Teen Fashion, Body Piercings and Tattoos

Body piercing, dyed hair, shaved heads and tattoos. Should teen fashion be cause for concern or celebration?

For many teens, hair and clothing is as important to them as food and water. Whether it’s tattooing, body piercing, or the latest look in clothing, teens express themselves through what they wear and how they look. And if we remember, so did we. That’s because adolescence is a time when kids are creating their own separate identity  and a large part of that is expressed through fashion.

This self expression is a short lived phase, which parent educator Sue Bourque believes should be celebrated. “In our whole life, in our one time, there is a very small window of opportunity between the years of 13 and 19 where it’s okay to have blue hair, a shaved head, holey jeans. This window of opportunity is an opportunity for us as well to celebrate the changes that our teens are going through and their growth into adulthood.”

While it may not be too difficult to accept teens shaving their heads or dying their hair, some parents may become concerned when their teens want a tattoo simply because they are aware that a teen’s tattoo will still be there well after the fashion fad has faded. Bourque suggests that “when a child comes to you and says I’m thinking of getting a tattoo, educate that child. We can do that by telling them to talk about it with a doctor and ask about medical concerns (such as) if you go to a tattoo parlor and you get a dirty needle.”

Bourque also suggests discussing with your teen “what happens if once you have tattoos you go out and are looking for work. How will that employer view you? Our teens need this information and they should go out and find it themselves.”

Overall, Bourque reminds parents and all adults to not judge a teen by the cover. “Parents can focus too much on the physical things that are happening to their kids and the styles they’ve taken on and forget that this is a commendable young person who is struggling valiantly to reach adulthood.”


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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