DEAR ABBY: Our 18-year-old daughter is a freshman in college. One morning we received a call from her roommate's mother, who is a friend of ours, letting us know that her daughter visited a tattoo parlor near the college and had gotten a tattoo on her back.
Worried and shocked, we called our daughter and discovered that she had gone too, and also had one! We discussed it with her and explained that in our country, people with tattoos are usually individuals who have been or still are in prison, and that tattoos are not reflective of our cultural background.
We love our daughter and respect most of her decisions. She has been a role model for her younger sister and brother.
Our daughter agreed to go to a dermatologist and have the tattoo removed, but we are concerned that being away at school and having so much freedom, she may make other decisions that are against our principles. Your opinion, please. -- WORRIED PARENTS IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WORRIED PARENTS: Although I would never consider having a tattoo, many popular American music stars, actors and sports figures now do. However, in your daughter's case, getting a tattoo was done on an impulse, which is probably why she so quickly agreed to have it removed at your request. As a young adult, she will -- and should -- make decisions on her own. Although you, as her parents, may not agree with all of them, they are hers to make.
As for the tattoo fad, I predict that as middle age and the force of gravity converge, laser surgeons will do a booming business.