How To Tell Your Parents You Have A Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 9, 2020
    Last Updated: November 10, 2020

Have you decided to get a tattoo without your parent’s knowledge or permission? Telling them after the fact may seem impossible; however, the saying “honesty is the best policy” rings true here.

While you may need to prepare for anger and disappointment, if you come prepared with the facts and keep your emotions in check, you may come out of the conversation mostly unscathed.

If you need some tips for approaching this conversation, keep reading. The information here may help you figure out how to tell your parents you got a tattoo.


Mention Getting a Tattoo before You Actually Get One

Even if you are still only thinking about getting a tattoo, mention it in passing. This provides a bit of preparation before you come home with your new ink.

Even if your parents brush it off, the idea is going to be planted. If you mention this tattoo regularly (but not too much), they will realize that you are not just joking about it. It can help to reduce some of the shocks of this when you actually move forward with your plan.

Wait Until the Tattoo Heals Completely

Do not tell your parents about the tattoo until it has healed completely. Be sure you are washing the area regularly using mild soap and water, and apply a healing ointment (usually, a quality tattoo shop will give this to you) to help with healthy skin repair.

When you care for your tattoo properly, it should heal after about two to three weeks. After the area is healed, tell your parents about the tattoo, and let them see it. Finding out that you took care of it and that there is no longer a risk of infection may reduce some of their objections to the tattoo.

Tell Them it is the Only Tattoo You Will Ever Get

Even in situations where you know this is a lie, tell them that you do not plan to get another one. Several years down the road, when you do get another tattoo, they will likely be more prepared and accepting of it. After all, they have already dealt with one, is another really that big of a deal?

Let Your Parents Know You Are Aware of the Risks

Make sure you let your parents know you are (and were) fully aware of the risks related to getting a tattoo. Be sure to explain the steps you took to ensure you were getting a tattoo under safe and sanitary conditions. Also, remind your parents that you are up to date on all immunizations and let them know you double-checked this before getting a tattoo.

Describe the Tattoo Studio You Visited

When speaking to your parents, describe the tattoo parlor you went to. Please make sure you tell them how clean the facility was and the precautions that the tattoo artist took. This should include things like washing their hands, wearing gloves, using sterile needles, and fresh ink. 

Make sure you let your parents know the tattoo artist was licensed, as well, and if you can, show them the artist’s qualifications.

Discuss the Choice You Made

When you are discussing this choice, make sure you do not take an argumentative or defiant tone. Typically, your parents are going to be ready to listen to what you have to say and your point of view if you engage them in conversation instead of yelling at them.

Try to explain your thought process when you got the tattoo. If the tattoo has special sentiment or meaning to you, make sure you relate this to your parents. Let them know that you did not get a tattoo because you were depressed, to get attention, or because of peer pressure.

Ultimately, what type of tattoo you get is your choice. However, it is smart for you to choose something your parents will not completely hate. It is much nicer when your parents cannot say anything bad about the tattoo you got, and tends to make this situation a bit easier on everyone.

Avoid Being Defiant

It would help if you avoided defiance at all costs. Avoid saying things like “It is my body,” “it’s none of your business,” etc. These statements show immaturity and a lack of respect for your parents. Regardless of how old you are, your parents will always care about you and the decisions you make.

Provide Reassurance That You Thought Carefully About Getting a Tattoo before Acting

Make sure your parents know that you thought about the tattoo carefully before you moved forward with it. If they make the argument that a tattoo could hinder your ability to get a certain job down the road, remind them tattoos are much more accepted today than ever before.

You can even refer to friends or family members or professionals they know who have tattoos and still have successful careers. Make sure you let your parents know you are happy with the tattoo and that you do not believe it will negatively impact your life in the future.

Accept What May Happen

Make sure you accept what may inevitably happen. If you defied what your parents wanted, it means that you broke their trust. It would help if you understood that it would take time to rebuild the trust, along with good behavior.

Accept the negative response they have to this action with grace. If you are apologetic and sincere, they will probably get over it much faster.

Helping Your Parents Accept Your New Tattoo

It is up to you to take steps to ensure that your parents accept your new tattoo. Keep the tips here in mind, and make sure you regularly mention how much you love it. If they know you are happy with the decision you made, it will be easier for them to accept, too. Knowing how to approach the subject with your parents can ease them into this new part of your life.