Piercings, Carvings and Burnings

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Piercings, Carvings and Burnings
8
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 2:28pm
I need some feedback.

My daughter (13) secretly had a 17 year old boy who she didn't know pierce her belly button. We discovered it within a couple of days and took her to the doc. It was infected and she needed a shot to clear up the infection. She knew we would be upset about that kind of piercing so she tried to hide it and wants to do it again. A week before that she carved her latest boy friends initials into her arm and again hid that under a bandage.

My son (16) got a cigerette lighter really hot then burnt his upper arm with the metal part to make a scar just last week. He says he did it for the heck of it.

I have always told my kids that they could choose their clothes or the way the wore their hair but if they ever did something permanate (sp) to themselves I would be upset with them.

One other possiably important information: I lost my mom to lung cancer in March and we are all dealing with that. I mention this because they were very close with her.

Has anyone got an opionion on why kids do these things and what I can do to help?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 5:36pm
Sorry to hear you lost your mum, dh lost his recently and the grown ups in the family seem to be having more problems dealing with it than the young ones.

It could be that your teens are reacting to her loss and using these "permanent" things to help to try and make sense of things, but I am more inclined to think it is just normal teen behaviour. It's all about being an individual and showing originality in a sea of banality and conformity.

Certainly you could sit them both down and see how they are dealing with their Grandmother's death - ask if there is something you can do to help them with it.

After that, just reinforce your own rules about stuff like this. Don't come down like a ton of bricks or anything. Let them know that there have to be serious consequences for breaking your rules and there are much better ways to show originality. ie: Art, music etc.

They can always start this kind of thing when they leave for college. (They will probably have changed their minds by then anyway.)

Lynette

Avatar for yuccabugg
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 10:09pm
IMO, burning is SERIOUS and calls for counseling.

As far as the belly button, I personally think she's too young. Did the doctor talk about other things she can get from and improperly done piercing?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 12:56am
yuccabugg,

The doctor told my dd that the area around her belly button went straight to her liver. If the infection was to get to her liver they would have to open her up to clean her out. She was listening at that point but now she wants it back. I keep checking her to make sure she doesn't do that again.

You said that the burning needed counciling. He shugs it off as nothing even pulling the scab off to increase the chance of scaring. I am really bothered about why he would want to do that (hurt himself) as well. This is the motivating factor that brought me to this site for the first time today. I also wondered if it was a growing fad with other kids. Thanks so much for responding.

Shelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:59am
If he pulled the scab off "to increase the chance of scarring" he's going to be in for a surprise.

In medical terms, that's called "debreiding" (although I'm sure I spelled that wrong) and it is done to "reduce" the chance of scarring (although he may get it infected if he's not careful). I spent 7 months in a burn unit in 1987-1988 having the scabs and scar tissue on my right arm scraped off three times a day (and picking up a nice codeine addiction along the way - you have to be pretty high to have someone take a stiff brush to remove the scabs and scar tissue from a quarter of your body three times a day without screaming yourself silly).

Firefly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 2:05pm
I agree with yucca that the cutting of initials into the one child's skin and the burning of the other child's skin are issues that require counseling. Particularly since this child is pulling off the scab and actively seeking to scar/mutilate himself further. This sounds like a cry for help in dealing with issues he's not able to handle alone.

That said, I have three teens. Their dad and I have some tattoos, and their dad has an earring in one lobe. This is more an expression of our individuality than anything else; we certainly didn't enjoy the discomfort of the procedures! As a nurse, am aware of the risks of infection and of contracting blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV when the procedures are carried out, and have always lectured my kids that if they ever have such things done, they are to ensure that they are only done by professionals in a STERILE manner and that they follow any hygiene instructions after the procedure METICULOUSLY.

Currently my 19.5 dd has a tattoo in the small of her back (her present to herself on her 18th birthday); a tongue piercing (since freshman year high school), multiple ear piercings (lobes and cartilage), a small stud in the side of her nose (since freshman year college) and a ring through her lower lip (also done freshman year college.) She HAD a navel piercing which she decided she didn't really like, and so she let that heal, and an eyebrow ring (again, she didn't like it after all and let it heal.) Her hair has been every color of the rainbow, from its natural "dirty dishwater" blonde to aqua. My 17.9 dd has a navel piercing, two earlobe rings and one ear cartilage piercing. Her hair has also been every color of the rainbow, from its natural dark ash brown to fuchsia. 14.9 ds HAD an earring in one ear, but got tired of taking it out for sports practices and meets, so he let that heal over. Right now he expresses his individuality through his clothing (the skateboarder saggy baggy jeans look) and hair style/color; I never know from one day to the next whether my son will have a green (or other color) Mohawk, a bleached blond buzz cut, or whether he will have shaved his head completely bald!

So far, none suffered no infections or adverse effects of any kind....but they never had any of these procedures done on the sly either. Oldest dd of course is an adult now and I have no say over what she has done any more, but even when she was underage and needed my permission (like the other two still do), she came and got my consent to do so....and I went WITH her to ensure that sterility was maintained and proper attention was paid to the professional's instructions on care of the piercings. The other thing dh and I have ALWAYS stressed to our three kids is: never have anything permanent, like tattoos, done to yourself unless you're absolutely positive you can live with the results for the next forty or fifty years. (Piercings are slightly different, they may leave a scar, but they will heal over. Tattoos won't.)

Hope my "tales from the trenches" helped some, and that things work out with your teens.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 2:36pm
Firefly,

I can't imagine the pain you had to go thru in the burn unit.

I'm not 100% positive that he scratched the scab to increase the chances of scaring or not. That was my assumptsumn because when I was a child my mom always told me "Leave the scab alone or else you'll get a scar". Thanks for educating me differently and oh, what a picture you created in the process. LOL

Shelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:03pm
Dreimutter,

Thank you for your post and now I can say "My eyes have been open"!!!!!LOL

I think I must be a very conservitive parent. When I told them about the freedom to do their hair and to choose their clothes, that was the extent of self expression I was willing to allow. LOL

I agree that if a proceedure is done it should be by a professional.

My dd is in councilling now. When I got my hair cut today some of the women were saying that many boys were doing the burning on their arms that they feel it looks cool(the boys). Last night I got onto the message board for self injury because I am so concerned. I learned alot and I will continue to look for signs of self mutulation.

Thanks for your response and I did learn from you that because you are open to more things your children don't do them on the sly.

Shelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:14pm
I didn't go through any pain at all. I did, however, go through lots and lots of Demoral and codeine. I still can't take anything with codeine in it or I go through withdrawl again.

It was a bad, bad time, but it also led to my current career, which led to my living in Milwaukee when I did, which led to my meeting my wife and having my kids, so I wouldn't change a minute of it.

Firefly

P.S. And if you're gonna douse your arm in 450 degree propylene glycol, do it in ambulance range of Parkland Hospital in Dallas like I did. They fly kids in from Germany to the burn unit there, it's that good.