DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been hiding my tattoos from my parents for years. They disapprove of tattoos in general and have somewhat traditional beliefs. I have two tattoos -- a large one on my upper arm that can be concealed under a T-shirt sleeve and a small one on my fingers. Recently my mother discovered my small tattoo and berated me only a little bit. The reveal went better than I thought it would, probably because the tattoo she saw is very small.
Do you think I should show my mom my bigger tattoo? It seems like my relationship with my mother is improving; it was somewhat strained in the past, and she has recently been more accepting of who I am. I am afraid that if I show her my bigger tattoo, I will lose our new connection. What do you think I should do? -- Tattoo Girl
DEAR TATTOO GIRL: I would continue to go slowly. Build your relationship with your mother, letting her get to know you as the person you are evolving into. Share ideas bit by bit with her so that she gets to know your values, your beliefs and your ideas. Tell her that you share some of the traditional beliefs that you were taught by your parents, but not all. Reinforce to her the values that you share, and point out where you differ. Let your mother know that you mean no disrespect when you take a different path than what she and your father have chosen.
When you feel that your mother is accepting of the fact that the two of you have some differing views but are able to love each other anyway, let her know that you want to share something with her. Do not spring it on her. Make her aware of the fact that you have a reveal, and then show her. Thank your mother for her support and love.