Mom wants daugh­ter to fo­cus on school, not dad’s tat­toos


DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old son is go­ing to visit his fa­ther and get his third tat­too. I don’t like it, but I can’t con­trol my son. He’s an adult. His fa­ther is re­tired and lives on his wife’s pen­sion. It is my un­der­stand­ing that they are wealthy.

My con­cern is for our 14-year-old daugh­ter. My ex thinks tat­toos are cool, and when he talks to her via Skype, he talks about the next tat­too he is go­ing to get. I’m afraid that when she’s 18, he will take her to get a tat­too as a bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

His life is far re­moved from my daugh­ter’s. He is sur­rounded by ac­tors, en­ter­tain­ers and artists. Our child (hope­fully) will have a rich, abun­dant life in an or­di­nary way. She is fo­cused on her stud­ies and does well in school be­cause of her ef­forts. How can I im­press upon my not-so-con­fi­dent, shy child that get­ting a tat­too is not a good idea? — MARY IN MIS­SOURI

DEAR MARY: Dis­cour­ag­ing your daugh­ter from get­ting a tat­too should be part of an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion. Ex­plain that — un­like makeup — the real thing is per­ma­nent. Once it’s on, there is no go­ing back. It will be there for the rest of her life un­less she has it pro­fes­sion­ally re­moved. Point out that tat­too re­moval is not only ex­pen­sive, but also painful, and her skin will not look the way it did be­fore she got inked — she will be scarred.

Hope­fully, it may make her less sus­cep­ti­ble to “bond­ing” with her fa­ther in that way. Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, when she’s 18 and an adult, she will make her own de­ci­sion about get­ting tat­tooed or re­main­ing ink-free.

DEAR ABBY: My brother and sis­ter-in-law have four chil­dren, ages 11, 10, 4 and 3. They are fi­nan­cially strapped and can’t af­ford to take the chil­dren to en­ter­tain­ment or cul­tural events be­cause ev­ery dime is spent for es­sen­tials.

I’m fi­nan­cially sta­ble and child­less. I take the older chil­dren to var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties once ev­ery month or so. I don’t in­clude the younger ones be­cause they are un­ruly. I feel some­what guilty for not in­clud­ing them. How­ever, I want to con­tinue do­ing it for the older chil­dren so they’ll be ex­posed to var­i­ous events they couldn’t see other­wise.

Am I wrong for not want­ing to be re­spon­si­ble for the younger chil­dren, or should I stop tak­ing any of them out to be fair? — TRY­ING MY BEST IN THE SOUTH

DEAR TRY­ING: Ex­plain to the par­ents, if you haven’t al­ready, that you would love to in­clude the younger chil­dren, but that you are un­able to be­cause of their un­ruly be­hav­ior, which you are un­able to con­trol. What you’re do­ing is not “un­fair”; it is wise. If you were to take all four and not be able to con­trol them, one of the lit­tle ones could be se­ri­ously in­jured.

Think of some other way you can make the younger chil­dren feel spe­cial. Per­haps tak­ing them to a park oc­ca­sion­ally would make them feel less left out.

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