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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Sees Daughter's Tattoo as a Threat to Her Career

DEAR ABBY: I raised my children to be respectful, responsible adults who are career- and family-oriented. Both are college graduates, married and successful.

My eldest daughter recently announced that she has been "going through something" and surprised us with a tattoo on her shoulder sporting her children's names on a colorful, rather large background. I was shocked because she works at a large banking firm and was recently promoted as a senior financial investor. I'm now afraid it will impede her career advancement, and also concerned it will encourage her two young daughters to get tattoos.

I have never encouraged my children to do something like this. In fact, I did the opposite. I did not comment about hers. She has known how her dad and I have felt about this since she was a young child.

Am I overreacting? What does a mother say about something so permanent? I no longer feel I know this person I thought was "conservative." -- DISAPPOINTED IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Yes, you are overreacting. This is not a referendum on your parenting or your daughter's character. In a situation like this, a mother should ask her daughter what "things" she has been going through, and what that tattoo means to her. The mother should also recognize that her daughter is an adult now, and her choice to apply body art is just that -- a choice. Then she should listen carefully to what her daughter has to say, so that, if necessary, she can be supportive.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Work & School