I’ve been thinking a lot lately about teenagers, my little girls, and the potential confluence of those two things. The idea of my babies one day growing-up and doing the crazy things I did–I can’t even type it without
throwing up shivering a little. How my mom survived, I will never understand. But, really, so many things have changed in the parenting world, including the approach to the dreaded question I know I’m going to hear: Mommy, I want a tattoo…(oh, who the hell am I kidding?! nothing has changed!)
What do you say to: Mommy, I want a tattoo…
I think this is like the 5-step method to sanity when parenting a child with alternative leanings (which I sincerely hope my kids will be, because a straight-laced stooge I do not hope to create).
- Don’t Panic. Just because your little baby-kins has asked for some ink, that doesn’t mean that they’re not still you’re baby. Take a few deep breaths and react calmly. The bigger reaction you have, the more they’ll dig their heels in.
- Act Open to Ideas. Even if you already know the answer is ‘no’, at least listen. This is your baby, but they are a person with opinions of their own that are valid. Lemme repeat that: their opinions are valid. Accept it on the outside, even if you have to fake, fake, fake it.
- Everything Needs to be Their Idea. I don’t know how my mom (who is a super-genius) worked it when I was a kid, but the most devious things she wanted me to do, she totally made me think I thought of it–then I did it. Mean momma! Ha!
- The Carrot Works FAR Better Than the Stick. Don’t want them to get the tattoo (or just want them to get one that isn’t a freaky statement of their current favorite song)? Find something they want more that you can give them. If that’s a new computer, buy it; if that’s a new coat of paint in their room, do it; if that’s more time with their friends, make it happen. Saying ‘let’s make a deal’ will get you a million miles further toward your goal than punishing the kiddo for their request.
- Monkey See Monkey Do. If mommy has a tattoo, you’re going to have a REALLY hard time convincing your mini-you that they don’t need one. Man, I’m going to be in trouble.
Hopefully, I won’t be facing this for a couple of years. Oh, I hope.