Back to school!

Well modified parents, it’s about that time of year when you can finally celebrate.  In a few short weeks, the youngsters will be heading back to school, letting you call in sick to work and enjoy a silent few hours at home before the bell rings.

But before the quiet can settle in, there still is the matter of the dreaded back to school shopping.  Things have changed over the years when it comes to shopping for the little (and not-so little) ones.  Many moons ago, parents would help the kids pick up supplies; pens, notebooks, backpacks, etc., and probably pick up a new outfit or two for the first day of school.  Nowadays, things are a little different.

In a recent American Express survey, notebooks and clothes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fall spending.

schoolbus

Clothing, shoes and school supplies were the top three categories, making the shopping lists of more than 80 percent of consumers. Other popular categories include books (43 percent), sports equipment (24 percent) and healthcare (23 percent).

But parents also had some more discretionary purchases in mind, with nearly half saying they planned to spend on cosmetic services for their kids. Of that group, respondents were divided among manicures and pedicures (24 percent), teeth whitening (18 percent), spa services (12 percent), waxing (11 percent) and tattoos (9 percent).

Yep, you read that right.  9 percent of the people polled in the survey had planned in their budget a new tattoo for their offspring.  I know that for years now body modifications have been becoming more and more acceptable in mainstream society, and you can call me old fashioned, but I think I would probably not give my kids money for a tattoo if the only justification was that it was to show off for the new school year.

So ModBlog reader, what are your thoughts?  Would you get your children a new mod for the first day of school, or would you rather spend the money on something banal, like spa services and teeth whitening?  Actually come to think of it, I’d probably be a little creeped out if my kids asked me for money to get waxed before hopping on the bus.

27 thoughts on “Back to school!

  1. Haha you don’t want me to get started on this one, my parents gave me hell for getting tattooed with my own money when i turned 18 and went on my own, but they were taking and paying for tattoos for my younger brother when he was only 16.

  2. Haha that’s awesome. Wish my parents had set aside money for my tattoos.

    But if I had kids, I wouldn’t put aside money for a back to school tattoo – that just strikes me as weird. If you’re going to get a tattoo, get in whenever, not as an item on a checklist for what you need for going back to school – that just seems like you want to show it off to all of your friends, and that seems like a really bad reason to get a tattoo. Where I live (Texas), you can’t get tattooed unless you’re 18 – and I like that. If my kid wanted a tattoo, I’d tell them to save their money because I think body mods are a luxury that you should only get if you can afford it.

  3. Yup, a lot of kids back in the day would show up senior year with the typical tribal armband or a butterfly tattoo… But mom and dad paying for it, wowza! I would have ne’er thought of that, funny how times change. As I type on the Internet with this crazy compu-phone.

    I wonder how many modified parents out there have experienced weirdness for being modified? That would be a cool article.

  4. not a chance. i don’t discourage my kids from getting something done when they finish school. i have pierced my kids as a reward for passing their grades. my 16 year old daughter got her labret and my 12 year old son got his ears, and has since chosen to take them out.

  5. I think this whole letting high-school aged kids get inked up is both good and bad – as many things are. The good; it shows that modifications are becoming more accepted as stated above. The bad being this: tattoos amongst high-school kids are becoming less and less meaningful. Its becoming a thing of nothing but vanity, not some piece filled with meaning (as MOST should be – though we all have our random tags). I got my first ink done when I was 16, my mom signed off for it and it had a shitload of meaning behind it. Now I see a 15 year old girl with a butterfly tramp stamp walking around like shes hot shit at some midwestern high school, or some stupid ass with a flash tribal. Maybe I’m bitter, I dunno. I think first ink should be meaningful above all, though. Oh well.

  6. I don’t budget that in as part of back-to-school spending but I do expect my daughter to ask for a piercing sometime in the year. If I wait long enough, as I have in the past, one of three things happen for better or worse. She changes her mind – it has happened a few times – she pierces it herself before I can do anything about it – or she get grandma to pay for it and does it without telling me. So much for ‘parental control’ but it runs in the family too. I pierced myself as a teen and got a tattoo when I was 16 with a uncle taking me behind my parents back. She is sensible overall though, she knows what a clean shop should be and now she is sitting back and thinking more before doing things. I plan on dropping $100 on her over the year for stuff, but that also includes earrings for her already pierced ears.

  7. Haha that’s hilarious – I wish my parents had put aside money for my tattoos.

    If I had kids, I would never put aside money for their tattoos though – especially as part of my “back to school” checklist. That strikes me as strange; to me, tattoos should be gotten whenever you want, and if it’s on your back to school checklist, that implies that you need it done before summer’s over, before you see your classmates again in the fall. Which would make me think that someone’s getting a tattoo so they can show it off to their friends, and I think that’s a bad reason. Although I’m sure this is much the reason people get “back to school” clothes/accessories, I don’t think anyone should get something permanent just to show off to friends and classmates.

    Where I live, (Texas) you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, and I’m fine with that. I believe that body mods are a luxury that should only be gotten if you can afford it, and shouldn’t be part of a “back to school” checklist. If my kid asked for a tattoo, I’d tell them to save their money, and help them find a reputable shop.

  8. Haha that’s hilarious – I wish my parents had put aside money for my tattoos.

    If I had kids, I would never put aside money for their tattoos though – especially as part of my “back to school” checklist. That strikes me as strange; to me, tattoos should be gotten whenever you want, and if it’s on your back to school checklist, that implies that you need it done before summer’s over, before you see your classmates again in the fall. Which would make me think that someone’s getting a tattoo so they can show it off to their friends, and I think that’s a bad reason. Although I’m sure this is much the reason people get “back to school” clothes/accessories, I don’t think anyone should get something permanent just to show off to friends and classmates.

    Where I live, (Texas) you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, and I’m fine with that. I believe that body mods are a luxury that should only be gotten if you can afford it, and shouldn’t be part of a “back to school” checklist. If my kid asked for a tattoo, I’d tell them to save their money, and I’d help them find a reputable shop.

  9. For a back to school gift? Not a chance, A birthday gift possibly for my teenage kids. (besides ears). Tattoos i go back and forth on, I’d rather them come to me and me take them to a clean and reputable shop, than them go behind my back and go to either A) a nasty shop that doesn’t card or B) make a gun and do it themselves (as my husband did at 15).

    in Idaho you can get a tattoo at 16 with a parent’s consent, and I imagine there are other states with the same law.

  10. This is an interesting issue with my family. When I turned 17, I got my first tattoo- but with my family. All four of us got something we wanted. We called it “Family Portrait Day.”

    However, the rule in the house was that you must have the design chosen and on your wall/door/ somewhere you will see it every day, for a YEAR before you get it.

    Now, if a student/ young adult is responsible and is making choices in mods that likely won’t be the top of their regret list as an adult later, I see no reason why not–but my family is extremely heavy on the thought process behind mods.

  11. If my parents had let me get any of the tattoos that I would have found appealing as a teenager, I would still be angry at them today, because I was a great big idiot when I was a kid.
    Not that I’m not a great big idiot now, but at least I’m an adult, and can really contemplate the consequences of my body art.
    For the record, I didn’t get my tattoo until a week before my 30th birthday. I can still blame it on “being in my twenties” if I want to.

  12. I don’t have any kids, but I don’t think I’d buy my child a tattoo. If they want it, they should save for it. Also, I don’t think I’d give my consent for my child to be tattooed underage. Once they’re 18, they can do what they want. I begged and begged my parents to let me get tattooed when I was 16. After 3 months of an incessant shit-head teenager harping at them, they caved. I had that tattoo covered up 5 years later. I think we change too much from year-to-year when we’re under 18 for a tattoo to be even remotely justifiable on an underage person.

  13. No kid of mine would be getting any of that stuff! They would get only what is actually needed for school (i.e.: pens and pencils, paper, notebooks, backpacks, etc.) I think it’s absolutely absurd for a grade school kid to be asking their parents for spa treatments and manicures and other superfluous things like that and claim it’s something they need for school. If they want something like that, then they’d better have saved up the money for that on their own. Kids these days are way too spoiled and really seem to expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. It’s just ridiculous! As far as tattoos go, they wouldn’t be allowed to get one of those until they were 18 anyway and the only way my husband or I would pay for it is if we approved of the design and it were for a special occasion like a birthday, definitely not for back to school. If they wanted their ears pierced, on the other hand, I’d be okay with that. Any kind of piercing outside of a lobe piercing, though, would depend on how old they were and what kind of piercing they were after… and they would get it for a special occasion just like any possible tattoo, not for school. Not everything is a right when it comes to kids and teenagers, body modifications included.

  14. “……with nearly half saying they planned to spend on cosmetic services for their kids. Of that group,,,,,,, tattoos (9 percent).”

    Note the “of that group”, which refers to the nearly half portion of the total people polled, so only about 4% (taking into account the “nearly half”) of the total respondents intend to plan for tattoos… so like 80 people out of the total of approximately 2,000 (which is still considerable).

    The article does note that the ‘young professionals’ (under 30) were twice as likely, versus the over 30years old respondents, to budget for the cosmetic choices..

  15. I ran across a 16 year old girl, a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook the other day. She’s still in high school, and has stars down her sides and multiple other small, ‘vanity’ tattoos.

    Not sure what’s going through the heads of the parents.

  16. I really can’t imagine putting aside money for my kid to get tattooed just because its back to school season and they need something to show off. If I was a parent though, and my teenager wanted to get a tattoo, I would want to come along and make sure they were getting it done by a qualified artist and in a sanitary manner. I guess if my kid didn’t have money, I would be alright with paying for his or her first tattoo just so I know its going to be done safely and not behind my back by one of their friends or by a shitty artist.

    On my 16th birthday, my parents took me to get my first tattoo. It was a few stars and a swirly design, that I drew my self and really liked. They came along, and asked a lot of questions, and helped me look through portfolios to find an artist that we thought would be best for my design. Its been 5 years, and I still really like the tattoo and I’m glad my parents came with me.

    When I was 18, I went with my parents, once again to get tattooed. This time we all got matching tattoos (not identical, we each added our own flair to the design that was going on our own body) and they paid. I didn’t have a job at the time and it really wouldn’t have been possible for me to save up to get it done my self.

    So yeah, my point is, I would pay for my kids to get tattooed, if it meant I could come along and oversee the whole process. I definitely would not just give them money and send them off to get what ever they wanted where ever they wanted it.

  17. @Tobias: I see those kinds of things at my school everyday. An example would be a guy I know that for his 16th birthday he got a large music note on his chest and the this year he got a cross tattooed to his collar saying “Every song we sing, Every breath we breathe, For your glory” :|

  18. I’m a tattoo artist, and I do not support the tattooing of minors. I won’t under any circumstance, even though it is legal in KY. And I’d never sign for own kid. I had to be 18 and pay for it on my own. I see nothing wrong with making them wait until they’re legal and able in order to do a permanent modification. And that’s is a terribly odd thing to budget for in the school shopping.

  19. I would let my kids get a new appropriate piercing if they wanted for the new school year, like a new lobe set or helix for a daughter, an industrial or something for a boy, that kinda thing. As legal as it may be with parental consent, I will not let my kids get facial piercings until they are 18, same with tattoos. When you’re an adult you can do whatever you want, so long as you do it the right way. I would allow my kids to stretch their ears as well, but the limit while under my roof would be about 0ga to 7/16th’s inch. Any larger than that and I think it’s a little much for KIDS.

  20. Wow, that’s not right.
    I’d understand getting a piercing, or letting them stretch their ears; but taking a kid to get a tattoo just because they want to look cool at school? That just doesn’t seem smart, in my opinion.

  21. No matter what people may say, most teenagers do not have the maturity to be putting something so permanent on themselves. While some may know what they’re doing, but 99% do not. I wouldn’t risk for my kid to be part of that 99%.

  22. My son is only ten but I couldn’t see EVER putting a tattoo on the list of back-to-school necessities. We still spend money on school supplies, and newer clothes. That’s a good list to have until he can earn money for himself, as an adult.
    :)

  23. I don’t have kids, but I imagine if I did tattoos would certainly not be on the list of to-buy’s. If they need something new to show off at school they can get new clothes or a new backpack, or (age depending) even a new piercing, but I think the idea of getting something so permanent for ‘back to school’ is ridiculous.

    I also agree with everyone who has been saying that kids can wait until they are 18 to get tattoos. There were several different tattoos I wanted to get when I was younger, and they did have thought and meaning behind them, but my opinions and identity changed so much over the course of high school that I wouldn’t dream of getting those tattoos now, and I think I would probably regret having them if I had got them when I was still underage.

  24. As for spa services, I don’t think anyone underage truly needs manicures and pedicures, but I can see having them done for a special occasion, or allotting money for facials if a kid has really bad acne (I used to get facials once in a while in high school to help control my acne, and it WAS very helpful).

    I understand putting aside money for waxing too since I do know several parents who do not want their daughters to shave, (and I personally used to get severe razor burn from shaving and had an allergic reaction to chemical hair removal products).

  25. Good job parents, help your kids regret their tattoos!

    I mean I guess it’s cool that parents are being open minded and shit, but if I were to have gotten any tattoos I wanted while I was in high school I would have seriously regretted them.. I think there’s a reason why you have to be 18 in most states. (in some parts of SC you can legally get tattooed at 16)

  26. Aside from how ludicrous it is for a parent to even CONSIDER buying their kid a tattoo, isn’t if a little fucked that parents are paying for salon treatment for these snot nosed little brats? WTF? I blame Sex in the City and LA Ink for this shit. Acne? I can understand, but the likelihood that these kids all have something that needs to be fixed via salon treatment is nil. Stupid. Fuck.

    When I was a kid, tools were important for learning, not looks. This is fucked and makes me very angry about parents, yet again.

    Rites of passage do not exist anymore. Hope is lost, culture is plasticized. fml.

    Back to my cave.

  27. Getting a kid a tattoo for back to school sounds beyond stupid, but the other stuff sounds par for the course for spoiled teenagers. It’s not creepy for a kid to ask for money for waxing if it’s a 14-17 year old female for her legs (or upper lip or arms if she wants).

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