A Parent's Guide to Your Children's Tattoos

Like any concerned parent's worst nightmare, my teenage son wanted to get a tattoo for his birthday. I thought he lost his mind and nearly got into a huge argument with him. Why couldn't he be just like all the other kids and ask for a video gaming console instead?

After a heated exchange of words, followed by a cool-down period with lots of contemplation, I slowly saw the error of my ways. All my son wanted was a tiny tattoo for a birthday present. It does not equal to the end of the world just yet.

In Canada, there is no age regulation for getting a tattoo, although most parlours require parental consent for anybody under the age of eighteen. I was thankful that my son respected me enough to ask for permission first. I'd much rather argue with him over getting a tattoo, rather than him going to an untrustworthy tattoo parlour behind my back. If my son wanted to get a tattoo, then it is my responsibility as a parent to fully support him however I can.

My first concern is the quality of the tattoo supplies. I have heard many horror stories about skin infection through unsterilized needles and equipment. To avoid this, I did hours of research online until I came up with a very reputable tattoo parlour with great reviews and references.

Another concern is the design and visibility of the tattoo. My son is still young and a bit naive, so he wanted the tattoo to be placed on a body part with as much exposure as possible. He did not take into consideration that very few employers would appreciate hiring somebody with a bright vibrant tattoo on the side of his neck. I definitely vetoed that suggestion, although I did recommend that he place it on the back of his shoulder - a common place for tattoos.

Since the tattoo gun came into origin during the late 1800s, getting body art has been made a much easier process. Previously, the traditional method was to literally hammer the ink into the human skin, which is not only painful but also prone to sloppiness and errors. The new tattoo machines can avoid these problems. There will still be some pain to getting a tattoo, but the amount is definitely more tolerable.

The tattoo machine operates with two needles. The first one involves tracing the outline of the tattoo. This is typically drawn in black or any other colour as the user desires. The second needle is used for the actual colouring process, as in filling out the colours within the outlines. The needles are designed so that the bottom base is wider.

It took a lot of effort and hard work to give my son the tattoo that he wanted, but I also learned a lot from the tattooing experience. And believe it or not, I believe getting the tattoo was a great bonding experience between parent and child. I would definitely feel prepared now if my daughter wants a tattoo as well...

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