On Teenagers and Tattoos Essay

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Summary of "On Teenagers and Tattoos" In "On Teenagers and Tattoos", published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr. Andres Martin advises fellow psychiatrists to think of teenage tattooing not as a fad or as a form of self-mutilation but as an opportunity for clinicians to understand teenagers better. Martin examines three different reasons that teenagers get tattoos. First, he argues that tattoos help teenagers establish unique identities by giving them a sense of control over their evolving bodies and over an environment perceived as adverse and domineering. Second, he believes that a tattooed image often symbolizes the teen's relationship to a significant concept or person, making the relationship more visible and real. Finally, says Martin, because teens are disturbed by modern society's mobility and fragmentation and because they long for stability and rootedness, the irreversible nature of tattoos may give them a sense of permanence. Martin concludes that tattoos can be a meaningful record of survived teen experiences. He encourages therapists to regard teen tattoos as "self constructive and adorning efforts", rather than as "mutilatory and destructive acts" (113), and suggests that tattoos can help therapists understand teenagers better. Works Cited Martin, Andres. "On Teenagers and Tattoos." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 36 (1997): 860-861. [Note: this summary is adapted from The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing. John D. Ramage, John C. Bean and June Johnson. 5th ed. New York: Longman, 2009. 118-119.

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