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The question is rhetorical, of course. I have friends who had their babies pierced at their three-month checkups. But it is something we’re dealing with right now, so I’m asking.

We were on the way to my Mom’s house when Big Girl brought it up: “When can I get my ears pierced?” My husband and I are on the same page with this one. We both agree that ear piercing — at least for our girls — is something to put off a bit. My reticence comes from my own experience. Before my dad died he had decreed that I had to wait until I was 13 to pierce my ears. He didn’t like little girls to wear earrings. When he died my mom honored his wishes. I’d like to carry on the tradition.

My husband is more ambivalent, but he thinks that Big Girl is not necessarily an ear piercing candidate. She’s got a low pain threshold, and she is a nudge. Since he is the person who finger combs her hair every morning (and gets treated to screams and howls of pseudo-pain), I would personally feel bad for him when he has to twist her earrings and apply alcohol to her crusty ears.

Okay, so she asked. We both looked at each other and told her it was something that she was going to have to wait on. “But all the girls in my class have pierced earrings,” she wailed. Sigh. As I opened my mouth to ask her if we always do what other people do she jumped in. “I know we don’t do what everyone else does, but I want them!”

So then came the logic. It hurts initially. There is a lot of upkeep in the beginning: the aforementioned three times daily earring twisting and alcoholing. The possibility of infection. The daily pain during twisting. The fact that she screams if she gets a papercut. She howled at every point. She was not convinced.

The discussion ended because we got to our destination, but I know it’s not over. It will come up again. My husband says that maybe we make it a goal. Something she can strive to attain. And to that I say, I am not convinced. Will she be responsible enough to handle the daily upkeep? Will she even make it past the first hole? Once you do one you HAVE to do the second. Can she deal? I don’t know. But I do know that the old adage (Little kids, little problems. Big kids, bigger problems.) — is definitely true.

Do you have a little girl? If so, did you pierce her ears? When? If not, why not?

10 Responses to “How Young is Too Young for Earrings?”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m 34 years old and I don’t have pierced ears. I don’t really get why a person would want to poke holes in themselves, personally. :) My mom didn’t get her ears pierced until she was in her thirties (I would’ve been at least 7 years old), and little girls with pierced ears were not as common back then, so maybe that explains why I never felt the desire to have mine done.

    Maybe you could get her some clip-on (or magnetic) earrings to wear to school once in a while? Then she wouldn’t feel as left out, and you could still postpone the actual piercing.

  2. Lucy Donaldson says:

    As a mother of a 7 year old, and step-mother to a 13 year old, the issue hasn’t really come up which is quite amazing really! Might have to do with the fact that my 7 year old is a bit of tom-boy and isn’t really into that girly stuff, at least not yet!! However, being Portuguese, and seeing family friends who had their little girl’s ears pierced at a very, very young age I found the whole thing somewhat distrubing. Have you seen what a 6-month old looks like with earings? Light-bulb with switches on either side!! Awful… Seriously though, my mother also took the same approach, no earings till they are old enough to take care of the maintenance and responsbility themselves. My daughter seems to be ok with that, for now, and reinforcing the “gross-factor” also helps. The rule worked for me, and I had my ear’s pierced when I was 12. To this day, I’m glad I waited because it essentially made me feel like I was the one making the decision and it made me feel a bit grown-up. My ears never got infected, and learned to take care of them for me. Ah, maybe that is the lesson to be had here.. ?

  3. Tarrant says:

    My rule for the girls was they couldn’t until their first period when we would make it a celebration. Unfortunately, knowing this rule, their ex-step-mother went and got their ears pierced at around second grade. (yeah, fun times)

    The older one ended up with a nasty embedded earring that had to be removed by the doctor and no earrings for a couple of years. She got them re-pierced not long after her little sister had her ears pierced, but ended up freaked out remembering the earlier infection/minor surgery, so she stopped wearing earrings again the second she imagined infection.

    Little sister didn’t have her ears pierced for a year when she got her earlobe ripped while playing with a friend and earrings tangled with other child’s hair/necklace/something. So she later ended up on her second round of ear piercing. She sometimes wears earrings but mostly not.

    Her older sister, now in high school never wears them nor will she consider ever getting her ears pierced again.

  4. Deana says:

    They do them at the same time so it is a second of OMG and then done. No chance for her to veto the second ear because the first one hurt. Plus it will be an experience of taking care of herself. I had mine done around 9 years with my sister who was 7 at the time and I still remember how proud we were being able to take care of the twisting and alcohol. :)

    I say let her work her way towards it but let her get it. It is something she wants and is not too risky or dangerous. My favorite memory is my sister and me wearing earrings for every holiday right after we got them and it was always a fun tradition for holidays when we got the earrings. I still love having my ears pierced today and still have my certificate that they gave me and the picture my mom took right after.

  5. susandelg says:

    It all depends on the child. Some are responsible enough to understand the care and maintenance and participate in the initial upkeep. Others are simply not. J got her ears pieced just before k-garten, and was very good about the routine. She twisted them on her own, we cleaned them at night as part of our nightly chores, along with brushing teeth and hair. You can have both ears done at once so there’s only one shock. You know your own children the best — if Big Girl is up for it and willing to do the work, I can’t see the harm. If you doubt it at all, stick to your guns and wait.

  6. Green Momma says:

    I have three sets of holes in my ears, and my first set I got when I was around 6 years old. I asked my mom for them, and had her full support. I was 13 when I got my second set of holes, and 18 when I got my third. Next I want my nose, but I can see where that comes into problems professionally.

    Anyway, my daughter is 5. She has recently asked if she can get her ears pierced, and she has my full support. I’ve explained to her that it hurts, so I would imagine in the next few months she’ll get it done.

  7. kb says:

    Okay, you have to tell me how that goes.

    Me? I’m thinking that my Big Girl is all talk and no action. If we give in (and we will if she actually earns those earrings), she’s going to decide against it.

  8. kb says:

    I think your J is braver and less dramatic than my Big Girl. But we’ll see how it goes!

  9. kb says:

    Wow. Ex-stepmother is a little evil, hu?

    Your stories are why I want to wait. Glad everything worked out, and it’s nice to hear that there are people out there who don’t have earrings and are happy about it.

  10. kb says:

    I remember clip-ons! My grandmother didn’t have pierced ears and she would let us play with her earrings. It was so much fun! I wonder what made your mom pierce her ears so late (relatively speaking) in life? Bet there’s a story there!

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