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Help! I gave myself a tattoo

… and now I regret it! How do I tell my parents?

Try some probing questions first, suggests our elder. But don’t worry too much; we all do things we regret.

Dear EWC

A couple years ago, I decided it would be a grand idea to give myself a stick ‘n poke tattoo on my leg. Hindsight is 20/20; I’m stupid. I’ve been able to hide it, but I’ve tried so many ways to get it off and it will not budge. I want to know, should I tell my parents? I’m only 14, so I really think that it would make them not happy. If so, how? I really do regret it, but other than the nervousness of them finding out, it doesn’t affect my quality of life in the slightest. It’s only about an inch tall and wide.

Mama-Joan replies

We all do stupid things that we regret. One of the most important life lessons to learn is to address problems head-on and as quickly and forthrightly as possible. You’ve been stewing about your tattoo for a long time and keeping it a secret from your parents is exhausting. Think about how much emotional energy you would have saved if you’d told your parents about the tattoo two years ago and suffered the consequences at that time. Life would be better.
Here’s what I think you should do. Ask your parents “probing” questions, which is a way of having them remember what it is like to be your age. You might ask:

“Did you ever do anything when you were my age that you regretted… that embarrassed you?”
“Can you tell me about something you did that you thought was a good idea at the time and once you did it was sorry?”

These questions will open the topic for you to share information about your tattoo while also letting your parents know up-front that you regret the action and are sorry. You are absolutely right! In the scope of things, your tattoo is of little consequence… it is just a one-inch mar on an otherwise beautiful body.

Best of luck. Please write again anytime.

Letter #: 446889
Category: Family

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