Self-expression is so incredibly important for all of us, and how we will express ourselves will vary from person to person.
And not everyone will agree with how we express ourselves or who we want to be, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Illustrious-Act-439 was sending mixed messages to their son by having tattoos themselves while also wanting to choose whether their son could wear temporary tattoos or not.
When their ex-partner called them out on it, the Original Poster (OP) focused instead on how they felt the tattoo looked.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for saying I should have been asked before my son got a massive ‘tattoo’?”
The OP was surprised to hear their son had a tattoo.
“My son is 8 and thinks tattoos are cool, just like dinosaurs or UFOs or pirates.”
“His mom decided to do something outrageous by letting him get a fake sleeve tattoo of dinosaurs, UFOs, and pirates.”
“I found out after his teacher sent us an email about it. He thought it was too distracting.”
“I had not seen my son since Friday (we share him every week), so this was strange to hear.”
They were upset when they saw how large it was.
“I went to his school and surprised him. He was wearing a sweater and pulled it back to see his arm.”
“I asked him if had any other tattoos, and he said yes, on his side.”
“I lifted up his shirt, and the sleeve runs to his side.”
“His teacher was there and said it looked absolutely trashy, and I agreed with him.”
The OP later argued with their ex-partner.
“My son’s mom said she couldn’t believe we were making a big deal out of what was equivalent to markers and reminded us that she does not have tattoos, but we (the teacher and I) do.”
“I told her she should have run this by me first. I would have told her to tone it down.”
“When I gave him a bath, I tried washing it off, but it wouldn’t come off. This isn’t the cheap cereal box tattoo stuff.”
“AITA for wanting to be a part of this decision?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP had issues with their ex, not with the tattoo itself.
“For some reason, I get the feeling OP especially didn’t like them because the ex did it.”
“I just realized the OP has tattoos. Little man was trying to be like his pops!!!!”
“Dude, for real?! Just because a teacher called you from school doesn’t mean you have to call it trashy! Are you the trash? I think so maybe…” – EveryOutside
“The ex doesn’t have tattoos, which means that OP doesn’t have a problem with tattoos, he has a problem with his ex-wife, which is his problem, not the kid’s.” – dark-_-thoughts
“I think OP didn’t like it because the ex did it.” – snootnoots
“He absolutely hates his ex more than he loves his kid. I couldn’t even imagine calling my kid trashy to his face. What a downright classless thing to do to a kid.” – foundflame
“Fake tattoos on children are not trashy, Stop trying to put adult connotations on innocent happiness. Sounds like he had fun at his mom’s house. Stop trying to make him feel ashamed of it. YTA.” – Escape_Overlander
“Let’s be real, he’s upset because his ex, aka the mother of the child, made the kid happy.”
“That’s what OP can’t take. He’d rather his own kid be miserable than happy because of his mom.”
“Funnily enough, that was essentially my childhood. I’m a child of divorced parents and my father was just like this. Put my mother, my siblings, and I through every bad thing he could think of because he wanted to make my mother suffer.”
“And it was so d**n obvious too, all he cared about was making her suffer no matter the cost, and no matter how much his own kids suffered too.”
“It’s fake by your own admission. The kid loves it and seems proud of it. Stop raining on his parade.”
“Seems you are just mad that his mom did this with him.” – Ducky818
“I haven’t spoken a single word to him in almost a decade. Best decision of my life. I’ll celebrate the day he dies. The world is better off without a**hole abusive parents.” – BooksCatsnStuff
“Had to deal with this with my kid’s dad, too. He hated me so much that he made our kid suffer for it. It was a mess. My kid hates his dad now.”
“So OP, prepare yourself for your kid to grow up and hate you and you deserve it.” – Roninbean
“YTA. What a fun and special thing for your son’s mom to do for him and how ridiculous and sad for you to take that away from him.”
“Do you think maybe he likes tattoos because you have them? How hypocritical.” – gayforaliens1701
Others felt the OP was being incredibly hypocritical.
“YTA. Way to break the kid’s spirit. Fake tattoos aren’t hurting anybody and the kid is happy. Why ruin that?” – NUT-me-SHELL
“The OP wrote, ‘His teacher was there and said it looked absolutely trashy, and I agreed with him. My son’s mom said she couldn’t believe we were making a big deal out of what was equivalent to markers and reminded us that she does not have tattoos but we do.'”
“So, male tattooed teacher and tattooed dad shamed an 8-year-old for having fake tattoos? Nice hypocrisy. Maybe tattoos are only trashy on women and children, not on men?”
“If I was the ex-wife, I’d be taking this up with the principal.” – DrunkOnRedCordial
“I think the heartbreaking part for me was when OP said they had tattoos and the ex didn’t. The kid thinks tattoos are cool because he looks up to OP and wants to be like them.”
“And OP and the teacher ganged up on the kid to call him names. I feel so bad for this kid.” – LadySmuag
“It might not be a thing that lasts but something tells me that OP is one of those parents who makes fun of their kids for their appearances. And THAT sticks around forever.”
“Example: my 28-year-old self who has been in therapy for years, trying to heal from all of the bullying my mom subjected me to when I was a child, most of which was based on my appearance.” – TaderDot_93
“I looked up to my dad so much at 8 and wanted to do everything he was doing. I would also have thought tattoos were cool if he had tattoos when I was 8.”
“OP is s**tting on his kid for the crime of his ex supporting him looking more like him. What an a**hole.” – shadowmaster132
“I’m questioning whether or not OP added the part about the teacher actually saying it was ‘trashy’ so he doesn’t seem like the bad guy.”
“What parent lets a teacher, or anyone else for that matter, refer to their own child as ‘trashy’? That would be a full-stop for me.” – leftclicksq2
“The really sad part is that probably the reason why the teacher says it’s distracting is that the other kids are showing an interest in it and talking about it.”
“Instead of pivoting that into a lesson on body art in different cultures, or on dinosaurs and natural history, or on the oceans or things pirates might see on their travels, or the physics of space travel, or even just explaining that personal conversations need to be kept quiet until break time so the kids can learn professional behavior… he decides personal interests don’t belong in the classroom.”
“That doesn’t just affect this kid, who has such a shitty dad that he probably was going to be miserable either way. That affects every kid this teacher ever has in class.” – redcore4
“My mom used to do this any time I drew on my hands or anything as a kid. She’d call me trashy. Screamed at me in front of my friends. Would tell me I’d never get a job and all that other good shit. Over markers.”
“I am now covered in tattoos, and, not to brag, but making way more money than my mom ever did.”
“YTA, OP. I never forget that kind of stuff about my mom. I love her, but it’s part of why I don’t let her get too close.” – cametobemean
The subReddit was incredibly angry with the OP for how they handled this situation, especially given the fact that the tattoo was temporary and that it was something that made their son happy.
If the OP was struggling with their feelings about their ex, or having a hard time seeing their son have a relationship with his mother, or even feelings of regret around having his own tattoos, those are all feelings the OP needed to work out for themselves. They shouldn’t take it out on an 8-year-old.