Tattoos for Teens & Preteens

Best place (on body) for a teen to get a tattoo

April 2014

Hi. My son has gone through a major life-altering experience that he would like commemorated with a tattoo. Thing is, he's in 8th grade. We checked and 14 year olds can get a tattoo in Arizona with parental permission, so we're thinking road trip this summer. I'm on board with him getting something tasteful (!) that will be hidden by business clothes (in case that matters in his future), but we would like the body location to be somewhere it won't stretch in a weird way as he matures. His first choice location is the upper outer arm, above the short sleeve line.

Our questions: what parts of the body would a tattoo be least affected as a person gets bigger, and what's the pain factor of your suggestion.

(And, if any of you has recs for a quality tattoo parlor in Arizona, that would be awesome as well.)

Any other advice?

Tattooless AND Clueless

I got my first tattoo at 16 thanks to some friends and some ink in their bedroom - once I was legal I had it covered and continued to get tattoos from there - today I have had 4 done at various times over 20 years.

I love my ink, and totally don't regret doing it - but your child is too young now. Because I ultimately made the decision at 18 these are my choices and something I picked as an ''adult.'' Whatever transition has occurred will still be true in 4 years, take that time to process and decide - and then go to great shop in the area of which there are many (safe, clean, experienced). wait on the ink

Parent Q&A

  • Tattoo(s) on 11-year-old?

    (22 replies)

    Our 11-year-old son wants a tattoo, or even multiple tattoos. I am at loggerheads with my husband about this. He says it's fine, I say no way! Discuss, please...

    RE: Tattoo(s) on 11-year-old? ()

    No. Just no. This is different than ear piercing. The desires of an 11 year old in terms of design, size, location, etc of a tattoo--if he could travel forward in time, I guarantee that his older self would say no. It's easy to take earrings off. Permanent changes like this--not until he's 18. 

    RE: Tattoo(s) on 11-year-old? ()

    For our daughter, piercing was ok (she asked at about 11 or 12, nose first, and didn’t do her tongue until she was 18 and could pay for it herself simply because I shuddered thinking about it), but tattoos had to wait until she was 18. We felt the tattoos were riskier, and also they are permanent, where piercings just grow back if the youngster changes their mind. She’s probably had 3 piercings (besides ears) and 5 tattoos by now. 

    RE: Tattoo(s) on 11-year-old? ()

    It is illegal to tattoo someone under 18 years old in California. (Cal Penal Code 653).  As a mom and former 11 year old, I also can't imagine that the body art I would choose as an 11 year old is truly something I would want to live with for the REST OF MY LIFE.   I understand if it is a tattoo to honor or memorialize someone or something important, but even that can wait.  There are many other ways to allow a minor to decorate their bodies and express themselves that are not quite as permanent and allow them to change their minds later.