How I Really Feel About My Teen Son Wanting a Tattoo

Something funny happened to me this morning. I woke up early, around 5 A.M. because the baby couldn’t sleep. When I looked at my phone to check the time, I noticed I had a text from Elijah.

“Can I get a tattoo?” his text message read.

My first feeling was shock. “Um, what?! A tattoo?!!” Then I remembered Elijah just turned 18 about a month ago so he is old enough to get a tattoo if he wants. Wow.


Yes, I am a mom with tattoos.

Ironically, I love tattoos. I have three tattoo pieces: two on my shoulders and one on my lower back. I also have plans to get a few more tattoos when Zephaniah is no longer breastfeeding. Yet, Elijah asking me if he can get a tattoo just kind of took me by surprise.

I started picturing in my mind what Elijah would look with ink on his arm or shoulder, and surprisingly, I didn’t really like the idea of my son getting a tattoo. All I could see was my little boy – not a man – with tattoos.

In my mind, I still see Elijah as my little boy, but I know in his mind, he sees himself as a grownup now. This parenting thing can be hard sometimes, guys!


So what was my response to Elijah’s question?

I told him he’s 18-years-old and he doesn’t need my permission to get a tattoo. The decision is completely up to him. And I wasn’t saying that in a stern way. I was answering his question honestly.

When Elijah was in his early teen years, we had a conversation about him getting a tattoo when he’s older. I distinctly remember telling him when he’s 18-years-old he can get a tattoo and I will go with him and pay for it. I said we could get tattoos together. Yep, I sure did.

It never occurred to me that the day of his turning 18 would happen so soon. So of course, I found myself thinking, “Ugh! Why did I say that?” LOL!

Sometimes you feel like your kids will be little forever, but that’s not true. Eventually, they grow up and the next thing you know you’re the parent of an adult. Time really does go by quickly. A text message asking me about getting a tattoo was a big reminder that my son is not a little boy anymore.

Elijah and I when he was about 8 or 9.


Having an Open Conversation About Tattoos

I’m not against Elijah getting a tattoo. Like I said, I love tattoos and I hope to get a few more when I am able. I think that tattoos are a work of art and can have great meaning to people.

Elijah was really excited when I told him he didn’t need my permission to get a tattoo. He said his plans are to save money for one. He even has a design picked out already.

So we talked some more about tattoos and I told him when getting a tattoo it’s important to research the design you want and choose something that is meaningful to you. Don’t just pick a random piece of art just because you think it’s cool to have a tattoo. Really put some thought into it and also research a tattoo artist whose style you feel fits you best.

You’re probably thinking: you thought all of this just from a text message about getting a tattoo? Yes, I most certainly did. That’s what moms do. Well, at least, that’s what I do as a mom. I tend to overthink things or fall into deep thought about life issues. Haha!

Elijah always makes me laugh!

I guess the moral of this story is be careful what you promise your kids when they turn eighteen, okay? It could come back to bite you in the butt. They don’t forget the things you promise them, and age eighteen will be here before you know it. So it looks like I will be honoring the promise I made to my son a few years ago. A few months from now, he’ll get his first tattoo and I’ll be paying for it.

Okay, but seriously, that’s not the moral of this story. I was only kidding. 🙂 The moral of the story is be supportive, truly listen, and be honest. Elijah asking me if he can get a tattoo also reminded me of the importance of being supportive of his decisions in life, even the ones that may catch me by surprise.

I know right now it’s just a tattoo, but soon Elijah will come to me for advice about a bigger life issue. Whether I agree with his decision or not, it’s important that I take the time to listen to him and truly hear what he needs from me. I will give him my honest thoughts and then (do my best) to not stand in the way of what he decides to do.


Good Life Detroit’s Weekly Blog Post Recap

Here are the stories that were featured on Good Life Detroit this week:

Thankful for a Beautiful Mother’s Day Weekend

5 Tips to Help High School Students Prepare for College

Teen Business Owner Creates MyMealTicket to Help People with Food Allergies

Craig T. Nelson Shares Set Secrets from Book Club and Incredibles 2

A Few Fun Things to Do with the Kids This Weekend


Thank you for reading and interacting with me. I hope you have a beautiful weekend!

Jennifer xoxo



All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra.

Feature image by Jennifer Hamra at the 2017 Black Tattoo Expo in Detroit, MI.


What are your thoughts?