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Ask Angela: The tattoo I never want my parents to see

Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

This reader got a tattoo and wonders how to tell her parents before their family beach trip.

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Dear Angela,

I’m going on a beach vacation with my ultra-conservative Christian family, and I have a tattoo they are totally unaware of and would 100 percent disapprove of. That tattoo itself is not offensive; it's the fact that I have a tattoo at all that is offensive to them.

For the most part, I keep it hidden, but in order to do so at the beach I’d have to wear a T-shirt over it. I go to church, I take good care of my body, but I wanted a tattoo and I got one. I know that doesn’t make me a bad person, but I can just see my parents flipping out about it and coming to the conclusion they must have been bad parents who didn’t teach me to treat my body like a temple, or something similar to that. I don’t want to make this fun trip about tattoo drama. What’s your take?

Thanks,

Tats

Dear Tats,

How soon is the trip?

And, how old are you?

I ask these two questions because if the trip isn’t soon, and you think it will be a big deal to your parents, you have time to tell them. Something like, “Hey, I love my body, wanted a tattoo, this is what it means to me, blah, blah, blah.”

Then let whatever drama is going to happen, happen before the trip.

The second question is because as an adult, it’s your right and responsibility to make adult choices and bear the consequences of your choices. Your parents are also progressing and hopefully understanding that their adult children aren’t always going to make the choices they would make for them. And every time that happens, it doesn’t mean the family needs to have a big come apart over it, or that they are/were bad parents. You know?

So, a good plan of action would be to tell them before you go, and give them the benefit of the doubt that it can be a productive conversation. If it seems like they are going to be really sensitive and upset about your body art, then limit their exposure to it so the trip can be about the family and not about your tattoo in their faces.

What do you think?

Love,

Angela

Readers: When you make choices that your parents disagree with, do they then in turn think they must have been bad parents? What advice would you give to our friend "Tats"?

For more Ask Angela questions, like the Ask Angela Facebook page at facebook.com/askangelaslc and visit the Ask Angela blog at askangelaslc.wordpress.com.

Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the experiences of young single adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twitter: askange_column

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