Best of Jill’s Blog: Tattoos, and Earrings, and Piercings…oh my!

It was several years ago that I had the opportunity to meet Ryan Dobson. Ryan is Jim Dobson’s son–that’s Jim Dobson of Focus on the Family. I’ve listened to Focus on the Family radio for years and felt mentored by Dr. Dobson as a parent over the years.

I stood in line to get Ryan’s new book that he’d written to encourage teenagers in their faith. When I was almost to the front of the line I took a double-take. This pierced and tattooed young man did not look like anything I would have expected Dr. Dobson’s son to look like. He was dressed in leather motorcycle clothing with tattoos up his arms and big holes in his ears. But there was no mistaking it…this guy loved Jesus.

That experience was eye-opening to me. I had to come to grips with my own stereotypes. I also had to begin thinking about this stuff as a parent.

I believe it was Anne’s junior or senior year when she called home on a high school choir trip to New York. “Hey mom, I’ve got a question for you,” she began. “Would it be ok if I got my nose pierced?” I think I about choked on the ice tea I was drinking. I told her that no it wouldn’t be ok for her to get her nose pierced. According to her, everyone was doing it as a momento of the trip. Our answer was no.

It was shortly after that when Evan began to ask to get his ear pierced. He was a freshman in high school I believe. We told him no, but his request was sincere. We finally realized we needed a plan for answering these questions. There were several other siblings to follow!

Mark and I finally determined that Evan could get his ear pierced when he turned 16. He waited the two years and then asked for that for his 16th birthday. I personally took him to get his ear pierced.

About that time tattoos were becoming more popular. We had to determine a plan for that question and decided that the kids have to be 18 and pay for it with their own money. Evan got his first tattoo his freshman year of college and his second about a year ago when he was 20. Both of his tattoos express his faith in some way.

The day Erica turned 18 she scheduled her tattoo appointment—designed by her artistic self, of course! Hers is based on 1 Corinthians 13 and simply states “Love never fails.”

So what am I trying to communicate here?

Simply this: you better have a plan.

Tattoos, piercings, cell phones, curfews, earrings….discuss it with your spouse and come to some agreement so that you have an answer when they ask.

Because they will ask.

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5 Responses to Best of Jill’s Blog: Tattoos, and Earrings, and Piercings…oh my!

  1. Yes, they will ask! Our now 17 year old has been wanting to get a piercing and/or tattoo for a couple of years. Our first reaction was “No way!” Of course, his response was to push harder because he felt we weren’t even giving his request any real consideration (and no one likes to be told no). It took at least a year before my husband and I changed how we thought about it. We had said no because we didn’t personally care for the current styles our son was interested in, we felt he was too young to make a possibly permanent decision that would affect how people perceived him, and, to be honest, we worried about what people would think about us. The situation had the potential to cause rebellion because our son felt we were being controlling. Eventually, we decided that we were to be more concerned with our relationship with our son and his relationship with Jesus, not his outward appearance. We told him that he first had to find a job and see what the employer allowed before he could have any piercing. Regarding tattoos, he had to wait until he turned 18 and use his own money also. Knowing that he could if he wanted to seemed to be enough and the discussion died down. He has now lost interest in piercings and talks about what tattoo he would like to get occasionally.

  2. My daughter started asking for her ears to be pierced when she was around 8. When asked why, she couldn’t give us a solid answer. So we made her wait, explaining that when she understood why she wanted them and not just because everyone else was donig it, then we would see. By 10, she knew why she wanted them and I took her, along with my mom, for her birthday. Now a year later, I have to get on her about even wearing any.LOL
    She wants her hair cut short… like a boys she says. At 11! “I want to spike it.” No way. I told her, when she is older, and out of my house, she can do as she pleases with the glorious mane of hair God has blessed her with. Until then, a bob is about as short as I will go. She doesn’t like doing anything to it now as it is, I can’t imgine the fight she’d put up if I had to constantly remind her that she wanted it spiked and she needed to do it herself every day. Don’t think she’d like that.
    As for tatts. We’re not there yet. PTL! I do have strong convictions against them. But, if it is broached one day, it will be like you said. Gotta have a job and you will pay yourself. Also, another out of my house kinda thing. Possibly. We have so many family memebers that have them and she looks on with disgust when she sees most of them. They do not live for the Lord. So, I guess we’ll see when the time comes.

    Thanks for sharing Jill. It is so important to be informed and prepared when they come to us.

  3. Erin says:

    My parents had the same reaction that many other parents have NO! NO! NO! The funny thing is that it did cause a huge gap in our relationship. I now have 17 tattoos and have had several piercings over the last 11 years. I love Jesus and none of my ink or holes change that. I think there is a place in the world for tattooed and non tattooed people. Mr. Dobson and myself will be able to minister to a different group of people than the clean cut homemakers and I don’t think that is a bad thing. I am kinda glad to hear about Mr. Dobson because we need more big named, tattooed, Lovers of God in the public eye.

  4. Gisele says:

    I just remember my mother drilling into me I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” So I guess that would be my first line in the conversation. I really appreciate the advice to be ready for the discussion, and everyone’s comments. Even though I raised my three through the teen years without rebellion on this topic, I work at a high school where I’d like to help students through these decisions. Hmm, and I can see this being a good current event discussion for my adult Sunday school group.

  5. JillSavage says:

    I agree with you. No judgment here for those who have them but I don’t understand the desire at all.