Change in child’s appearance can be hard for parents



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Actress Sienna Miller sports the results of taking the plunge and getting a tattoo.


It may look cool now, but how are you going to feel when you’re 85 years old and have a tattoo of Tweety Bird on your shoulder? Or a Maori tribal symbol emblazoned across your back?

That’s what always stopped me from getting my body inked — the thought of how I would feel about it years down the road. Oftentimes I’d see someone on the beach — a beautiful girl, with perfectly tanned skin, in a skimpy bikini, with a heart tattooed over her left breast, and I’d think: “Wow, that’s sexy!”

Then I’d picture my 95-year-old grandmother, and I’d mentally superimpose the tat. No go.

I’m over my desire for body art now, and not even the slightest bit sorry that I never took the plunge. But my mind races ahead to when my children will be old enough to cover their bodies with artificial art, and I wonder how I’ll react.

Oddly enough, I was musing about this topic the other day when I came across an article in this month’s Chatelaine by Sarah Hampson. Her middle son, 20-year-old Tait, had a large tattoo inked across his torso and chose to show his mother before she saw him topless on their beach vacation last Christmas.

I think I’d react as she did — unable to bring myself to look at the art.

At first.

I think I’d feel as she did — that I’d spent nine months watching what I ate, ingesting a cocktail of vitamins, doing everything possible to ensure that I would create a perfect child, only to have that perfection marred by the child itself.

Maybe that’s selfish. I know that I won’t be able to control my children from living their lives as they see fit, but to radically change their appearance? Isn’t that a bit, well, hard to take?

The fact is, tattoos and piercings are extremely common today, so much so that 31 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34, have one or the other, or both. And neither are fresh concepts. Women (and men) have been piercing their ears for generations (think pirates), and tattoos have also been around for eons (think war times, soldiers and Marines).

I guess it’s all relative, and obviously, entirely personal. Some people will think that body art is a natural way of expressing themselves, others will have a negative view, relating it to street youth, hooligans, and the formerly jailed.

The bottom line is that none of us should judge a book by its cover — or a person by their skin’s appearance. Try and shrug off your predisposed reactions, and look beyond the superficial to the person’s true character.

That guy covered in colourful tattoos could well be my son — one day. I do hope he at least has good taste in art.