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To Pierce or Not to Pierce

Like many of my friends, I first got my ears pierced when I was around eight years old. I remember going to the mall with my family, picking out a pair of sparkly green surgical-steel posts, and sitting still for the store clerk as she drew little dots on my earlobes where the earrings would go. The piercing was over in an instant and mostly painless. I look back on that rite of passage fondly, including the walk back to the car with a white-and-pink plastic bag that held antibacterial cleanser and care instructions. Finally, there it was – perhaps to my parents’ chagrin – irrefutable proof that I was growing up.
 
When I was a kid, body piercing wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. Even as I moved into my adolescent years my peers only had pierced ears. I’m sure an adorned nose, eyebrow, or bellybutton would have been looked upon with wonder and surprise.Deciding when your child should get his/her ear(s) pierced is entirely up to you. I enjoyed going with my parents and being old enough to remember the experience, as well as being responsible enough to provide my own aftercare. I personally don’t favor babies with earrings, but that’s primarily because I think they’re cute enough without additional decorations. I would also prefer to wait until my child was a little older so that they could remember the experience, which can be a little unnerving no matter the age of the piercee. 
 
One thing to consider is that people of all ages will be preoccupied with touching their new earrings, which can easily cause an infection. Though rare, ear piercing can also cause an allergic reaction (generally because of the nickel in earrings). These considerations aside, there is no medical reason to wait beyond infancy to pierce. I was allowed to get my ears pierced as a result of good grades on my report card, which made the event even more special since it was a reward, one which will last a lifetime.
 
Because stores that offer piercing services (including piercing/tattoo parlors) are increasingly common, you should simply make sure the technician who will handle your child’s piercing is trained and experienced. Stores will use a sterile piercing gun and stud earring from a factory-sealed package, and the piercer will wear disposable gloves for the protection of everyone involved.
 
The decision to pierce or not pierce need not consume your every thought. Consider offering it as a reward for a good job done, to celebrate a birthday (whether a first, 10th, or 20th year), or just a special event between parent and child.
 

[author] [author_info]About the Author

Guest writer Jody Steeple is a novelist, gardener, and mom to a three-year old daughter and seven year-old son. She still owns the jewelry from getting her ears pierced as a kid.

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1 Comment

  1. christin

    November 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

    This article brought back fond memories of getting my ears pierced. I remember the first ear piercing at age 6 and my Aunt did it with ice and a needle! YIKES! I had been begging for it and my mom finally relented. Then I started begging for a second hole as that became the popular thing to do. On my 12th birthday a different Aunt said she would take me if my mother gave permission. She did and so off to the mall we went and I was thrilled!

    Now I have three daughters and totally get why my mom was cautious with this decision. My oldest daughter had 0 interest in piercing her ears, but #2 was begging for it. When #2 was 6 y/o we found out that we were moving so as a special “moving away treat” we took her to get her ears pierced. She was so proud and thrilled to share her news with Grandma for Easter. A couple of years later my oldest decided it was time for her, so on her 11th birthday I escorted her and her best friend to Claire’s for the ear piercing ritual. Again, a memory made. I am glad that I have these fond memories and I hope that my daughters feel the same. Now I am waiting for #3 to start asking, she will be 7 this month. :)