I Tried To Hide My Tattoo From My Parents

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DO NOT TELL MY PARENTS!!! | Source: Shutterstock

I got a tattoo when I was 18, just as I was starting my second semester in college. It’s hardly exciting: a little black star, about the size of a quarter, on the small of my back. It took the tattoo artist all of five minutes to complete. At the time, it was totally thrilling and an enormous deal; I bragged about it like I’d gotten a half sleeve, and I showed it off to anyone and everyone.

Well…except for my parents. I knew they would NOT be happy and I wasn’t quite sure how they’d take it, so I opted to leave them out of the loop. It was on a part of my body that’s easy to hide, so there wasn’t any reason it would be accidentally discovered. My friends were warned that they weren’t to say anything about it, and Operation What Tattoo? went perfectly for a few months, until my boyfriend joined my parents and me at dinner. While he didn’t outright say I had a tattoo, he said something close enough to tip off my folks (I kicked him under the table immediately), and of course my mom asked right away if I had one. For whatever reason, I can never keep a straight face if I try to lie to my mom, so I squirmed and told her honestly that yes, I did.

Showing my parents the tattoo was anticlimactic, really (but didn’t stop me from chewing out the boyfriend). More than anything, they were relieved that it was small and tasteful, and they weren’t exactly bummed by the ease at which I could hide it. I had to reassure them quite a few times that I’d gone to a reputable studio that took pride in having sterilized instruments, and there was essentially NO chance that I’d gotten any diseases (it had been super important to me to go somewhere with staunch hygienic practices). Once my parents got used to the idea, my mom even thought it was sorta cute, and asked to see it again on occasion.

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See? The size of a quarter, NBD.

I’ve gotten a couple other tattoos since then, including one that’s significantly larger, which genuinely disappointed both of my parents, and my mom has tried convincing me to promise that I will never get another tattoo. While I don’t like seeing – or imagining – the disappointed expressions on my parents’ faces, I also know my body is mine to decorate however I see fit, although my parents’ feelings definitely weigh in on my decisions for more ink. Maybe instead of tattoos, we can negotiate for piercings instead?

Have you ever gotten a tattoo? Would you ever get one if it could really be a hidden tattoo? Do you keep secrets from your parents? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Getting Ink Of Your Own!


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  • katyyyyss

    heyy gurl <3 i'm 17, so far I've hidden a belly button piercing, web piercing & treble clef tattoo *under my rib cage, about 4 inches long* from my dad, as well as a cell phone & my biological mother (i was adopted when i was 3). As much as I hate lying to him, he's extremely strict and not very open minded.

  • Asha Linn

    I’m 17 and have one tattoo on my foot, and will have another one on my other foot within the week. So far the only family that knows is my uncle and my dad, as well as my “parents” (the family that I’m living with) and my boyfriend’s family. My mum won’t really care but my grandparents will freak. It’s an Edgar Allan Poe tribute that I am in the process of completing, and it looks wonderful. I only plan on showing the rest of my family once I’m prepared to explain it to them in a calm and gentle manner.

  • Anonymous

    Just because someone is 18+ and legally allowed to get a tattoo, does not mean they don’t care about their parents feelings towards the subject. When you are an adult you can make your own decisions when it comes to tattoos, but some people may still want to hide it to avoid hurting their parents.

  • briana

    my cousin got a huge butterfly on her back when she was 16! when our uncle accidentally saw it, she lied and said it was a fake. so basically she kept it a secret from all the adults until she was 19

  • Clara

    Even though you’re 18 and legally it doesn’t matter what your parents think about you getting a tattoo, you should still show respect for their point of view. One of the problems with American culture today is that children don’t listen to their parents. We have no discipline and no respect for authority or consequences; it’s all about instant gratification and showing off your independence and doing what you want when you want. Your parents love you and are just trying to help you make good decisions. It’s your choice whether or not you are going to listen to them, especially after you become a legal adult, but I’ve found that most of the time, there are good reasons for why parents say the things they do, or lay down the rules that they think are appropriate.

    • Haley

      If I can die in a war, I can decide whatever I want to put on my body. My choice and, if I regret it later on, my mistake. If or when I get a tattoo, it will be important to me and something that is unique and wont lose meaning. I’m responsible enough to take the consequences of my tattoo in stride.

  • Emily

    You’re 18 years of age! you shouldn’t care what you’re parents thought you’re legally an adult.

  • shawtybadd123

    you are 18 years old why did you care what your parents thought

  • Anna

    I already have a full back and shoulder tattoo planned for after I turn 18

  • basschick

    i can legally get a tattoo and my parents won’t care (mom has 2, sister has 1) but idk what to get! it has to be meaningful. :/

  • Noelle

    I’ve gotten 2 tattoos since I turned 18 five months ago & I love them. My first I got on my birthday. It’s a bible verse in the shape of a Jesus fish on the left side of my lower back. The other is “dancer” in Sanskrit on one of my right ribs that I got after my final dance recital. I’ve been dancing multiple styles for 10 years of my life. Both are really meaningful & neither are very big but my mom hates them. I thought she was gonna shun me when I told her I was getting my second one. My dad doesn’t seem to care quite as much but I still don’t think he likes them much.

  • Casey

    you’re 18 you shouldve been allowed to do whatever you wanted. It’s not like you’re parents really even had a say in it

    • basschick

      in a way, though, they do. it does not hurt to keep them in mind, especially when they live in their house. i use to think they same thing but once i turned 18 a year ago, i can see life from their pov more (then again, idk how old you are so it is hard to say).