Dear Abby: Woman gets a tattoo, shocking her mother

SHARE Dear Abby: Woman gets a tattoo, shocking her mother

DEAR ABBY: I raised my children to be respectful, responsible adults who are career- and family-oriented. Both are college graduates, married and successful.

My eldest daughter recently announced that she has been “going through something” and surprised us with a tattoo on her shoulder sporting her children’s names on a colorful, rather large background. I was shocked because she works at a large banking firm and was recently promoted as a senior financial investor.

I’m now afraid it will impede her career advancement, and also concerned it will encourage her two young daughters to get tattoos.

I have never encouraged my children to do something like this. I did not comment about hers. She has known how her dad and I have felt about this since she was a young child.

Am I overreacting? What does a mother say about something so permanent? I no longer feel I know this person I thought was “conservative.” — DISAPPOINTED IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Yes, you are overreacting. This is not a referendum on your parenting or your daughter’s character.

In a situation like this, a mother should ask her daughter what “things” she has been going through, and what that tattoo means to her. The mother should also recognize that her daughter is an adult now, and her choice to apply body art is just that — a choice. Then she should listen carefully to what her daughter has to say, so that, if necessary, she can be supportive.

DEAR ABBY: I’m originally from El Salvador. I have been living in the U.S. for five years, have been studying English for four years and have my GED.

I want to join the U.S. Marine Corps because it is my dream. I want to do it because I think that service to this country is the best thing I can do. I want to protect this country, and I want my family to be proud of me.

Here is the problem: My mom and my wife don’t want me to do it because they say it is dangerous. I love them both, but I want to achieve my dream. What should I do? — DREAMING IN HOUSTON

DEAR DREAMING: I appreciate the concern your mother and your wife feel for your safety. Because they love you, of course they worry. However, the person who must live your life is you.

If joining the United States Marine Corps is your dream, then following your dream is what you should do. Now is the time to have a heart-to-heart talk with your wife because this decision will have an impact on her life as well as yours.

DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter moved out of our home a couple of weeks ago. Do I have the right to ask for our key back since she no longer lives here and she moved in with someone I don’t trust as far as I can throw him? — TEXAS GRANNY

DEAR GRANNY: You not only have the right, but your granddaughter should have offered to return the key at the time she moved out.

Don’t be mean about it, just ask for the key. Or, because you don’t trust the person she’s now living with, have your locks changed in case he has already made a copy. It may cost you some money, but your peace of mind is worth it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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