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Dear Caroline,

To our horror, our daughter, 28, came back from a year of travel with tattoos, a pierced nose and a man who looks the same way.

We didn’t raise her this way and are grief-stricken. What can we do?

…Parents Past Hope

Dear Parents,

I have grown children of my own, so I understand your initial reaction. However, there are times we have to remind ourselves that though our children share 50 percent of our DNA, they’re not our clones. Once they’re adults, we have no control over what they do.

Your daughter didn’t ask for your opinion before she made these changes to her appearance, and nothing constructive will come from your offering your opinion now.

These days, tattoos and piercings are very mainstream. People from all walks of life have them, regardless of upbringing, education or morality. Odds are your daughter is sporting body art for one simple reason: She likes it. Though we may not always agree with the aesthetic choices we see, we have to respect the fact that everyone has a psychological need to look the way they want to look.

If you value your relationship with our daughter, learn to accept her decisions, get to know her new guy and be there to offer your best advice, but only when you’re asked.

Wishing you a speedy adjustment period.


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