Adults say it’s ‘freaky;’ teens say it’s ‘cool’


FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Is it a “bunch of freaks” or just a bunch of teenagers when you see a group with tattoos and eyebrow rings?

The navel rings, green hair, or tongue beads that are part of the adornment of teenagers are not important as long as the procedures are done safely.

“It heals, grows out, comes off, or can be covered by clothing,” said Angela Huebner, adolescent development specialist at Virginia Tech.

Shock value.

The beads, colored hair, and piercing are this generation’s way to be unique, she said. Every generation has something, and every generation of adults is shocked by it. It is part of life.

Teenagers have to dress to express themselves. In certain settings, they need to look the part and teens are still figuring out their part in their relationships with their peers and other adults.

It is important for them to fit into their group and not be left out and the adornments of tattoos and piercing are part of that.

Finding the real me.

At the same time, they know they are figuring out who they are in other settings. When they are with family, working at a job, going out on dates, going to movies, playing sports or other roles, they are learning to fit in, learning who they are.

Some teenagers might expend more effort to shock the adults in some settings but at the same time, they will be ready to fit in when it’s time for them to go to work.

“It is how society works,” Huebner said.


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