I am obsessed with long hair.
When my daughter was young, she had the most amazing hair; long, and curly and bright red. It’s still red, but now she wears it cut short, because that’s what she prefers.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “I thought this was about ear piercing, why are you talking about hair?” Bear with me, we’re getting there.
Anyways, back to the hair. Years ago my daughter decided she wanted to cut off her long hair and donate it. I was proud, of course, though a little sad to see those long locks go. I was never the kind of mom who kept her daughter’s hair cut to shoulder length so it would be easier to manage, and like I said, I love long hair. But when she wanted to cut it, within days we had it chopped off.
See, just because I have a preference for long hair, and just because I really loved her Disney Princess-esque locks (No, Seriously) that doesn’t mean she has to have long hair if she doesn’t want to. Because it’s not my hair.
That brings us to ear piercing. When I gave birth to a little 8lb redhead that was declared to be a girl, it seemed like almost immediately people started asking when I was going to pierce her ears. To be honest, it kind of confused me. The way people asked so frequently and insisted I should “get it done early so she won’t even remember the pain!” …you’d almost think it’s a requirement to have her ears pierced. Which it’s not. Like, at all.
“You should pierce her ears so people don’t think she’s a boy!” people would say, as if it mattered if some stranger assumed my daughter was actually my son.
My answer then was always the same: I would take my daughter to get her ears pierced when (if!) she asked for them to be pierced.
Because it’s not my body so what gives me the right to literally POKE HOLES IN HER SKIN just so I can decorate her with shiny items she doesn’t need? What if she grows up and doesn’t actually want them? (and yeah, yeah, I know: “She can just take them out!” but then there will be holes left in her skin that don’t need to be there because she didn’t need her ears pierced in the first place!)
Furthermore, if and when the time came when my daughter wanted to get her ears pierced, I would take her to a licensed body piercer and get it done properly by a trained professional, with a needle and not by a gun at a costume jewelry store or a salon.
Look, I’m not against body piercing at all. I’ve had several myself, including some that I took out only to later have them re-pierced because I missed them. I’ve had piercings in a couple places that might make you squirm, and a few that you may not have even heard of. I think if someone wants to pierce any part of their body they should go ahead and get it done – by a trained professional, and after doing thorough research to ensure they’ll be able to care for it properly.
The funny thing about having (and voicing) this opinion is that people – mostly other mothers – get downright offended by it, particularly if they happen to have pierced their daughter’s ears as a baby, or if they had their daughter’s ears pierced with a gun. They respond with barely concealed irritation as if they need to defend their choice.
“Well I got my daughter’s ears pierced at the mall with a gun when she was 3 months old and it was fine!” they snap, as if I’ve insulted them by explaining my choice to wait. Which is so funny to me because I’m not judging someone else’s decision to do the opposite, nor do I go around just volunteering my views on the matter. But if you ask me the question, I’m going to give you my answer. If my answer has the potential to offend you, maybe don’t ask the question.
I made my choice because it felt right for what I believe and what I know.
I don’t believe pierced ears are necessary or a requirement.
I don’t believe it makes sense to get it done early so “they won’t even remember it!”
I do believe in letting children make their own choices regarding their body, their appearance and how they express themselves. This includes haircuts, their personal clothing style and yes, piercings.
I also KNOW for a fact that it is safer for many reasons to get any body piercing done by a trained professional with a sterilized piercing needle, and not with a piercing gun at some random store in the mall. This is a fact. You cannot dispute this. “I did it and it was fine.” does not negate the simple fact that piercing needle & trained professional is a better choice than a piercing gun, 100% of the time.
But, here’s the other thing, I also don’t care if you made a different choice, or if your beliefs or reasons are in complete contrast with mine. Whatever your choice, that was yours to make and is your business.
We all make our own choices and raise our children the way we feel is appropriate, and we (hopefully) make those choices armed with the various knowledge we’ve gained over time, and with the best of intentions.
The fact that piercing baby girls’ ears is such a normalized thing, so normalized that people actually find it weird when you don’t do it, is just so baffling to me. If I had a dollar for every time someone cried incredulously, “Haven’t you pierced her ears yet!?” I likely would have earned enough to pay for her college education before she even turned 5. When did we all collectively decide this was a necessary rite of passage? I just don’t get it. But I don’t have to get it. Because it didn’t feel like the right choice for us, so we didn’t do it.
As it turned out, my daughter decided she wanted to get her ears pierced when she was about 9. We went to a tattoo and body piercing studio and got it done by one of my friends who had been piercing professionally for over a decade at that point. She knows what she’s doing, she’s incredibly well trained and the entire staff there was fantastic. It was a great experience, and for awhile my daughter liked having pierced ears.
Then about 3 years later, she decided she didn’t want to wear earrings anymore and took them out.
And yes there are now holes left behind.
But at least she chose for herself.
Drop me a comment and let me know what you think. Do you think you should let kids decide when to pierce their ears on their own, or just get it done young so they won’t remember it? Do you have pierced ears? What was your experience?