Getting ears pierced
In my experience, I see three main times in children's lives when ear piercing occurs. Often, baby girls have their ears pierced as newborns, which is obviously the parents' desire and not the child's wish. Then, as early grade-schoolers, piercing-envy tends to occur as those without earrings want to fit in with the crowd of those who sport all kinds of cool stones and designs daily in the school setting. Then the trend seems to hit again in middle school when almost all kids are looking at each other and trying to either be clones or opposites. The desire to have pierced ears is very common with girls throughout these stages and I see no reason not to consider their request as long as you follow these guidelines:
- Having ears pierced is a privilege. Is your child doing her job in school and generally behaving at home?
- Will your kid be responsible enough, especially during the first two to three weeks following the piercing, to clean the site as well as to rotate the earrings so that infection doesn't occur.
- Your child realizes that even under the best of circumstances that ear piercing is painful, and that she may decide to stop after the first one is done, and she's had to endure the pain for nothing.
- Check to make sure that at least other girls in her grade and friendship groups have pierced ears. Most likely they do, but you don't want your child to be the odd one out and perhaps appear to be inappropriate to others.
Now, how about your son asking for a pierced ear or two? Well, ten years ago, I would have responded with a definite "no" to that request. However, having one ear pierced is not unusual for teenage boys. I would definitely say no for a gradeschooler, and probably no for a middle-schooler. Why? Well, it's still somewhat unusual for those ages and I believe that it might reflect poorly on the kid and his family. Face it, folks take looks at face value, literally, and teachers, administrators and other parents might assume that your child is impulsive, a risk-taker and a follower if allowed to pierce his ears. They might also assume that his parents are uninvolved and do not provide adequate guidance for their child. In high school, however, many boys do sport a pierced ear or two, but I would try to have the child wait and reconsider before putting a hole in his body. Ask him to talk with you about it again in 3 or 4 weeks — this buys him time to forget the issue if it's primarily impulse-driven, as well as your gathering information and time to calmly access his request.