14/06/2011 18:22 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers Or Piercings And Tattoos

Surviving Teenagers or Piercings and tattoos Corbis

Out of all the things your teenagers can do, getting themselves punched with holes isn't the worst. But it's still scary. You wonder where it will stop.

My 16-year-old wants both ears studded with jewellery. I should count myself lucky, I suppose, that she's not thinking of piercing her tongue.

It's the same with tattoos. I know the Beckhams have got them. Angelina Jolie has a dozen, I think. But they still make me very uneasy. What if you change your mind? And don't tattoos look horrible when you get old and your skin goes all wrinkly?

Piercings leave a scar. Tattoos remind you forever of the day you got inked.

What it boils down to, I think, is that I don't want my teenagers doing anything they'll regret, whether it's piercings, tattoos, unexpected babies or mind-rotting drugs. Most things you can put right with money and time. But why make life hard for yourself?

'What if you have a tattoo,' I say to my eldest, 'and then you want to get the kind of job that disapproves of them?'

'Like what?' he says.

Fleetingly, I imagine Kate Middleton with blue barbed wire round her neck.

'I don't know,' I say. 'A lawyer. An accountant. Someone who works in an office making a lot of money.'

I live in hope.

'You wear a shirt in an office,' he says. 'No one would see.'

This is the problem with arguing with teenagers. They're wise to the arguments before you've even said them.

When I was 18, my boyfriend's mother fainted when she saw he'd got an earring. (It was a long time ago.)

I don't want to be like that. But I think if any of my offspring end up branded like sheep, I might faint, too.