Parents everywhere add their voices to the refrain, “I wish they’d stayed small and cute” or “When will they outgrow this?” as their children hit the dreaded teenage years. If you thought that the Terrible Two’s were bad, then the hormonal angst, melodrama and frustration of being a teenager or young adult is doubly worse. Many of them transform into individuals with no respect for any form of authority while trying and failing to find their own voice. Even those who ‘escape’ this in their teen years often succumb in their youth.
Most teenagers go in search of tattoo studios the moment they turn 18. In many countries it is illegal for an under-age child to be inked in any way so for them this becomes one of the most blatant expressions of their new-found autonomy and freedom. Plus, this gives them a way to express their latest obsessions and passions. There is often the view that the youth get their ink on an impulse and come to regret it later on. While this may be true of some, there are others who think deeply about what they want and then get a design that they will cherish for their lifetime.
Anyone up for some hair colour? Along with tattoos Inner West this is another common form of rebellion, especially when teenagers and young adults go for colours like purple, neon and blue. Parents often find themselves at odds with children who insist on getting colours that are not humanly possible and when denied, do it on the first chance they can as soon as they are out of the house or in college. Thanks to permanent colour, washable dye, hair colour spray, extensions and a range of other products, teenagers can now rebel in all colours of the rainbow.
Piercing is either a cultural tradition or a social mortification, depending on where you are from. In South Asia, almost everyone (men and women) pierce one or both of their ears. In the conservative South of America, you may as well have signed a ticket to hell. Piercing is often seen as a rebellious subversion of societal norms, with your imagination being the only limit. Plus, it is often given a sexual connotation, with nipple rings and belly button jewellery often being heavily fetishized and exoticized.
So if you are parent/s to a teenage boy or girl, then hold onto your hats because you are in for a wild ride with regards to some push back against the establishment. Be ready to see some ink somewhere, a colourful mane and maybe, a nose ring too.