The topic of piercing children’s ears is something many feel strongly on. I’m not sure I’d consider it child abuse, but I was shocked to see the video of a baby that recently swept social media, reigniting the debate.
If you didn’t catch it, here it is:
I personally got my ears pierced when I was 8. I noticed a lot of other girls in my year at school had earrings, and decided that I’d like to get my ears pierced too. My parents discussed it and agreed that they were both happy for me to have my ears pierced, and decided that I’d have it done in the summer holidays when it wouldn’t cause disruption to P.E. lessons.
I plan to do the same with Autumn, waiting until she expresses an interest to have hers pierced. However, I was curious to find out other people’s views.
Agreeable to piercing
It gets it done
My daughter is 15 months now but I pierced her ears when she was 3 months old. I was a bit anxious as a first time mummy because of the pain she may experience, but she cried for a few minutes and the anxiety was over. I chose to pierce her ears early because in my family we tend to pierce our ears by 6 months. My partners mother was obsessed with the idea that my daughter needed her ears pierced to avoid looking like a boy. ( sounds silly I know) I don’t think ear piercing is mean or child abuse at all, it really depends on choice. The good thing is that babies have mums or family members to clean their piercings daily.
I can understand this view. After all, most girls do get their ears pierced in the end. In a way, it’s kinder to do it when they won’t remember the pain for long. Their parents are also completely in charge of looking after the fresh piercings too, which will ensure it is properly looked after.
Another reason that people may choose to pierce their child’s ears so young is for cultural reasons.
Segilola of Segilola Salami says that she thinks it’s a cultural thing. She’s of Nigerian descent and says that it’s very rare to find a Nigeran female who hasn’t pierced her ears. When she had her little girl, she was actually told off by family. This was because she waited until 6 months old to have her ears pierced.
She herself says that she would have been very upset in primary school if her ears hadn’t have been pierced, presumably as she would have been the odd one out. She thinks that if anything, having your ears pierced as a baby is less traumatic than when it is done as an older child. Her daughter barely even cried when she had her ears pierced. The worst part of it was actually the sound of the piercing gun, as it made them all jump.
It’s cruel and dangerous
I honestly think ear piercing in young children in cruel, they’ve not finished growing and are unable to make their own decision about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love piercings and tattoos but I got mine when I was old enough to choose. Babies in particular, do not understand what’s happening, they just feel the pain which is wrong. Something else to consider is how active babies and toddlers are, what if the jewellery gets ripped out during play? Their ears will permanently be scarred, purely because their parents wanted some gems in their ears. Yes kids grow up and may end up full of piercings and tattoos but why hurry up that process? Enjoy your kids as they are and let them make the choice when they’re old enough!
It’s not their decision
As a mum to a teenager and a tween, it is certainly challenging. I have just recently been through the ‘Mum, I want to dye my hair’ saga. After a discussion with my son, listening to what he had to say and what his reasons were for dying his hair, I went ahead and helped him do it.
Recently, I have seen the pictures and video of an upset child after getting their ears pierced. One sentence entered my mind while watching it “My body, my choice”. While I have nothing against anyone getting their ears pierced, body modifications, tattoos, dying their hair – whatever – it must be the choice of the recipient. The question remains though, how can a young child make an informed choice?
As parents, we are tasked with guiding, supporting and loving our children. Do we as parents have the right to inflict our desire to have our child look a certain way by taking the decision to put them through pain all in the name of fashion?
While I understand the rationale for parents wanting their child to have pierced ears, I would love them to take a step back and wait until the child is old enough to ask for and understand what they are doing. It’s their body, so it should be their choice.
I can definitely see the points that all these ladies make. On Twitter, someone actually told me that they had their ears pierced when they were 2. They were so glad their parents had done it. They like having pierced ears but think they’d have been too chicken to do it later on!
When it comes to Autumn though, I think she’s already been in enough pain with her operation and teething in her short life. I don’t want to inflict any pain on her that I don’t have to. As there are no cultural implications for us, I’ll be doing what my parents did with me. We’ll only get Autumn’s ears pierced when she wants. We’ll also have a discussion together first. Unlike my parents, I won’t be going to Claire’s, though. I’ll be taking Autumn to the tattoo and piercing shop that I go to for my piercings. I choose to use them because they’re clean, friendly and reputable. I know that when the time comes, they’ll be great with her.