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My oldest daughter (17) tattooed my 13-year-old son. What should I do? I'm deeply upset.

My oldest daughter (17) tattooed my 13-year-old son. What should I do? I'm deeply upset.

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valek

My oldest daughter (17) tattooed my 13-year-old son. What should I do? I'm deeply upset.

For more context, she tattoed an “angel number" of small size on his upper thigh. They both hid it from me. I have absolutely no idea when she did this or how long they've been hiding this. She has been practicing tattooing since she was 15 under the circumstances that she wouldn't tattoo herself or anyone else. She has broken both of these rules. The tattoo doesn't look bad however I'm extremely upset. I don't know what to do because she's very independent and never home nor does she seem to learn from punishments like taking phone and car away. They both are very intelligent unique kids and never have done something like this before. How should I punish both of them? I would prefer a bigger punishment for my daughter. I appreciate any advice. My daughter is also bipolar and I don't want to give her a punishment that could spiral.
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TOM-RO

Re: My oldest daughter (17) tattooed my 13-year-old son. What should I do? I'm deeply upset.

Hi Valek! ... Generally it is quite a difficult task to parent children who are clearly very unique and independent in their own way. We appreciate the time you've taken to reflect on how to manage it though. Most studies suggest that positive reinforcement (rewards for doing the right thing) are far more effective in managing behavior than negative reinforcement ( punishing for doing the wrong thing). Not to suggest that there should be no consequences here, but it might be worth thinking about how to encourage her to do the right thing as opposed to how to scare her from doing the wrong thing. (For example, If you agree not to tattoo yourself or others whilst under our roof, we will reward that behaviour by buying you some fake tattoo skin that you can practice on). In terms of teaching her about consequences: Oftentimes its helpful to ask the children themselves what they think is a fair punishment (Surprisingly, they often say things that are actually quite reasonable). One thing i might suggest is getting her to do some tasks like house work. This is because it doesn't socially isolate her (like grounding might). Ultimately its your decision in the end. I think regardless it should be clear to her that the reason she is being punished is because she didn't stick to her commitment, rather than for being interested in tattooing... I hope that helps and don't hesitate to reach out to discuss this more! all the best!