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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 or temporary tats -- 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.

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