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So, I know the PC answer here is that our children must wait until they are 18 like everyone else, BUT... I know of 2 instances where someone let their kid get tattooed before 18 and I sort of don't have a problem with it (for them).

Seems hypocritical since I made my son wait until his 18th birthday and threatened him that if he got a tattoo from anyone but my husband he would NEVER get tattooed at our shop and also filled his head with all types of cleanliness, health and safety issue horrors, all in an effort to keep him from going elsewhere or letting some sketchy sketcher fuck him up before he turned 18. In our case it worked. He waited and got a really nice tattoo for his birthday. But... SEVERAL of his friends have gotten tattooed before age 18 in street shops, just walkin in. WTF?

Anyhow, the first person I heard of was a guest tattooer at our friends' shop in Denver. His daughter had been begging for a tattoo since she was about 8 years old. He kept putting her off and making her wait, thinking she would grow out of it and change her mind. She didn't and by 12 years old was talking about it non-stop. So then he set up a series of goals and expectations for school work and chores and behavior, and told her if she did it all she could get a (tiny) tattoo. He figured she would never be able to comply with the entire list. She did everything he asked her to do. So, then he was kind of stuck and had to honor his word so he gave her a tiny dime sized star on her shoulder. (Her name is Estrella.) That parlayed into 3 more stars, one for each family member so she now has 4 little stars. I still think 12 is too young, but after hearing the entire explanation from this guy it somehow started to sound ok in this instance.

The second is an acquaintance of mine who's let her son who is 15 get a few tattoos. (I think he has 4 or 5 now.) He's grown up in a tattoo shop and will most likely tattoo for a living. I think he is already learning. And there are other circumstances that I won't mention here, but if you knew this family, Im telling you it just wouldn't seem that weird for mom to allow this. In my mind 15 is different than 12, but both are not 18 at the end of the day.

I think my final stand is that it's not ok for my family but I can see how it might be ok for others. Mind you these are parents (or friends of the parents) tattooing their own kids in their own shops. Im not in any way suggesting that one should ever tattoo a minor that you didn't personally know, even if the parents were there. I know my husband would never do it, under any circumstance.

So the question of this thread is... is it ever ok?

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All I know is if I had gotten every single tattoo I wanted when I was fifteen, I would have a shitload of garbage on me that I would probably be super bummed on. Right now I'm covering up pretty much a full sleeve of tattoos of stuff like Shaggy from Scooby Doo and bongs and shit that a guy got when he was 15. It's not the moral and societal issues that worry me, it's the subject matter that a 15 year old might think is bad-ass that might not seem so so badass to a more mature young adult/adult...

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Well, here in VA the age limit is 16 with parental consent. We have guide lines (no forearm, neck, company logos, band logos, sex, death, violence, names other than the clients or their decesed) posted. So, we do them. But I don't wholly agree with the law. I automatically upcharge as well as try to "counsel" the child and their parent/legal guardian. More times than most, the kid has no clue and their "parent" seems to only want to let them get their way. So again, upcharge. If the "client" really bothers me, or doesn't want to heed my warning of getting a tattoo and it's repercussions, I decline to tattoo them. There have been cases of me being told I don't know what I'm talking about, etc. This is coming from an artist with visible areas tattooed. On a few occasions, I've suggested the parent not only leave the premisis but also whip their kid's ass. I personally don't condone tattooing minors, but 80% of the time, the parents don't seem to care, so I don't either. Double edged blade.....

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Well, here in VA the age limit is 16 with parental consent. We have guide lines (no forearm, neck, company logos, band logos, sex, death, violence, names other than the clients or their decesed) posted. So, we do them. But I don't wholly agree with the law. I automatically upcharge as well as try to "counsel" the child and their parent/legal guardian. More times than most, the kid has no clue and their "parent" seems to only want to let them get their way. So again, upcharge. If the "client" really bothers me, or doesn't want to heed my warning of getting a tattoo and it's repercussions, I decline to tattoo them. There have been cases of me being told I don't know what I'm talking about, etc. This is coming from an artist with visible areas tattooed. On a few occasions, I've suggested the parent not only leave the premisis but also whip their kid's ass. I personally don't condone tattooing minors, but 80% of the time, the parents don't seem to care, so I don't either. Double edged blade.....

I find the different laws from state to state so fascinating so thank you so much for posting. I find it especially interesting that you, the artist, are supposed to make a judgment call on the subject matter and steer clear of certain themes. Have you noticed whether or not your younger clients follow after care instructions well? Just curious.

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California law - no tattooing under 18 period. However........ ok my kid is 16 and has grown up around it her whole life. due to the law I can't say if she's been tattooed or not. No way do I feel ok with a bunch of tattoos on her at this point. I also wouldn't want to use my influence to encourage more tattoos, thus pigeon holing her into the profession. As parents we have a lot of influence. My kid works at the shop and she would love to have a bunch of tattoos but come on, I want her to have options in life and as much as I want to validate myself by having her follow in my footsteps, I feel its best as a parent to restrict her tattoo desires. It is not part of our culture to have multiple tattoos as a minor. If we allow our kids to do as they please as minors, we impede their ability to develop as a part of our culture as a whole. Its easy to say fuck the mainstream, be cool get tattoos. I find that idea (as a heavily tattooed parent) to be selfish. When we pay hard earned money for our tattoos, we take them seriously. When they're free, or earned through chores they should do as part of family support, they become frivolous. Make them earn it,(from cash money made working) then they appreciate the tattoo on all levels. Thats how I see it. Others may see it another way and that's their choice. But is it ever ok? my answer is yes. This is good forum conversation by the way.

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My kids are only 4 and 1 and my crystal ball is broken, so I can't say what's going to happen when they get older, or how I'm going to feel about it. Scott made Henry his own machine, the only difference is that it has a ballpoint pen coming out of the needle area, it's even been hooked up to a power supply so that it vibrates when he "tattoos." Several parents in our babysitting co-op have made jokes about Henry stealing a real machine from Scott and tattooing the other kids when they're older. That thought has crossed my mind and it terrifies me, although I'm hoping both of our kids will have a little more common sense than that.

I do know that I've had a million really, really bad ideas in my life, but they've been tapering off as I age. I'm fortunate that I didn't get every bad idea I ever had permanently scratched into my skin. I would prefer that my kids wait until they're older to get tattooed, but I would certainly rather they get tattooed by their dad or one of our friends than tattoo themselves. So I guess the answer is that I WOULD let my kids get tattooed before 18, with my own restrictions, not unlike the ones wtjon06 posted.

Scott's niece came in for a tattoo on her 18th birthday. It was a pretty nice event, the whole family went out for a fancy dinner and then to the tattoo shop afterwards, a very ceremonious right of passage type thing. And it wasn't a tiny butterfly, it was a BIG piece in her hip, and it came out great. The words she wanted were a little hoaky, so he said, "Yeah, let's save that for your next tattoo." I hope she still likes it in 20 years, I bet she will. I can't imagine her getting too many more, I think it was just about growing up around Scott's and asking him questions about tattooing. Her other birthday present? A strand of pearls!

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From my own point of view, I think 18 is pretty important. It's not life or death. It's a tattoo. And I think that it's something that as a rite of passage, you CAN wait for. It's not going to make your arms and legs fall off if you can't get it until the day you turn 18. I get a little annoyed by some of the kids from the highschool that come over and assume they can get tattooed. When I was that young I was scared SHITLESS to walk in a tattoo shop, let alone just saunter up to the counter and say I want a Dora the Explorer tattoo.

I know a few people who've come around the shop who are 20 and covered head to toe. I can't quite pinpoint why that makes me so irritated but it does. Have some respect for what this is, it's a collection of pictures that you acquire over time. Not a race. And like Kevin said, when you indulge all those young ideas of what's cool and what you're willing to commit to, you end up with a body full of mistakes that you have to one day, swallow your pride, and say, "Yeah, I know, I fucked up."

Just have some patience!

HOWEVER... I have tattooed a kid at 17. I felt pretty sure that if I didn't do it and give him something cool, he'd end up letting one of his friends do it in their bedroom. Just sort of put between a rock and a hard place.

Good topic for discussion though.

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Not really. I end up explaining care instructions to the parent, who honestly in my mind don't care any ways. My mom made me wait until I turned 18 to get a tattoo. And on that day, she "let" me skip school in my senior year and took me to get it. I still find it fascinating that these parents allow their underdeveloped (physically and mentally) children to get a permanent body modification. And trust me, the tattoos turn out to be the "usual" walk in tattoos. Lower backs, ribs, etc.

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My nephew came over yesterday and had some tribal tattoos on his forearms (see picture below), nothing out of the ordinary for him. He's been raised around many "uncles" with tattoos from face to toes so he wants them and doesn't trip on them and gets temporary ones put on regularly.

So I ask him where he got the cool tribal forearm tattoos and he informs me at a birthday party last weekend. So asking away I learn they, the party giving family, had a "Tattoo Booth". Yes I learned you can rent "tattoo booths" that come with "tattooers" and airbrush flash and stencils, etc. Wow tattooing has really hit a new level of acceptance, etc, yadayada, blah. By speaking with Mason I learn one of the kids at the party who has a very religious more strict upbringing got the tattoos airbrushed all over his face and neck. Where as Mason kept it more level headed. Why is this? Sure the forearms are still visible if they were real but it wasn't the neck, face, hands, and/or other visible spots.

So would I let Mason and/or my own kid(s) if and/or when I have them get a tattoo(s) before eighteen? I guess I have to wait and see.....

Dari, Henry Jumping can practice on me when he is ready.

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I don't agree with it. Being where I am, we get requests for it a lot. We, at Lucky lady, won't do em. Just a shop policy. But, in the shop I worked in before, The owner was cool with it, and she'd do em. But I am strongly opposed to it, so I turned them down left and right. The ideas these kids want tattooed on them are often ridiculous and not well thought out. Now I'm not saying every tattoo needs to have a lot of thought in to it. I'm sure a lot of us, tattooers and collectors, are to the point that we get shit we think is cool. And those are my favorite tattoos to do. But I think a first tattoo needs a bit of thought. Either way... No tattoos for minors.

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Kids are stupid. Teenagers are even worse. Most adults are pretty fucking stupid too. Why give someone an extra shot at being an idiot? Let them make that choice on their own once they turn 18 and magically learn all of life's true meaning over night.

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The lady who tattooed my eyebrows on told me about how a woman came to her for advice/help. While her 12 year old daughter was visiting her clearly spectacular father, he tattooed "Daddy's Girl" across her hands.

My opinion is that he deserves the death penalty.

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I would not support this, but I would feel like a bigger hypocrite than I am if I didn't disclose that one of my all time favorite tattooing stories comes from Geogre Burchett, and it involves tattooing a baby's hand. And that I'm getting a tattoo based on that story.

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That kid looks like he belongs in a Russian Skinhead gang. I like his playing card tattoos. If I was thirteen my tattoos would have been Magic: The Gathering, The ENJOI logo, probably a bad Less Than Jake lyric.

LTJ would've been on my 13 year old tattoo list too. i still have my losing streak signed poster up in my room at my mom's house (and saw them twice last month at riot fest since i could with my 5 day pass).

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I think it definitely depends on the under 18 year old. Who they are and what they get.

Are the children more mature in lets say Kentucky than in California? Probably not. So it becomes more of a legal question than a moral issue.

I have 5 children. Three of whom were tattooed before they reached 18 years old.

So yes I would.

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i guess my lady has weighed in on this but i got tattooed at fourteen by aaron cain in his bedroom sitting on a couch hung over as hell and my life rules.... fuck with out that pivotal moment who knows what my life would be like..as for my mom she tried to stab me with a pair of scissors she was holding at the time. so she was not happy. as for my kids if they were close to 18 and relatively sane and wanted something timeless i would do it. i would not let them get a pig head with a rose in its mouth and sunglasses on like i did..haha. i think this is my life and families way of being, financially and spiritually. i mean thats what i do and who i am, they are a part of the pack. if they want it i would do it for sure.

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My mouth is hanging wide open in shock. The whole arm is too outrageous! Also, did Dad think if he tattoos some straight edge praying hands on his 13 year old that's gonna keep him off drugs? Wack-a-doodle!

that's the part i feel the worst about! people should become edge (or break it) because of their decision to be a part of it, not because it's been ingrained into their minds that they HAVE to be a certain way.

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