This may or may not prove useful / interesting, and it may or may not be too much information to share on the Internet, but below is an exact word-for-word copy and pasted conversation I had with my dad a few years ago about my tattoos. Needless to say, this is the last time tattoos have ever been an issue between us, and I'm happy to say that both my dad and stepmom are cool as hell about my tattoos now (even after seeing me with my hands and fingers covered in tattoos for the first time when I went back to visit them a few months ago).
This whole ordeal started when I got a text message out-of-the-blue from my stepmom that said this:
"I thought I would pass on to you my critique of tattoo art. It is one dimensional art done by mediocre art class dropouts whose work, if not embedded in skin, would eventually be sold at a garage sale for a dollar to some lady in pink shorts."
Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated / upset, and ignored the message entirely and sent no response.
A week later, I got this message from my dad:
"Just read what Kel sent to you on the "tattoo" ... Unless its a picture of Libby [their dog], I agree"
After becoming even more upset, and after stewing over these messages for about a week, I finally responded to my dad, and the following conversation took place...
Me: "I want you to know that I'm pretty unimpressed with the messages you and Kelly sent me last week."
Dad: "We didn't think that you would jump for joy. Just an exercise of concern on that line of expression and the view of 56 (28x2) years of experience... Didn't expect you to necessarily agree, but wanted you to know we are concerned about you... Its of course your choice, but we are allowed to voice concern... I think we are anyway, love does that kind of thing..."
Me: "That's fine, but I want you to know how I feel about your approach. First of all, I don't appreciate the unprovoked, passive aggressive attack in the slightest. Secondly, I don't expect you to like tattoos or understand them but I do expect you to have some respect for me. If you take offence to a decision I've made, or something I've done, or an entire industry for that matter, I expect you to be adult about it and have a discussion as opposed to making misinformed, uneducated and insulting jabs about a topic you clearly no nothing about. That being said, you're entitled to your opinion and I respect that. I don't expect you to like it, but I do expect you to be a little more tactful and treat me like an adult if you have an issue. I love you guys and it really hurt me to be treated that way."
Dad: "Sorry Mike, you know we had no intention in hurting you and respect is certainly not an issue as we respect you implicitly. Yes, we know that Tat's are a form of expression. We just want to make sure that as you add them that it is something you really want as we know so many people who a few years later are sorry they didn't think the choice through a little further..."
Me: "I appreciate your concern, and I take no issue with you guys feeling that way. Like I said, the issue I had was with the way you guys chose to say it. The nature of our relationship seems to be that we don't speak very often (which is too bad, but for whatever reason that's how it's gone) so I cherish the times where we do talk so much. It hurt me that your comments came so out of the blue and seemed to take the place of us being able to catch up as people because everyone was so caught up in outward appearances. What I'm trying to say is that I love and miss you guys, and I was upset all week about the way that that situation went down."
Firstly, I consider myself very lucky that he was so open to my point-of-view and was willing to discuss it, but I firmly believe that open and honest communication is the key to remedying these particular kinds of situations.
Either way, good luck @keepcalm!