behind your parents’ back that doesn’t show maturity in your decision-making skills. This will likely have them worried about any future instances where you may show defiance or be dishonest about something.

You will have to regain your parents’ trust in you and confidence in your relationship. While this may be frustrating, it’s a consequence you need to accept for your decision and you should work towards ensuring your parents’ faith in you. 

Tip #4: Show Your Maturity

Now is not the time to be stubborn, defiant, argumentative, or say things like, “It’s my body, I can do what I want with it.” If you want your parents to take you seriously and to look at you as an adult who is making responsible decisions, you need to show maturity in your dialogue. 

Tip #5: Advocate For Your Decision in Your Discussion With Your Parents

Take time to understand your parents’ point of view while simultaneously advocating for yourself and your decision. Explain very clearly your reasoning behind getting the tattoo and your regret for not having discussed it with them beforehand. Anticipate and address any concerns they may have about what this tattoo means for future employment or whether it indicates further tattoos down the line. 

If you emphasize research you’ve done working up to getting this tattoo, the vision and meaning behind the tattoo, and the honest reasoning behind wanting a tattoo in the first place. Your parents want to be reassured about your decision and don’t want to think that this is a spur-of-the-moment choice that you will regret all your life.

Tip #6: Plan Your Meeting Perfectly

Since this news will likely aggravate your parents, it’s best to plan this new reveal around a time when they are not already stressed. Reconsider telling them after they’ve gotten home from a hard day at work, and instead select a time where everyone is comfortable and has the time to invest in the discussion with you.

Tip #7: Accept the Inevitable With Grace

The fact of the matter is that you defied your parents and did something sneaky behind their back. There is a big likelihood that this conversation with them won’t go over well. That may mean that you have to endure punishment such as lost privileges or other negative responses. 

If this happens, don’t react negatively or with attitude. Apologize for hurting your parents and admit where you were wrong. Your mature response may actually get you some sympathy in the situation. Part of adulthood is apologizing for your mistakes and accepting when you were wrong.

Our Final Thoughts

Every parent is different and only you know how your parents will react to the news of your fresh ink. Allow your parents time to overcome the initial shock of the tattoo and to process the permanence of your decision. Respect their decision and disappointment, and work towards rebuilding their trust in you and your relationship. And next time, simply discuss your interest in getting a tattoo with them, beforehand! You’ll save everyone a whole lot of stress.

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