1. I become physically ill at the sight of my daughters tattoos. It’s like when she was a kid and would get hurt. I feel nauseated and try to stifle the vomit that tries to come up. I never could watch her get vaccines. Even when I thought I was okay—I wasn’t. I would throw up hours later. I don’t have this problem with other people’s’ tats. Have you heard of this before? I have never told anyone.

  2. Bev Neiswanger says:

    Hi Cheri! Thank you for sharing your heart about your daughter’s tattoos.
    Found out my daughter had one below her waistband area when she was in an accident and totaled my car. She had her radio on so loud she didn’t hear the ambulance coming and hit a car and that car hit a car. When we got the call I flew to the gas station and my daughter was leaning over to get out of my crumpled car when I saw this cute little flower trellis tattoo. Forgetting to ask if she was alright after the accident I zeroed in on her trellis. Asking her ‘please tell me that is temporary’ (It was not) ..Yep, not a word asking her if she was alright.
    (She was not hurt at all!) Maybe this was God’s plan for me not to be upset about my totaled car.
    Fast forward a couple of years and she shows me where she had her boyfriend’s name tattooed above her heart now replaced by a big sparrow looking bird since she broke up with that boyfriend.. My response this time was ‘Thank God, it is a sparrow, since God keeps his eyes on the sparrows’. She hastened to tell me it was a robin but I told her it will always be a sparrow to me:)
    Fast forward (really!) a few more years and she asks me if she can put my face on the mermaid that she is having done on her arm. I asked her if she could wait until I’m dead (truly) so she went ahead with a different face complete with conch shells covering the breast area. How do I spell relief??!
    When she showed up to various church functions showing all her glorious tattoos, inside of me cringed. Asked God to keep showing me her heart, that I would not judge her from the outside in. Of course, God being God, he shows me areas that I have covered up inside that don’t show that must make Him cringe. I believe that my daughter has been able to reach women that would never be interested in what I have to say and tell them about God.
    Do I understand where you are coming from? YES!!
    Every time I see a new ink or hole on my daughter, I’m reminded to thank God for her and that His purposes for her life would be fulfilled.
    Cringing way less:) God bless your courageous heart in sharing. Bevy

  3. My 25 year old daughter has several small tattoos that you don’t see unless she wears a swimsuit but this past weekend she and her husband came back from a trip and when I drove to take my adorable granddaughter back to them I walked in their home and she had this HUGE tattoo on her arm of an Owl ….. for Gods sake who gets an Owl !! It looks like something you would pick out of a children’s coloring book Huge, bright and cartoony looking. Like so many of the mothers on this blog I am struggling on how to deal with this. My daughter was raised in a Christian home went to church and Sunday school and we discussed the many different obstacles in the world to drugs, teen pregnancy, tattoos all of that stuff and she knew my views and she would talk about her feelings on these items as well and I knew she liked tattoos and knew she would eventually get some. But I thought she would be smart enough to keep them tasteful …. but oh Lordy was I the naïve one !!My feelings are running from supreme anger, sadness, embarrassment, disbelief, disgust I can’t stand to look at it. This thing is permanent forever !! I asked her and her husband did ya’ll even discuss this …. this is a huge decision a forever decision …. in my opinion it continues to show how immature she still is. Ok so your going to get a tattoo but if your determined to get one then choose one that is more mature looking that has some kind of significance behind it not something that looks like what an 8 year old would pick. I wish I was the kind of person that could just be like you know ok whatever that’s just who she is be supportive and move on. But I’m not, it very much bothers me and when she comes to town I want her to cover it, she is coming to town tomorrow for pictures with my son who is going to be a Senior in high school and I do not want to see that tattoo in our pictures so I asked her out of respect for how I feel about the tattoo I have asked her to wear a pretty cardigan or kimono style cover up. Of course she got mad at me and said I just won’t come since I am such an embarrassment to you. Don’t get me wrong I very much love my daughter and do not want to damage our relationship but I cannot help how I feel it does embarrass me and I can’t just get over it just like that. I am working on it and seeking guidance on how to handle it. I will never accept the tattoo it is hideous and would like for her to keep it covered at all times when she is with me but I know that is unrealistic.

    And yes it bothers me what people think everyone is already approaching me about what was she thinking as my daughter posted this new tattoo all over social media and people at work the beauty shop people have already asked me about it. It’s awful everyone is talking about her and this is a small community I can’t describe what it’s like to know everyone in town is laughing and talking about your child. My daughter is funny, loving, a great mother and wife, quirky and definitely her own person all qualities to be admired but people do not bother to see that …. they are rolling their eyes, whispering, laughing and gossiping and the worst ones are family members. I don’t know what to say to people ….. right now I’m going with “well you know that’s just who she is”. So I am joining the “How to Love my Daughter when I Hate her Tattoos Club”.

    Any advise out there on how to respond to people when they ask about what my daughter was thinking?

  4. Cheri hartzog says:

    My 18 year old daughter just got a third big tattoo. It is just ugly. I’ve seen artwork and some tattoos are cool but I think she is in a hurry to express herself and she is a gorgeous 5’9″ blond with perfect skin and now she is doing this. I feel like crying and throwing up tonight. I want to be ok with it and support her but I just can’t. She hasn’t grown up yet and is making decisions that will affect her forever. I didn’t think I would feel this way.

    1. I feel the same way I want her to remove it in 2 months with laser and replace it with something smaller. She had two family friends die one 22 and the other 12 from AML leukemia she did it for her reasons but went soo big!! I hate it and I am not acting right I can’t except it!

  5. Sandy Tagaban says:

    I just happened upon this website. The tattoo issue is very interesting. As the mother of 5, 2 girls and 3 boys, I really encouraged them to think long and hard about the tattoo issue. It’s not something that can really be “undone.” As they got older, I saw that I was fighting a losing battle. They were going to get tattoos. The one and only trip that I took alone with our grown daughters resulted in me saying, “Guess what we are going to do today? and I’m buying” That’s right. I had made the appointment for the 3 of us to go together to get a tattoo. I knew the day was coming and I did not want them to think that it would change my relationship with them. I chose a tiny yellow rose that is up high on the back of my neck and it easily covered with my hair or shirt collar. The oldest daughter chose a pretty scroll type design to be put on the top of her foot. It only shows when she is barefoot or wearing flip flops. The youngest daughter chose a Japanese symbol for joy and it is on her shoulder. It doesn’t show. Did they stop there? The oldest daughter did. The foot tattoo is her only one. The youngest daughter is more impulsive and has, in my view, gone over board. She would have done this even if I had not participated in first tattoo event. 2 of the 3 boys have a tattoo. My husband has none. It is a bit shocking to see the “sleeve” that has now become my daughters arm, but really, her issues in life are so much bigger than the art project on her body that I don’t let it get me down. Thankfully, God’s arm is quite long and can reach her in her dark, hurting places and the tats will become part of her testimony one day. It’s all good.

  6. Just a thought – but tattoos are intimate and very public forms of self-expression. Blogging is too. Perhaps she is following in her mother’s footsteps?

  7. Dear Cheri, thank you for your website and discussion! I TOTALLY get you, because we are very similar! My beautiful daughter got her first “discreet” tattoo in college. I felt nauseated that she “ruined” her beautiful skin, then I realized I over-reacted. At least I “over reacted” inwardly and outwardly, I did fine. Make sure you can cover it up etc. Fast forward 11 years, she has her Masters degree, she has successfully worked in a very competitive business world. Now she is getting he PhD. I saw her last weekend and she has gotten a sleeve. (In between there has been additional tattoos). A family friend told me before I saw it and I am glad. It is beautiful artwork. My first initial reaction, just within myself. “She just ruined her career”. She has such beautiful skin, what “caused” her to do this. And the ever present. People will just see the tattoo and not the real her. NOW, just 5 days later, I realize she is a grown successful woman and knows how to wear long sleeves during working hours if she is around a conservative group. (No duh, right???). She is thrilled with this art and it has meaning to her. I know for a fact she thought about this for two years. I have spoken with numerous “under 40” crowd and they don’t see it as a “poor reflection” of anything, just self expression. Both my adult children have made me really search my heart and realize how small I make my world sometimes. We are all Christians in my family, and yeah, I guess I’m ready for our preacher to see it now! Lol! Hugs!

  8. Ok so I’m a Christian. Who has tattoos. Whose daughter has tattoos. I wish people would just accept that tattoos are self expression. Not signs that you are a drug user, convict, whatever other ideas you might have. I logged onto your website after reading a post of yours and I wanted to comment. But I think I’m just not going to bother. Close minded people are something I choose not to give my time to.

    1. Jen — I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective. The entire goal of blogging my Tattuesday series is to help me pry open my closed mind by receiving input and insights from others.

      1. Which is a good thing to do, Chris! Tattoos are no longer a dealbreaker for work, and most of us who wear them decide to cover them where appropriate – or have already decided we do not want conventional lives and/or jobs. I decided that at 18 – I have been working on animal care since about 23, with brief forays into other things, but nope I am an animal care worker forever and I love it! – so it was no big deal for me to get tattoos, although I was roughly 30 when I got my first. I had been thinking about it for a good 12 years, and finally just /did/ it. Now I have 21 small ones, 17 on my forearms, and 4 on my chest, all easily covered if I need to. Will I get more? Maybe, maybe not. I now have diabetes, which makes getting tattoos tricky if you aren’t careful because of healing time. I’m in the very early stages (A1C of 6.7 which is just high enough to give the diagnosis, but low enough that I do not need insulin and can comtrol with diet and exercise and a pill that helps my body continue to use and produce insulin itself. So if I were to do it, now would be the time.

        I got mine because I liked them. I don’t regret them and they’ve never stopped me getting a job.

  9. i had to laugh at your note about the yelling family and the quiet one. my family yells when they’re ticked off, with the exception of my mom, she just shuts down. my husband’s dad and stepmom are gentle and kind with all their words. my ex’s family has a variety. the worst, in my opinion, is the person who is fake. yell or be gentle, but mean it. i prefer my mom-in-law’s style, gentle but firm. love ce ce’s comment.

  10. I am always shocked by the lyrics in some of today’s songs. But I have always allowed my daughter to play her radio stations in the car so I can stay in touch with what she is listening to. Some of the songs are really good. My first reaction is to scream when I hear certain lyrics, but instead I say “please change the station” and she knows why-because I am offended. No screaming, no lectures, just taking a quiet but firm stand.

  11. Wow, just read your post about daughter’s with tattoo’s. My daughter moved up to Portland a little over 2 years ago to finish art school, at that time she had NO tattoo’s, she now has arms, legs and stomach all covered with tattoo’s. At first when she showed them to me, I asked her a lot of questions, being careful not to be judgmental. Kerry and I were in Europe and my Mom (her Grandma) died. We were a couple of days away from coming home. She said to me, I’ll be back in about an hour, you rest. She came back with a tribute tattoo to her Grandma. I almost cried and still do when I think about it. I know that no matter what the tattoos symbolize to her, she is still my daughter and I would be lost without her. I don’t have to like it, or appreciate it, but just to love and appreciate her for who she is.

    1. Nancy Campbell says:

      My Mother passed away in March, and last month my daughter had a huge peacock tattooed on the front of her thigh. I burst out in tears the moment I saw it. She explained that there was also a bible verse on there and it was a tribute to my mother. I can’t even look at it. I divert from looking at her once cute legs. My mom would have hated it too, but she probably would have accepted it and cried silently. My daughter will look the same way every time she wears shorts or a cute dress. Green stuff on her leg.

  12. When I have handled shocks emotionally it usually turns out badly, but when I learned to take a step back and pray first my life changed, and so did my relationship with my daughter. I was under the false impression that I had all the answers and did not need the Lord in shocking situations, that I had to handle everything myself.. Now I go to Him in prayer before speaking/taking action (or not). Not that I now do this perfectly all the time, but I am more mindful of who is really in control.

  13. I have handled shocks both well and poorly, and I have a tatoo (small) so I’ve been “that” daughter. I think the thing that’s helped me handle shocks better has been to ask myself if “freaking out” or letting them have it will help at all. Usually taking a minute to even ask that question is helpful and then the answer is pretty much always NO, freaking out will not help and in fact can seriously damage a relationship. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way.

  14. Oh boy do I know this situation. We have had… colorful daughters… who cost us a lot of money, time and stress. Yes, tattoos, and drugs, and guys, and a pregnancy. Yes. Shocks are par for the course with teens. Really, they are. Often times shocks are a teen’s main objective. How we react to those will make or break the deal though. There were times when we did amazingly well, but there were also times when we failed in such horrible ways, we almost lost the relationship. Be careful moms and dads. That line and black and white rules may be the death of your relationship with your child.

  15. I’ve done both – handled shocks well and poorly. The times I’ve handled it well, I’ve held my head high in public and then privately took my pain to the Lord, processing it all with Him, and then loving outwardly for as long as I could, then retreating privately back to the Lord’s loving arms. Eventually, the inside matched the outside.

    When I’ve handled shocks poorly, I’ve lost friends. I’ve yelled, screamed, called names and pointed out other’s wrongs, while committing many of my own!

    While it’s important to deal with shock and pain immediately, it’s important to remember where our help truly comes from. It comes from the Lord, not from gossiping or becoming enraged. Many of us struggle with that, and we want to vent to others and complain to our friends, but where does that really get us? It taints others’ opinions of our loved ones and that in no way helps them to change. I’ve learned this important lesson through marriage and parenting. It can be so difficult to take a moment and breathe before reacting, but it certainly makes all the difference. And, at the end of the day, I’m just so glad my husband, kids, friends, Pastor and neighbors put up with me. I’m no peach some days either.

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