How to Explain Tattoos to Your Parents

I don’t know whose quote this is, but it’s the advice I’d give you if you’re a kid like me whose parents won’t let you get a tattoo:

“It’s always easier to do it first and apologize after, rather than beg for approval and never get permission.”  

On top of that, it’s your body, and in 2021 we’re all about my body, my choice.

With that said, once you get that first tattoo, breaking the news to your parents is going to be tough. I spoke with 10 of my closest friends and have come up with a master plan just for you. 

Don’t show it to them! Your mom is going to beat your ass!!!

Just kidding. 

Step 1 is actually to make sure you show them once the tattoo is fully healed. No scabs, no blood, no nothing. A tip from my friend Di who made this mistake, “don’t do it, there’s no way they believe you that it looks different once it’s healed, and they’re 100% going to freak on you.” 

This is honestly a really good point, when you show them, make sure it’s the best it can be—chances are they won’t clown you as hard if it looks half decent.

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    Come Up With a Meaning

    Your parents do NOT want to hear that you got it, “for the vibes” or that you got it because you were drunk. If possible (if it’s not a YOLO tat on your ass or a lip tat that says, “for the bag”) then try to come up with a little meaning behind it. 

    Pretend like you watched a movie or read a book in English class and now have to write about how the “red ball plays a significant role in the symbolic nature of the text.” I know we’ve all been there, I know we’re all gods at bullshitting stuff, so maybe put this skill you’ve developed to good use and create a meaning for your tattoo. 

    Any meaning will do, but it’s helpful to connect it to family, friends, or experience. A great one is, “I got this to remember my first time in (insert one of your favorite places, it helps if your parents haven’t been).

    Own it!

    Don’t let your parents get to you. If they find out that you don’t like it or that maybe you have second thoughts about the design then they’re going to play the, “I was right all along” card and we don’t need that. 

    Unless the tattoo is stupid and you genuinely want it removed, convince yourself and them that you love it. It’s going to be on you for the rest of your life, you might as well take full ownership of it. If they see that you love it, maybe, just maybe, they’ll love it too. Give it time though.


    Get that tattoo nice and smooth and healthy looking. Moisturizing it will help your tattoo look its best for the big day. 

    This isn’t a sponsored message at all, but nevertheless what I’ve surveyed to be the best moisturizers are as follows:

    • Aquaphor

    Cheapest of the three and as people tend to say, “weirdly addicting”. If you’re looking for a     moisturizer to become addicted to and carry with you at all times then this is it hands down. 

    • Lubriderm

    This is a really good choice if you are like me and absolutely detest the slimy feeling of lotion. Lubriderm is smooth and totally slime-free (personally it’s the one I like the most).

    • Hustle Butter Deluxe

    From my friend who is covered head to toe with tattoos, this is the, “real deal”. It’s thick, creamy, and it smells quite nice. This is a perfect cream for the early stages of your tattoo. After washing your skin with antibacterial soap, dry it lightly and then apply this lotion. Doing this two to three times a day will make sure to heal your skin.

    Take a Deep Breath and Be Calm.

    Showing it to your parents, or even your grandparents if you are so blessed, will most likely be the most stressful reveal you will ever do. From all my friends that I surveyed, the one piece of advice I kept getting over and over was to be two things: calm and confident. If you have incredibly strict parents that would go as far as to kick you out of the house, it’s going to help to be a bit poised and try to maintain a sense of composure.

    A friend of mine, Alex, who was in a very similar situation, says that remaining calm and trying to show them that the decision was not rushed but instead made with a level head will surely win you a few points in the discussion.

    The Takeaway

    To sum it all up, on the day when your tattoo is nicely healed and well moisturized, look in the mirror and say to yourself, “my name is _____, I have this tattoo and I love it”. Then decide on a meaning, if you feel like this is good advice and is something your parents would like to hear– then make sure the meaning you come up with is a good one (if it’s funny, let us know, we love a good chuckle at BeSababa).  

    Take a deep breath, collect yourself and your thoughts, and get in there tiger! We believe in you!

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