One day, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw this from Tarotmore: “My theory: receiving a tarot reading is entering into a contract, and those under 18 can’t consent on their own. Thoughts?”
This sparked a small dialogue on Twitter and a richer one with my peers and husband behind the scenes.
At what age should a young person be able to seek a tarot reading without parental consent?
Does a parent need to be present when a teen gets a reading? Or does that infringe on the teen’s privacy?
And the bigger question: at what age do we need to stop treating teenagers like babies who are incapable of making decisions on their own?
As a tarot reader, I’ve read for many young people over the years (I’ve watched some of them grow up, get married, and have kids of their own). Most of the time, those readings were great fun for me and the teen. On a few occasions, the lack of maturity created issues. For example, the young girl who was obsessed with a member of a boy band and got furious at me when the cards did not show a future together (note: that lad came out as gay a few years later).
But hear this: age is not a barometer for maturity or wisdom. I’ve read for some mighty “adult” young people and I’ve read for a LOT of immature, irresponsible so-called adults.
Although I don’t believe that a tarot reading is “entering into a contract”, a reader does need to keep in mind that judgment can be spotty during those hormonally-charged teen years so it is wise to protect yourself and your business by insisting on parental consent for anyone under the age of 18.
This way, you have some protection in the rare case that a parent decides to blame you for some poor decision that their child makes.
That being said, if you decide to allow teens to set up appointments without parental consent, you may still want to encourage them to talk with their parents about the reading.
As far as a parent being present during the reading, that should be between the child and their parent. Let them figure that out before they sit down at your tarot table. I do believe a teen should be given the option because there may be some things that they do not want their parents to know and they should be entitled to have some say in that.
This also means that confidentiality must be extended to your teen client. If the parent is not present at the reading, you should NEVER tell them what was discussed during the session. Even if a parent prods for information, you must remain mum. The only exception to this rule would be if the child was in immediate danger (ex: threatening suicide). In that case, do the right thing and alert the parent.
Although I do believe in asking for parental consent as a way to protect your tarot business, I also want to say this: if a teenager can be trusted to drive a car or enlist in the army, they should also be trusted to make other decisions. At some point, a parent has to step back and begin letting the child be an adult.
For example, when I was a teenager, I purchased birth control without telling my parents. I grew up in a Catholic household and birth control was forbidden. But I was sexually active and did not want a child. I made a responsible decision. My parents would not have liked it one bit which is why I was grateful that I could get confidential access back then.
As a parent to two children, I found the best approach to most things was to educate my kids and then give them freedom to figure things out as they needed to. If you give your child information and then trust them to be responsible, you are setting up them up to learn how to make critical life decisions on their own. That leads to healthy, independent adults. (For the record: I always treated my children like adults who are fully capable of making their own decisions – and they both turned out great, despite a few missteps here and there. Those missteps were actually helpful in their maturing.)
If your teen is interested in getting a tarot reading, a good idea might be to research readers in your area with your child and make sure the reader is reputable. You might want to get a reading first to see how they operate. Then, if you feel they are legit and a good fit, let your teen make the appointment.
One final note: do NOT take your child to a tarot reader to “straighten them out” (yes, I have had parents do just that). We are not here to play some sort of “Scared Straight – The Tarot Edition” or to do the parenting for you. That’s YOUR job.
Teens are at an important crossroads – they are not quite yet adults but they are no longer babies. Finding the middle ground is not an easy feat for the young adult or the adults in their lives.
Although many teens are mature enough to understand a tarot reading and enter into it responsibly, you must protect your business first and foremost. A sound consent policy will do that but even better: educate young people on what tarot is (a tool for reflection, self discovery, and conscious decision making) and isn’t (a guarantee that they will marry Justin Beiber or become President of the United States) so that they come to the reading with a clear and level-headed mindset.
That is the smartest policy of all.
What are your thoughts? Should a tarot reader have a parental consent policy or not? Is it a parent’s business or should this be solely up to the teen? I’d love to hear your opinions. Share ’em with me on Twitter @thetarotlady
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015
image from stock photography