Rich Galgano at Cliff's Tattoo in Centereach.

Rich Galgano at Cliff's Tattoo in Centereach. Credit: Kirsten Luce, 2009

I am a father of four and a grandfather of five. I've seen fads come and go. The column regarding the bill on body piercing caught my attention ["Do you have to drag parents into piercings?" Opinion, June 12].

Do you really think a 14-year-old has the maturity to make a judgment call on having her navel pierced? Do you really feel that for a parent to insert herself into such a decision usurps her children's need for self-expression? Do you think that teenage children know what the hell they are doing, or even thinking?

We laugh about it now, but my children remember well how we butted heads over generational disagreements when they were growing up. They thank God, now, that I stood my ground.

For the record, my four children are all high-earning professionals who have profound respect for each other and for my wife and me. I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive in that regard. The five grandchildren are all high-achieving scholars and great kids. So, I'm not a bitter or disappointed man, grumbling about how life has turned out. Instead, I see all the wreckage out there, caused by too many "enlightened" and "modern" parents who are terrified of saying no to a child who wants to mutilate himself or herself with iron rings and tattoos and other youthful follies.

Frank Salerno, Oceanside

I try to see all angles of a situation, and I certainly do with the issue of piercings or tattoos for those younger than 18. I grew up in the '60s and clearly remember boys my age beaten up by cops or their own fathers for having hair that was deemed too long. I vowed never to make an issue over something as silly as hairstyles or fashion when I had children.

In 1995, my 15-year-old son decided he had to have a nose ring. At the time, he had dreadlocks. My only concern was that the piercing be done using a sterile procedure; I am a registered nurse who thinks about stuff like that.

I accompanied my son to this event and was impressed with the staff's willingness to let me be present.

Months later, he got tired of the ring, and our family doctor removed it. Now my son is a (heavily tattooed) Marine veteran, college graduate and radiation therapist. We have fond memories of that event, which would not have been so special if my presence were required by law.

Ann Darcy, Huntington Station

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