Sunday, August 9, 2009

A piercing question

When I was about seven years' old, my best friend had her ears pierced. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and wore what I thought were the coolest sleepers I'd ever seen. I desperately wanted to look like her.

Clearly, I needed my ears piereced, too.Hoping for an easy agreement, I approached my mum, who gave the time-honoured "Ask your father."Crap.

So, I steeled myself. My dad was (still is) an intimidating man. Very strict. VERY old-fashioned. But I asked. And was (inevitably) refused.

"Not until you're 16," came the answer...and then came the longest nine years of my life, or so it felt at the time! Oh, how I resented my father for that inexplicable decision. I was one of a handful of high-school age girls who had naked ears. Clip-ons hurt and looked plain stupid. I felt I'd never be cool enough.

Finally, the day of my sweet sixteen dawned and you could not get me in that ear piercing chair fast enough. Of course, it wasn't the life-changing experience I'd anticipated, but at last I felt like...well, I guess a bit like a woman.

So, I've been thinking about when is the right age for my girls to have theirs' done...because there is no way in hell I will make them wait like I had to. But neither do I want them to be wandering around in earrings before they're really appropriate.

I'm opening up to the floor - what do you think is the 'right' age for girls (or boys) to pierce their ears?


carly_grace said...

my mum let me get mine done at 5years [same with my sister]. i remember screaming and crying when it got down and i was lucky enough to have both ears done at the same time. though when i was eight a dog pulled the earring out and well lets just say the big wuss that i am, wouldnt let anyone put the earring back in and so the hole closed up. about 9 months of having ONE ear pierced i took the other out.

i had them re-done when i was 14 as all my friends had theirs and i missed wearing earrings. that was short-lived.

i cant remember the last time i wore earrings and since have closed over. i would like them done again but im here nor there on the matter.

as for the 'right' age - my mum asked us at 5 if we wanted them done :) but i think mum was like you and had to wait. she even has both ears pierced twice! which was totally out there way back when!

Angela said...

I was 5 too. I think this is a pretty good age. I don't really like seeing them on babies and always worry about them or siblings pulling on them.

I wear earrings rarely now. I can feel them in my ears and don't like it. I wear them on special occasions, maybe every 6 months or so. They don't close over. Maybe I just wear them often enough to stop it.

I'll probably ask Sarah when she is around 5 if she wants them. I don't know if she'll be very interested as I don't wear them.

Liss said...

I think I was 4 and it was done with a gun! :o My mum was a bit of a hippy though. I'm far more conservative than her and I remember playing with them too much, them getting infected etc. etc. I think 13 for my girls - make it part of moving on to teenagerdom rite-of-passage kind of thing.

Brenda said...

Hannah had hers done when she was 4 but the girl-piercer didn't do it properly. The right ear was a bit off-centre. So I took the earring out and now the hole is closed.

I am too lazy to go now so I'll just wait till Sophie's 4 or 5, then they can both do it together.

I know slacker mummy...but if Hannah wants to do it before Sophie's ready then I'll take her. Until then my girls will remain un-pierced. heh heh.

Katyberry said...

My mum really did me over by refusing to let me get my ears pierced until I turned 16, and in the intervening years lectured me about "why would anyone want to put a hole in their bodies" until I was no longer interested. Eventually got them done in my mid-20s to accommodate some lovely sapphires.

My girls will be waiting until they are 13. Sorry to go against the trend, but I really don't like earrings on little kids. ESPECIALLY babies. Looks pretty bogan I think (my mum did a good job didn't she?!).

Anonymous said...

I was told I could have them done "when I moved out of home". I thought this was completely unrealistic and although I felt bad at the time--I don't deal well with guilt, I had mine pierced at 17.

It was bad because my mum did the "so disappointed, stupid girl" thing, which was a complete over-reaction. I went on to get an extra three holes in my ears, and my belly done. And I'm petrified of needles.

I think that it would be better to allow it to be done before you make 'a thing' of it, and bring on a rebellion of epic proportions... the piercings were just a start!

Jessi said...

i think between 8 and 10 would be a good age :)

i don't have girls so i may not have to face this problem

i had mine done with my mum, my nana and my older sister all on the same day!

i can't stand the look of babies with earrings but that is just me!


Market Girl said...

I really think it is up to the Mum and the girl. What ever suits them at the time. My daughter is 9 and I would love for her to get them done, I just don't think she is responsible enough at the moment.
Hope that helps?

Anonymous said...

I never had mine done - seeing so many weepy pussy ears on my students turned me right off. Though i did let my daughters have theirs done.

stepforddreams said...

Funny you ask this question Amanda.

I was once on one of those forums you know the type frequented mainly by bogans where you talk about when your baby is due, you write up a birth story all of that?

Yeah anyway once someone asked the question, is it ok to pierce a BABY'S ears?

I answered that I didn't think it was ok to inflict pain on your little baby for reasons of fashion or vanity.

I also said I thought piercing the ears of baby was a bogan thing to do. I was flamed off the forum for making those comments.

I stand by it.

I think if a child understands that having her ears pierced will hurt and that if they still want to go ahead with it then they will have to agree to maintain them in good hygiene to avoid infection etc then I gues it is ok.

In my mind the child has to be old enough to give informed consent. I wont give you a specific age because I think that will vary from child to child. One might be 7 and another 13 who knows? The informed consent part is important to me.

madmumoffive said...

It's up to the parents and the daughters. Grace had hers done this year when she was seven, she asked, and they look great.

The big issue that I will have is when girls start to shave their legs??? Does anyone have any ideas???

Helen said...

I had mine done when I was about 11, I had to save up the money myself - with pocket money at 50c/week it took a long time to get the 14.95 it cost.

Anonymous said...

I actually really don't like earings or piercings, so we're not going to bother with earings for E for a long time. If she desperately wants them when she's older, we can talk. But she'd need to be old enough to look after the earings she's wearing.

My neice had them done when she was 6 months old, and I think they look AWFUL. They're these large white gold diamante things - a really strange choice for a baby. My MIL and SIL have tried to convince me to get E's done, but I don't have the heart to tell them it looks ultra fug.

Eco-Chic-Mummy said...

I was made to wait until I was either 12 or 13 - funny, it was SUCH a big deal at the time but now I can't even remember which, it was one of the two though. It was more excruciating for my younger sister than me, as she had a friend who rubbed her nose in the fact that my she wasn't allowed pierced ears yet, and my poor little sis had to watch me get them done knowing she still had to wait 2.5 more years. Oh the dramas!

Anyway, my point was, I think 12/13 is a good age. Old enough to appreciate them, take care of them etc. And it's good to teach children that piercings aren't just something you rush into, as the scar (if you stop using them) is usually permanent. However, I agree with Stepford Dreams that the age will vary from child to child. However, again, the tough thing is that the child will want to know WHEN they can get them done, so you sort of have to give them an age or they'll die not knowing!

As for the shaving - mumofffive - that is a tough one too. My Mum TRIED to put me off, saying I'd never get back the lovely soft fine blonde hairs if I started, but I didn't listen. I think I was 12 or 13-ish as well. I don't wax, but am jealous of the girls I know whose Mums got them onto it at a young age as they have barely any leg hair now. Thoughts on whether it's appropriate to try to steer your daughter to leg waxing? Mine is only 17 months so I have plenty of time before I have to deal with this!

Amy Sheaves said...

I think laziness and the idea of pain kept me from getting mine done ‘till I was 19. The only reason I decided to take the plunge was encouragement from my future m-i-l who wanted to buy me a pair for the big day. As it turned out, I ended up choosing a gorgeous pair of antique screw-on’s.

Cerry said...

I got mine done 2 weeks before my 8th birthday, as and early present. I'd been begging for 5 years, and been told no over and over again. Then one of my friends got hers done, and it got rinfected and really gross, and apparently painful. When I told my parents about it, mum said that was one of the things that might happen when you got your ears pierced, especially if you didn't take proper care of them like the piercing people told you to. I said "Oh...but it gets better, right?", was told yes, and still wanted my ears done, so I was taken to the chemist to get them done on the weekend. I think mum and dad were basically just waiting for me to see how incredibly gross piercings could get when they were infected, and why the post-piercing care was important. I don't think I would have ever believed them if I hadn't seen it at that age. And I think kids really need to have that understanding before they get piercings. I also think that they should be old enough to take care of their own piercings, because most parents have better things to do with their time than put spray on ears, and turn earrings to stop holes healing over them.

willywagtail said...

I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced so rebelled at 18 and had them done and also started shaving my hairy legs. I decided both were a big fuss over nothing and have allowed either daughter to start when they were ready and responsible (in the case of earrings. You can hold off for too long with little things like these and make them into issues for rebellion. They are not worth that as their are far more important issues to deal with such as drugs and sleeping with guys that really do matter. Show your children you trust them in the little issues and they may just trust you in the big ones. Cherrie

Anonymous said...

I got my ears done on my 8th birthday and I was always glad I had them done - so I feel very sorry for you that you weren't allowed!

My girl was 3 years old when I took her to the chemist to get them pierced and it was a huge mistake.
She was just too little.

I think around 6 might be a good compromise?!? The start of 'big school' ?

LizValerie said...

Its a tough question, i really hate seeing them on babies and young girls. I was told i had to be 10 but after years of begging mum gave in for my 8th birthday, i think this is a very normal and acceptable age to get them done, i dont think they look right on anyone younger than 8. As for boys i think it is strictly a teenager thing, i once saw a 5ish year old boy with an ear pierced and it looked horrific!

Amanda said...

Thanks for all your comments - personally, I'm thinking the time will be right when (a) the girls are interested (b) old enough to take care of their ears. Who knows what chronological age that will be?

Tara said...

Oooh good post Amanda. I was made to wait until I was 12. My mum was really strict about it and when it finally came around I was SO EXCITED! It also meant I was old enough to look after them myself, which was a big learning curve!

In terms of leg shaving, I ws told I had to wax my legs first and I started waxing at about 14 I think. It wasn't until I was 17 that I progressed to shaving. Partly because of the little girl thing and partly I think because I am so clumsy that I always managed to cut myself shaving!

Amanda said...

Oh yes, shaving...I think I was 12 or so...managed to shave about three layers of skin off my shin bone the second time...eek!

Bethwyn said...

I got my ears pierced when I was 8. I asked and mum said yes, so off we went. They got severely infected thanks to the fact that I'm apparently allergic to their antiseptic crap, and they hurt! But they healed nicely after that and have been fine since. I think when they ask and are old enough to care for them themselves is fine. I don't think there's really a correct age, it all depends on each family and each child.

As for shaving, I think I was 12, too. I sneaked using my dad's razor and shaving cream. I was hairy!

pawpaw said...

I'm going to disagree with the bogan baby piercing comments. I personally wouldn't do it to my (future) kid/s, however sometimes it's a cultural thing.

I'm sure my sister had her ears pierced as a baby, but my mum didn't take me to get mine done til I was in kinder (I think I must've been 3 or 4). I don't remember asking to have them done and I don't remember if they hurt, although I do remember mum took me to a doctor's to have them done. After she gave me a Big M and Mars Bar for being a good girl.

I don't know if it still is, but it was fairly common when I was little for mums of Indonesian/ Malaysian culture to pierce their baby's ears (my mum is Balinese).

wonderpet said...

I don't have girls but I reckon about 10 is a good age. I got mine done at about 16 not because Mum wouldn't allow it, just because til then it didn't seem important. I'd love to see my boys in an earring - but only once they hit highschool - AND only if they want. On the other hand I shiver at the thought of feral teenage boys looking after earrings! Blah!!

As for legs - I have very fine leg hair and what I do have is blonde so I'd never got around to it as a teenager. Then one day in my year 9 woodwork class a little s**t of a kid spurred on by his mates used a piece of sandpaper to sand my legs. I was horrified and humiliated and shaved that night. So I think that has coloured my experience - if I had a daughter I'd let her start shaving as soon as she started going on about her friends doing it. Not that I did but I'd be desperate to spare her the humiliation I felt.

PottyMouthMama said...

We (my two sisters) and I weren't allowed to get ours done until we were 16 or 17. I think I snuck off and got mine done for my sister's wedding, but I must have been around 16. Though it wasn't a big deal, I just remember wanting to wear proper earrings as a bridesmaid!

Unknown said...

I got my first ear piercings when I was 6 months old, my second holes at 12 and my nose at 13 (right nostril) If I ever have kids I will get their ears pierced as a baby as I feel it looks really adorable and they are more likely to get them infected when they are four or five. As for second ear piercings I would say 11 or 12 but they would have to make sure it was something they really wanted. Any other body piercings I would say 16+ except for a nostril piercing at 13-14 if they really wanted it but only a small stud would be allowed. :)