Lets start with that fact that it's awesome that people trust us to tattoo their children, of all places. It's appreciated.
Though the law in Virginia says that you can be under 18 with parental consent, the artists here do not tattoo anyone under the age of 18. There are many reasons for this, some personal and some moral, but regardless it's just not something we do here for those reasons, and the fact that we did not get the insurance policy to cover tattooing minors... which will be explained further down.
The way I see it is that when you turn 18 there are a few privileges you get: you can buy cigarettes, Hustler and Playboy magazines, and you can get tattooed. Whichever you choose is up to you, or none of those things, but the point is that you have to be 18 to do those things by yourself for a reason.
Tattoos are a lifelong commitment. It's often used as a form of self expression, which can sometimes be a momentary thing for even people over 18. I've always told anyone under the age of 18 that if you have a tattoo you want, put the artwork somewhere that you have to look at it every single day until you turn 18, or at least a year, and if you don't want to change a single thing then definitely get it done. Chances are something will change, if not the entire thing. Another issue is that people under 18 and freshly 18 usually want to put tattoos in highly visible locations. This is often considered a "job stopper" that most young people don't think about, because they just want to get tattooed. Tattoos are accessories and not necessities, and unfortunately sometimes they can stop you from getting that big job you went to school for and/or wanted so badly.
In the event that you decide to find someone to do the tattoo, a couple of things to remember and look out for:
-Is that artist licensed, and working inside a professional DPOR/health department regulated and licensed studio? You can look up the license of the artist or a business LLC on the DPOR website. They should also be displayed in the immediate view of the public in each studio.
-Does that studio have an insurance policy that covers tattooing under the age of 18? Studios are supposed to be insured, but the policy generally doesn't cover minors unless added on.
-Did you take a chance to thoroughly look through the artists portfolio? We all know tattoos are permanent, but sometimes we get too excited and in the "I don't care who does it" mood... always care... it's your body, make sure you are investing in it wisely.
As always, we are here to answer any questions you have so don't be shy!