What happens when you're a parent with tattoos and piercings and your teen starts saying she wants them too?
That's the situation facing one, "somewhat heavily tattooed mum with a septum ring," who took to Reddit to share that her 13-year-old daughter wants a piercing too.
"I figured it was only a matter of time before she started wanting these things," the mum writes, adding that she's been "brutally honest and open with her about the processes, the pain involved" and why she waited until she was 27 to have her first tattoo.
"I've always explained to her why she cannot do things," she writes. "Sometimes she'd test this when she was younger and my response is usually to explain why it's a bad idea and sometimes I add a, 'But go ahead if you want!' if it won't result in permanent damage. The result so far is that she trusts my judgement and is an appropriately cautious kid."
But when her teen asked her if she could get a septum ring, while her brain immediately went to "Um of course not, you are a child!", on reflection she couldn't come up with any good reasons.
"I'm kind of in a neutral place about it," she said.
While clarifying that she's not about to rush out and get her teen pierced "right now", the mum told her daughter to look up the laws for her state about getting piercing with parental consent. "I also told her that even though it appears legal here, a lot of professional piercers may decline to pierce her based on age, so she plans on calling around to local shops to ask at what age they'd pierce a teenager's septum."
They mum also noted that she told her teen to ask her dad and said that if he says no, she's not going to argue with him about it. "We also discussed (and have several times in the past) why you should NEVER pierce yourself, so I don't see her going rogue and DIYing this."
The mum then outlined exactly why she feels it's not a problem:
1.) I encourage her to express herself in any way that is safe. This includes things like dying her hair wild colours and cutting it all off. She's gone through about six different colours in the past year. Hair grows back, no big deal.
2.) Kind of adding to that, a septum ring will not leave any visible holes or scars in/on her face if she decides later she doesn't like it.
3.) A septum ring is very easy to hide for school/work, which is why I chose it for myself. If you wear the horseshoe style jewellery, you can simply flip this up inside of your nose and it's hidden.
4.) We waited to have her ears pierced until she asked for it and could take care of them. She got them done around 10 years old and took care of them fabulously. The aftercare is not all that different for this piercing. The risk of complications here is extremely rare.
The mum added that if she does her research and doesn't change her mind, it might make a good 14th birthday gift or reward.
"I feel like any reservations I have about this come from the more conservative way I was raised but I can't come up with an honest, logical reason why I should say "no".
Turning to Reddit for advice, she said: "I'm open to being told I'm 100 per cent incorrect on this. Thoughts and feelings, anyone?"
The question prompted an interesting discussion around parenting and how the decisions our parents make for us can shape who we become.
"I really appreciate your thought process and parenting style," one commenter wrote. "I've got a 2.5 year old so I've got some time before I need to worry about this. But, as a mum who is also heavily tattooed and pierced, this will almost certainly become a conversation in our household. My parents were kings of saying "no" with no support or reasoning provided, which meant at 14 I skipped school and took the train into NYC to get facial piercings at less-than-reputable shops. I don't want that for my kiddos."
"I'm going to buck the norm here, but I'm a tattooed Mom who has piercings and loves wild colours. I'm fine with anything temp like hair colour, shaving it (I've shaved my head three times myself), but piercings and tats before 18 are big nopes for me. I got my first less than a week after I turned 18 and still feel the same. You do you though, doubly so since you're talking to Dad too," said another.
"I'd try offering to get her a fake septum piecing first, you can buy them online (plastic or metal, Etsy has good ones) and she can wear for it awhile and see if she does actually want hers pieced. Or if her dad says no way, she can still appear to have it priced until she's 18. My daughter is only a baby at the moment but I definitely agree with your approach to self expression, you sound like a great mum."
"This is the kind of mom I hope to be one day," said another. "Good job."
In an update the mum thanked Redditors for their advice, praise, insight and support. "Even the ones who disagree!"
"It's been so nice hearing people say I'm a good parent," she added. "I think we all could use a pat on the back from time to time. I think, like so many parents, I tend to downplay my abilities as a mum. Several people have given me new points to think about and add to my daughter's pile of research. Whether we end up getting her pierced this year, next, or waiting till she's 18, this is a valuable learning experience for both of us. So thank you all for participating!"