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Tattoo Enthusiast Upset After Ex-Wife Lets Their 16-Year-Old Daughter Get ‘Godawful’ Tattoo

A girl getting a tattoo.
Artem Zakharov/Getty Images

There are certain milestones all parents want to be present at in their children’s lives.

Christenings, graduations, and weddings come immediately to mind.

Other milestones might be a little more personal to the family, such as a first sporting event, the first time going to a new restaurant, or the first time watching a certain movie.

Redditor UnnamedUserDude and his ex-wife both shared a particular passion that their 16-year-old daughter wanted to partake in.

However, the original poster (OP) made it clear that this was something she needed to wait till her 18th birthday to do.

Much to his surprise, however, the OP’s ex-wife jumped the gun and took their daughter to fulfill her wish without him.

Angering the OP on every possible level.

Worried he might have overreacted, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA? My ex-wife allowed our sixteen year old daughter to get a tattoo, and it looks godawful. I had to tell my daughter the truth.”

The OP explained why he felt the need to be brutally honest about a recent decision made by his 16-year-old daughter:

“Here’s the story.”

“Tattoos are very common in my family.”

“I myself am heavily tattooed.”

“I am very lucky to have a supremely talented artist in my family, and he just so happens to be a tattoo artist.”

“So admittedly, I’m a bit of a snob.”

“Okay, in any event.”

“When my daughter started asking about getting work done, I was fine with the idea.”

“But I wanted her to wait until she turned eighteen, and to have my expert cousin do it for her.”

“My ex-wife and her husband had other ideas.”

“They had a ‘family tattoo event’ last week.”

“Did not tell me beforehand, and I found out afterwords that this was a deliberate decision.”

“They didn’t want to tell me for fear that I would disagree.”

“Well as the title indicates, this piece of ‘work’ looks horrible.”

“It’s just a genuinely bad tattoo.”

“So I told my daughter what I thought.”

“I am disappointed that she was impatient and jumped into a big choice with little thought.”

“Now no one over there will talk to me.”

“My daughter won’t answer the phone I pay for, her mother won’t respond to me.”

“I get the importance of a first tattoo, and in defence of the daughter, she did have a good concept behind it.”

“She was trying to honor her great grandmother.”

“She just jumped the gun and in the process, now has a sh*tty tattoo on her body.”

“Should I have just stayed quiet?”

“Am I wrong?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP was the a**hole for honestly telling his daughter his opinion of her tattoo.

Many felt that no one came off looking particularly good in this situation, agreeing that the OP’s behavior was uncalled for, but it was also wrong for his ex-wife to allow their underage daughter to get a tattoo, especially without the OP being present.

“Soft ESH.”

“The biggest AH being your ex-wife.”

“Something like a tattoo on a minor should be something both parents agree on.”

“Honestly, I think it’s no wonder she ended up with a sh*tty tattoo.”

“Most good tattoo artists are able to be picky enough with their clientele that they won’t tattoo minors.”

“Extremely poor parenting on your ex-wife’s part.”

“As for you, I get where you’re coming from, but it was already done with.”

“No use in making her feel bad about something she cannot change.”

“I can’t really call your daughter an AH because she has a dumb parent (mom).”

“I remember when I started getting piercings with my own money as an adult, and my parent shamed me for it, saying it looked bad, even though it made me feel pretty.”

“It was a bad feeling.”

“I didn’t want to talk to my parent after that, mainly because I never asked their opinion in the first place but also because I liked how it looked.”

“I felt ugly embarrassed of myself when I looked at them.”

“I imagine she feels similarly.”- imisspeaches

“Personally I think ESH.”

“Having her wait until she is 18 is a smart choice and honestly the bare minimum, since tattoos are permanent and most of us look back at our teenage years and think our taste was questionable.”

“You went in the wrong by deciding for her what artist would do her tattoo.”

“That is not up to you to decide.”

“Your ex wife is even worse, encouraging a child to get a tattoo done is really disgusting in my eyes.”

“Neither of you should have gotten so invested in her tattoos.”

“You could have said that if she ever wants one she can wait until she is 18 and you can give her some advice or money to make sure she gets a non-crappy or otherwise easy to cover tattoo.”-Achterstallig

While others didn’t seem to think there were any a**holes in this situation, agreeing the OP had a right to express his opinion, but his daughter had every right to make her own decision with her mother’s consent.

“You’ve said your piece (peace?), and now it’s time to drop the subject.”

“Just as a side point … The line; won’t answer the phone I paid for’ can lead your brain down a damaging path.”

“Paying for something doesn’t give you rights over her behaviour or make her beholden to talking to you.”

“Letting yourself talk that way (even in your head) re-inforces a toxic and relationship-damaging way of viewing your parental duties.”

“Don’t do that to yourself or her.”

“NAH.”- HappySummerBreeze

While a few agreed the OP had every right to be furious, agreeing that not only should his ex-wife have known how much his daughter’s first tattoo meant to him, but that a minor getting a tattoo should have been a two-parent decision.


“I had a similar dynamic- we actually had it written In our parenting plan that we both had to agree for tattoos.”

“Obviously that only lasts until 18.”

“I was upfront with both of them that sh*tty tattoos are forever, unhygienic tattoos can create permanent problems, and high school partners names always get covered, and if they did any of them I would love them, but mock them mercilessly.”

“They both held off until 18, and they now both have tattoos, a couple of them bad, but they both were more cautious, especially about the hygiene.”

“As long as your daughter still has other ways of feeling supported by you, this is just a learning experience.”

“It’s good to learn that getting bay work done is embarrassing, and will make you the subject of mockery, because it’s the truth, and you should be careful and thoughtful before getting ink.”

“NTA for this, but make sure she gets the message that you still love, respect, and support her in other ways.”- Sad_Construction_668


“My dunba** got a tattoo at 17, and it was so bad and aged horribly.”

“I got it covered up later in life.”

“Matter of fact, all of my tattoos I got before 25 have all been redone.”

“Apologize to your daughter for hurting her feelings and offer to take her to your artist to get it fixed.”- BustAMove_13


“Your ex-wife going behind your back is a sh*tty move.”

“Have you considered offering your daughter a cover-up of the tattoo by said cousin?”- Louhlilo


“A tattoo for a minor is ‘a big parenting decision’.”

“Brad Pitt from Moneyball.”

“There should have been a discussion between the parents and the child and not a stunt pulled in secret.”

“The ex-wife is the AH in this situation.”- Classic_Might_7087


“It was not pleasant for her to hear but it’s a lesson for her as well.”

“The truth is sometimes very hard to hear.”

“Better it come from you but she would have been upset no matter who told her.”

“Your daughter and your ex are now acting childish, refusing to talk to you.”- hadMcDofordinner

Upon reading the responses from the Reddit community, a contrite OP later returned, acknowledging that he may not have handled the situation as well as he could have and where things currently stood with him and his daughter:

“Just apologized to her, and she was gracious enough to accept.”

“Looks like I might be off the hook on this one.”

“That was a close one.”

“Lesson learned.”

It’s easy to understand why the OP got as upset as he did.

But as others have pointed out, telling his child that a permanent addition they made to her body was “ugly” was not going to improve the situation.

It seems safe to say that everyone will be a little more careful in their decision-making after this experience.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.