Want a Tattoo? Got to Show it to Grandma

Yahoo Contributor Network

President Obama said on Wednesday that if his daughters dared to get tattoos, he and Michelle would get the same tattoos, in the same place - and "family tattoo," if you will - and show it off on Youtube. On the heels of that creative warning, Yahoo asked readers what strategies they've employed to keep their kids from getting inked. Here's one.

FIRST PERSON | When my boys were in their teens, tattoos started to become all the rage. My first response to this was to "Just Say No." While it was successful at keeping them away from drugs, this tactic was wearing a little thin by that point.

When Joey, my older son, reached 15, he started in with the "I want a tattoo, all my friends have one, I don't fit in without one" rant. I did start noticing that most of his friends had at least one tattoo about the time of his 16th birthday, so I had to figure out some way to allow it but dissuade it at the same time. My mother-in-law was the answer.

Charlotte, my mother-in-law and the boys' grandmother, is a very conservative lady who was raised in post-World War II Germany. She does not hesitate to give her opinion. And if children misbehave, she demonstrates the virtue of corporal punishment and does not reserve it only for her own children.

I told Joey that if he really wanted a tattoo, there were two conditions. (For Keith, I had the additional condition that he had to wait until he was 16.)

1. It could not be on his face or below the sleeve of a T-shirt because I didn't want him to have difficulty getting jobs because he was covered in ink.

2. He had to show it to his grandmother.

Rule one was easy for Joey to live with. He wanted to ink odd parts of his body anyway. Rule two was the show-stopper.

Joey, now 29, didn't get his first tattoo until he was in college. Keith, 27, is still ink-free.

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