Body Expression

Many kids, especially once they enter the teen years, want to express themselves with tattoos, piercings, and hair dyes. Parents may be upset with their children’s ideas of expression, but it’s important to remember that kids aren’t necessarily trying to upset their parents. They may be fascinated by the look of certain celebrities and want to emulate them. Talking to your kids about their desired body expression can help you understand their motivations as well as help them make well-informed decisions.


  • If your teenager wants a tattoo, research the idea together. Many kids don’t realize how much tattoos cost, how much they can hurt, and that they are permanent.
  • Find out where your teenager wants to get a tattoo. Some body parts are more sensitive than others, including the top of the foot, the underside of the arm, and bony parts of the body, such as the ribs or spine.
  • Ask your teenager questions about the content of the tattoo. For example, some teenagers are quick to tattoo the name of a boyfriend or girlfriend. Since these tend not to be permanent relationships (even though the teenager is convinced that they are), point out that this would be an unfortunate choice in the event of a breakup.
  • Encourage your teenager to try temporary tattoos (such as a henna tattoo) before getting a permanent one.
  • Remind your child that tattoos are permanent. As people age, their skin sags. Even though teenagers will be horrified by this idea, it may help them be more strategic of where they place a tattoo so that the tattoo doesn’t start to change shape as they get older.
  • Some teenagers are quite thoughtful about their tattoo choices. They may choose small tattoos that aren’t highly visible, or designs that show their connection to a favorite grandparent or social concern they have. Talk about the meanings behind potential tattoos before passing judgment.
  • Learn the tattooing laws in your state. Some states allow children under the age of 18 to get tattoos with parental consent, while others prohibit all minors from being tattooed.


  • If your teenager wants to get a piercing, talk about it. Why does he want a piercing? Where does he want to get the piercing?
  • Help your teenager find a medically safe way to get a piercing. Is there a parlor in your community that does a lot of piercing? The safer ones will have medical liability forms to sign (and a parent will need to sign for anyone under the age of 18). The Association of Professional Piercers recognizes (APP) piercing parlors for being clean, safe, and professionally run; use the APP Web site to find a member near you.
  • Know which piercings are safer than others. For example, piercing on the upper ear (into cartilage) can take a lot longer to heal and may be more prone to infection than piercing near the ear lobe. Surface piercings, such as those on the back or wrist, are also more likely to have complications.
  • Make sure your teenager is responsible enough to do the daily care for a piercing. It can take a long time for a piercing to fully heal, and your child will need to clean the pierced area daily to keep it from becoming infected.
  • Enjoy the fun and whimsy of piercing. Some kids have interesting earrings, and others have a wonderful sense of humor about what their piercing stands for.

Hair Dyes

  • Some teenagers want to color their hair. Before they do, learn more about hair dyes. If you’ve never used a home hair-coloring kit, you might want to find someone who has, or go to a professional stylist. Hair coloring is tricky enough that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up with partially colored hair—or a color you didn’t expect or want.
  • Do a skin test behind your teenager’s ear to see how her scalp reacts to the coloring chemicals. Some kids are highly sensitive to chemicals and will feel an intense burning when the dye touches their skin.
  • You often can find temporary hair color that washes out after a first shampoo—or lasts for less than a week. See if your
  • teenager will try this first.
  • Teenagers are apt to be interested in hair dyes because it is a sign of their independence. Many kids also like to stand out at school. They might know people with green or purple hair, or blonds who now have jet-black hair.
  • Be open to your child’s interest, but also set limits. For example, if you’re not highly keen on the idea but don’t want to say no, consider requiring your teen to get his hair dyed by a professional stylist at his own expense.
  • Make sure your child knows that hair dyes don’t last forever. As new hair starts growing in (sometimes as early as six weeks later), they can develop a crown of their natural color with an obvious mark where their natural hair color meets the dyed hair.
  • Work to understand your child’s interest in hair dye—especially if you find it upsetting.


This is really good post. Tattoos …piercing….this has become a new way of expression. We should not be mad for all these. We should think wisely before getting anything.
Miami Ink Tattoos

I would also suggest that parents have their teen earn through some behaviors: good grades, school attendance, showing responsibility and accountability some way. It will give you time to watch their maturity and determination and them time to determine if it is just an attention seeking fad for them. Everyone wins!

i think that all teens should be able to express themselfs as much as they want i mean dont just ignore your parents but take their advice and listen to what they have to say and if you dont believe their warrning the thake the risk and when it turns out bad just look at it as a good lesson…..and btw i am a now 16 year old teenage girl who got her first tattoo when i was 15 and dies my hair not as much as i want and not the colors i want but i still get along with it….most of the time….but my mother will not allow me to pierce any thing but my ears…. which ia adown fall for me….but oh well

Ok, I am super conservative and I admit it. I do highlight my hair because I am graying, so I understand part of this. Dying, piercing and tatooing limit teens ability to find a job and I believe it is low class and for employers and an indication in many cases of mental illness and not living in reality. Girls should love the body that God gave them and I believe it is a desperate need for attention that draws girls to this sort of body changing. They are trying to fit in, but after a while, they are isolated because conservative parent are afraid of this type of behavior and self expression, and lack of self control in general. Instead of wanting to change the outside, take a look at what’s going on in the inside – your insecurities, and need to fit in and follow a small crowd. Then you will accept yourself.

I’m a 15 year old girl with red dyed hair and my septum, navel, tragus, inudstrial and nose pierced. I do not dye or get piercings to fit in! I do it to stand out. To be myself, to be unique, to be somebody else. Every parent should let their children express themselves. I just wish people wouldnt bring God into this. Sure, believe what you want, but dont limit your kids happiness because of your religion. Let your kids choose what they want to believe in! I was raised in a Christian family but I’m not Christian. I wont go into details but my mom gave me a choice in choosing my religion. Yes, your kids are your kids, but they are also individuals and they will grow up and move out and live how they want.


Getting a henna tattoo or an outline image of the tattoo you want is a great idea. You’re going to have it for a while so you’d better get used to it now while you still have a choice.

I’ve made a website for tattoo ideas to help girls find something awesome rather than picking a butterfly off the wall at a tattoo shop.

One of the tendencies of teenagers is to make choices based on what is popular at the time. Unfortunately, as we who are older can attest to in hindsight, some of those choice will not stand the test of time. I can think back on some of my fashion choices when I was younger, and am grateful that I did not choose to get a tattoo during those renegade times. Much of my fashion back then was chosen to shock, so I can only imagine what kind of feelings my 30 to 40 year old tattoo would elicit now, had I dared to get one. I talk about getting a first tattoo on my website:…

I’m 14 and I have two lip piercings, I’m getting my septum next week, and i really want my anti-eyebrow (but I’m waiting for that.) and I dye my hair a lot. I do it because I personally think it looks cool, and it makes me stand out.
Parents should let their kids dress how they want, dye their hair (as long as they know that if they screw it up, it’s on them) and get piercings (setting limits like only 2-4 visible face piercings is fine…) The age restrictions for tattoos are reasonable enough though.

Teenagers need to be able to be themselves so they can be more comfortable in their own skin. If being themselves is getting piercings, and dying their hair, then they should be able to do that.