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Moms Talk: When to Allow Pierced Ears?

Mostly this is an issue for parents of girls, but there are also boys sporting pierced ears these days.

As girls approach middle school, many start asking when they can get their ears pierced. Parents often look to see what others are doing before deciding on the right time for this right of passage. A milestone event like a graduation or birthday can provide a good way to highlight the event and make it special--or provide an excuse to put it off a bit if that's also a goal.

Carolyn Wootton noted that her first daughter was allowed to pierce her ears when she graduated from 5th grade, but the second daughter got permission a little sooner, right before 5th grade. Same thing happened with PG movies at our house.

Many choose the 13th birthday. It may seem strange to some cultures that we Americans wait so long, because it's common in some cultures to pierce girls' ears when they are infants or toddlers.

One thing's for sure, according to mom Andrea Bucklin--make sure the sports schedule is clear for a bit right after the piercing. In contact sports like soccer and basketball, officials will make you remove the earring during athletic contests and coaches will do the same during practices. For those first few weeks when the earrings are not supposed to be removed, it's best to avoid this hassle!

Parents of the younger set may not realize there may be pressure for a second piercing later, in the cartilage part of the ear or just as a double piercing in the lobe. These second piercings seem much more controversial among parents, some of whom worry about impressions made during college admissions and job interviews.

Let us know what you're doing at your house!

Michelle Bowers June 30, 2011 at 06:01 AM
My 6-year old has been lobbying hard for piercings for a few years already. I wish that I had made a decision about this earlier and had a set rule from the get-go rather than discussing and negotiating. I told her the other day it won't happen until she's 13. That didn't go over too well. We had about a half hour of (very loud) crying. I don't even want to think aboout the second piercing!
DeAnn Rossetti June 30, 2011 at 06:58 AM
I was not allowed to have pierced ears, back in the stone age (the 70s) until I was 16, and then, though I had it done in a doctors office, it all went horribly wrong and I have the scar tissue on my earlobes to prove it. My son has shown no interest in any process that might cause him pain or bleeding, so I think I am safe with him until he starts his rebellious phase, hopefully not for another 5 years or so. But we have two girls in our neighborhood who are Nicks age (11) who have had pierced ears for at least 3 years. One mom I know of even said she's not opposed to her daughter getting a tattoo on her lower back (and we all know what those are called) when she turns 13 or starts puberty, whichever comes first! That amazes me, frankly, because I can't imagine allowing ones child to mutilate their perfect skin with ink or excess holes. So my hat is off to you, Michelle for standing your ground with your 6 year old, which makes me gasp that she's even contemplating piercings at her age!
Diane Taylor June 30, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Michelle, several friends i've consulted all waited longer than age six for their daughter's ear piercings. Does your girl have friends who have pierced ears already? Maybe one strategy is to join forces with the parents of a good friend or two and come up with the same rule. Diane
Lenore July 01, 2011 at 05:10 AM
I made my daughter wait until 7th grade. My thought was that she needed to be old enough to take care of them by herself and ensure that they did not get infected. Besides, why let your daughter rush into adolescence at such a young age? It comes all too soon anyway.
Kim Fackrell July 08, 2011 at 03:07 PM
I have two daughters, ages 10 and 7. Both have been asking to have their ears pierced for years. My rule is after age 12 and I have been sticking to it. My 7 year old daughter has many friends that already have their ears pierced and the pressure is on, for her and me. I am happy to say that my 10 year old has reconsidered ear piercing altogether. She now realizes that there is pain involved and the possibility of infection and is not sure if she wants to risk it. This decision could change next week or next month but for now she is no longer begging to have it done. So hang in there Mom's, kids do change their minds! As for second piercings, if this is the worst thing they do at age 13 or so, more power to them.

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