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To Pierce Or Not To Pierce, That Is The Question?

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I want to state up front that the opinions expressed below are simply that, opinions, my opinions and this post is in no way meant to offend anyone.

So, piercing. More specifically, piercing my 2 year old daughters ears.

I know a lot of people pierce their baby girls ears, something which is more prevalent in some cultures than what it is in others. I’m English, South African English, it’s generally not a practice that is followed by my cultural group. Walter is Afrikaans, it is a more widely practiced tradition in his culture. I don’t like it, Walter does.

Two days ago he pipes up and says he thinks Ava would look really cute with pierced ears. I’m not so sure. For me, ear piercing is like a right of passage. I got my ears pierced when I was 8 years old, after I’d asked my Mom and Dad to get it done. It was a gift my parents gave me as a reward. The condition was, if I passed my year with a certain grade, I could have my ears pierced. I worked hard and I passed my year with the required grade. The Saturday after my report was delivered, my Mom and Dad took me to town (doesn’t that sound old fashioned) and we went to get my ears pierced. I wanted it so badly but I was scared. I made my parents walk up and down Wynberg main road about 4 times, each time we passed the jewellery shop, I’d say that yes I wanted my ears pierced, we’d go in, the lady would get everything ready then I’d freak out, say I didn’t want it any  more and walk out. Rinse, repeat 3 times. On the 4th time my Dad stepped in, told me to stop being ridiculous, pushed me down on the chair and before I even knew it, my ears were pierced. I have not ever regretted getting my ears pierced. But I do feel it was a right of passage in a way and I wanted it to be the same way for Ava.

I wanted us to make a special Mom & Daughters day out when the time came for her to get her ears pierced. Go do a little shopping, have some lunch and then as her right of passage, get her ears pierced, the time would be right when SHE asked me for it.

Walter see’s it differently. He feel that we should have it done now, while she’s still too little to know or understand that it may hurt a little and avoid the trauma of the experience. But I’m not convinced.

I don’t like earrings on a little girl. I feel it’s doing something pretty much permanent to her body without giving her a say or a choice in it.

The problem with my argument that it should be something that is done only when she asks for it, is the fact that she is already asking for it. She’s forever trying to get my earrings on her ears, she even has sticker earrings that she sticks on her ears.  Now what?

If you have a little girl, did you pierce her ears? What are your thoughts and opinions on this. I’m really still unconvinced that it’s the right thing to do.

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42 Comments

  • Reply Tan

    I’m so with you on this one it was like a right of passage for me as well as I really must be honest I am not a big fan with babies having their ears pierced . Which is why i point blank refuse to get my girls ears pierced. They can have it done when they can look after their ears properly not before.

    But it is a hard one if she wants it. I do think your instinct is right only do it when she has a say. just my opinion.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Gina

    I posted about this last year: http://gnatj.com/2011/06/21/sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-nice/
    I agree that doing it now takes the ‘trauma’ out of it, I also agree that waiting can make it that much more special…
    I have decided to wait a while and see.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:00 am
  • Reply alovebeyondmeasure

    I agree with you. For me its like a right of passage. I also remember asking to get my ears pierced and it was so exciting. If I’m honest, I can’t remember the pain, but I do remember the feeling of becoming more of a little lady than a little girl. I would want to wait until she asked to have her ears pierced. But that is just my opinion. 🙂

    February 10, 2012 at 10:01 am
  • Reply lauren

    Hi Shaz,
    I really don’t like little girls with earrings. I think its more dangerous. Infections in the beginning as they play with them all the time. Its sore and then there’s the cleaning. The chance of being ripped while playing.. Etc etc

    I had mine done at 13. I too had to achieve a certain grade and then pay for it. I’m now thinking about taking them out. I no longer see the point in having them. (But that’s just me) 🙂

    I’d trust your gut on this 1. All little girls play dress up, want their nails painted and have stick on earrings. Its just how they imitate. I wouldn’t take that as a “want”. I’d say its more experimental.
    Yoiu can always get her clip-ons.

    Wait until you’re 100% sure.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:03 am
  • Reply Adele

    My opinion – pierce. But I also don’t know whether I would be able to be the one taking her to get it done.

    Good luck.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Andrea

    I agree with you Sharon, i too ASKED to have my ears pierced when i was 7 years old, & my mom took me. “Trauma”? it hurts the same when you 2 years old or 20 years old…i think there is more trauma when they little…and when they older they can clean and turn the earrings themselves…

    My opinion.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:06 am
  • Reply Elna

    I totally agree with you – let her be a bit older, REALLY wanting earrings and undersatnding what is involved in getting them and looking after them. It is such a nice thing to do together, so see if you can stretch it a few more years down the road.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:17 am
  • Reply Lesley

    I don’t have any advice to give but I also remember having my ears pierced as a very fond memory. I was 9 years old and my older sister took me to have it done. I felt very grown up and special.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Coco

    I think I am the odd one out! We bought Emma her earrings already and have agreed that we will have her ears pierced when she turns one. I never had mother daughter outings and thus do not have such fond memories. I think a little girl with earrings looks beautiful. Do not know whether it is true, but have been told that jewellers will not do piercing unless baby is 8 months old. This post and comments thereto now makes me doubt our decission! Thx Sharon for confusing the crap out of me!!

    February 10, 2012 at 11:38 am
  • Reply catluvagp

    I’m also indecisive and have decided rather to wait until Erin is older.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:47 am
  • Reply gail

    Same in our house, Sharon. Vaughn wants to and I would rather wait until Kyla is a bit older. She has told me at 4 years old that she wants to get earrings but I have explained how they do it and she changed her mind. I will get her ears pierced when she is able to understand the consequences. I only had mine done when I was 10

    February 10, 2012 at 11:51 am
  • Reply darylfaure

    Ok this is just my opinion, but don’t do it now. She is way too little, and has all the time in the world for more grown up things, when she is more grown up. I am so concerned that we are making our little children into young adults and little sexual beings way too young, because “we” think it is cute.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply Kimmie

    I 100% agree with you Sharon. A much loved aunt took me to get mine pierced when I was 11. She passed away suddenly when I was 17. She was diagnosed with cancer a few days after her 50th Birthday and was dead 3 months later. A much treasured memory for me and also done at a jewellery store.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Paula

    I agree fully with you, I will pierce my girls’ ears only when they ask for it, as yet not even D has asked for it and she is turning 6 soon. I am Afrikaans and our family at least don’t pierce babies’ ears, I also don’t like it much. Just my opinion though!

    February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply acidicice

    I agree with you Sharon. Best it be an experience that she can remember as a special day. My ears were pierced when I was two weeks old! My idiot mother didn’t like everyone saying ‘Aww he is so cute’ (perhaps she should have tried dressing me in pink).

    There is a girl at the day mother with Babyice who has pierced ears. She is 14 months old. Every time I see her the earrings sort of shock me (she wears sleepers that are perhaps a little too big).

    Maybe you can get your daughter some magnetic earrings so she can wear them and look pretty, without having to pierce her ears for now?

    Good luck with the husband!

    February 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Gwen

    I don’t like pierced ears on small children, but I don’t like painted fingernails etc on little ones either. Just a personal preference thing, I suppose. Ear piercings do need to be looked after for a few weeks to avoid infection, which would be too much maintenance for me in a toddler too (lazy mom!)

    February 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Sue Stuart

    I definitely won’t be having Katy’s ears pierced until, as some others have commented, she understands how to look after them and that it will hurt! I had mine done at around age 10 and I do remember that it was painful, I’m not going to inflict unnecessary pain on Katy until she is old enough to choose it for herself.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    No, no, no is my opinion. I was shocked to see my English SA white friend pierced her 5 year old’s ears (but then the child also has her own laptop!). In my opinion it absolutely has to be a rite of passage which in all fairness your girl may not choose to do when she can. Unlikely, but she may not want pierced ears! And it’s not that traumatic for it to be an excuse to do it early. Yuk, yuk, yuk.,

    February 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Hayley

    I am with you on this. Not a fan of little girls with earrings.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Sweets

    I don’t have a girl, so luckily don;t have to think about this.

    My own story is that my ears were pierced when I was still young. I was not yet at school – so I would have been about 3 or something I guess, but not entirely sure. I HATE earings. Cannot stand having stuff in my ears. It was my mom’s choice at the time obviously, and I am not sure I would have done it had it been up to me (but I could be wrong…, peer pressure may have made me do it). So my opinion would be to wait. So glad I don;t have a girl, as I am sure my mom would have been asking me every week when I was going to be piercing her ears!

    February 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply robyn

    I pierced Hannah’s ears as soon as I could find a jewellery shop who would do it. At 6 months to be precise! Not for cultural reasons, or anything like that. Just because I wanted to! They gave her the smallest cutest littlest pair of studs, pure gold. She cried for about half a minute, there was no after effects and she looks gorgeous! We have lost one ear ring since, but that’s another story for another day!xxx

    February 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Rebecca Hawkes

    For me there was a different line: I believed that my daughter needed to be not only old enough to want them herself but also old enough to take care of them and keep them clean. She ended up getting them done much earlier than I expected she would (age 6) because she convinced me she was ready for the responsibility … and she was! She did great … posted the chart in the bathroom and cleaned her ears every day. But that was the way she was about a lot of things. For different child, with a different personality, I would have waited longer.

    February 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Rebecca Hawkes

    Oh, just realized others have already mentioned the “old enough to take care of them” criterion. I’ll read the other comments before adding my own next time. :-p

    February 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Maggie

    Could you perhaps get Ava some clip-ons for now? Might help delay things some 🙂

    February 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply Mash

    I’m with you. She needs to be involved in making the choice about what happens to her body, and then it becomes a rite of passage. I personally don’t like seeing earrings on tiny little girls, just like I don’t like seeing them in high heels, it freaks me out a bit!

    February 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply lizdb

    I agree with you Sharon. We had my daughters ears pierced when she was eight because she pleaded with us and now she doesn’t wear them!!

    February 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm
  • Reply Bratty

    I am so with you Sharon..we have agreed that when Jada is old enough to ask for it, she can have them pierced. It is her body and not our choice to make.

    February 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm
  • Reply Bratty

    PS forgot to add…when she is old enough to understand…

    February 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    If you have any doubts, rather wait. she may want some, but does she really understand what she is asking for?
    I have never had mine pierced or wanted to. My daughter can do them when she is old enough to understand the consequences, preferreable when she is at least 10, (but negotiable).
    A friend wanter her daughters ears pierced many years ago, but she couldn’t bear to watch, so she got me to do it! (I was quite a lot younger, they still did it in Game at the time.) The first ear was fine, but she screamed blue murder when she realised they were going to do the other one too. She was about 2 and a half. However, all in all, I think I was more traumatised by the whole thing than she was!

    February 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm
  • Reply ani007

    I have to agree with you to wait, i had my daughters ears pierced just before her 3rd birthday. Cleaning it was a mission, constant fidgeting eventually led to a slight infection, needless to say she no longer wears earings & i will again pursue it at a much later stage when asked!

    February 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm
  • Reply TJ

    Hmmm… I think little girls with earrings look cute – but they do look cute without them too! I have no girls, but in our family My Mom is English and my Dad Afrikaans but all the girls from the ‘english’ side AND the ‘afrikaans’ side had their ears pierced at an early age! I would probably do it at an early age too!

    BUT I can see where you are coming from. You have that fond memory of your ‘right of passage’ and it makes sense! If you want that for Ava, then wait. Try get Walter to understand that! Let her play with the clip-on and stick-on for now while she can – because once they’re pierced it’s pretty limited.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm
  • Reply Lea White

    If you pierce her ears now? How would you deal with possible infections? Bianca’s one ear kept getting infected for a long time causing discomfort. It is sorted now, but took a long time.

    Personally I feel they are my kids’ ears and up to them to choose when they are old enough if this is something they want or not. Bianca wanted to and so when she was 6 we did it. Caitlyn hasn’t decided yet. I don’t believe it is purely an Afrikaans culture thing because I am Afrikaans and got my ears only pierced when I was about 8 after I asked. The same with my cousins. And most of my friends also only got theirs done when they were later.

    February 11, 2012 at 2:56 am
  • Reply Cat@jugglingactoflife

    Both hubby and I wanted to do it later – when she can make her own decision and it will be special, like I experienced at 9. So we decided to wait until she asked for it. Which was around the time we made the final decision to amend those very prominent ears. We knew the operation will be sore but that at the end it will be the best we could do for her. So we held it up as a reward if she is brave during the surgery and recovery ( which she truly was within the scope of a 6 year) old. So after the Plastic surgeon gave us the all clear and ready for earrings after 6 weeks the two of us want for a toasted chicken mayo and milkshake and had it done at Dischem. She chose her own little studs and was so proud. Really no trauma these days so that argument is not really on anymore – they even do it both at the same time at Dischem.

    What was also great was that quite a few of her friends also got their ears pierced at around the same time so it had a bit of a group feel to it – and her school is a very Afrikaans one. Also keep in mind that we have all forgotten that cleaning them those first few weeks can be rather sore.

    I have a little horror story when one of our friends daughters hair got caught in the butterfly of the earring when she was about two and got caught inside the hole – it had to be cut open by the doctor to remove the hair and butterfly that was lodged inside the back skin of the lobe. They re did her ears this year only and she is 8 now.

    February 11, 2012 at 6:24 am
  • Reply zamom

    I’m also a no. I only had mine done when I turned 12/13 and because I really wanted it done. At Zoe’s school (which will be Ava’s) they aren’t allowed earrings anyway.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:21 am
  • Reply adesolaf

    No babies, but I am from a culture where your parents decided when they want your ears pierced and they did it! No questions asked. I am quite certain my ears and those of my siblings were pierced within a few weeks after birth and I would probably do the same if I have a daughter . This is an interesting topic and I find it similar to discussions on circumcision with respect to boys).

    Hopefully mum and dad always know best and do what is in the best interest of the child

    February 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply natshenman81

    Hey Shaz, Hannah asked us last yr if she could get earrings. We found a jeweller who pierced both ears at the same time, and she chose her earrings.
    She didn’t cry and she loves it! She isn’t allowed to wear them to school, and loves putting them in on weekends. No infections or problems, she understands that she isn’t allowed to touch. It’s a personal choice and you will know when it’s right

    February 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Karen

    We pierced our daughter’s ears at two months (please don’t hate). Her pediatrician’s office pierced them (it was an actual doctor, too). They put on a numbing cream for 20 mins and she didn’t cry or anything. As far as the special mommy-daughter thing, we will go pick out a nice pair of earrings when she is old enough…..diamond ones to be exact. I am pretty sure she will remember that. 🙂

    February 13, 2012 at 12:01 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    you and i are cut from the same cloth on so many issues it’s frightening….
    I too, only had my ears pierced when I was 8. I think my mom wanted it sooner, but my father was adamant that *I* had to make the decision / request myself.
    I feel EXACTLY the same now with Isabella. And fortunately, so too does Travers. We will pierce her ears when she is good and ready and / or when she asks.
    on that note, i’ve seen what the ear of a young girl looks like after the earring was ripped out at playschool. that ain’t pretty, let me tell you.
    i also don’t like the sight of it – particularly on a baby.

    February 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm
  • Reply Julia

    My ears were pierced when I was a baby. I think. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do if I had a daughter. I like to think that I would wait until she asks. I think that you are doing the right thing and that you should trust your instinct on this.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Mrs K

    I agree, it’s a right of passage. I was 13, and will be doing my girls on their 13th as well.

    February 17, 2012 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Charlotte aka Scaredmom

    40 comments (didn’t read them) so I do not really know if mine will help. I am pro piercing ears while they are little. I am Afrikaans so I’m with Walter. But if you do not want to do it when they are very little (Amandalynn’s was done at 5 months and Lorelai at 8 months) then wait until they are at least 5 or 6. I have seen little girls age 2 or 3 that have pulled out there earings.

    February 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Nnana Direro

    I fully agree with you on this one. I believe that the world has changed a lot and that we are more informed than we used to be. I decided that she is not going anywhere, she will make that decision on her own when she arrives at the appropriate age and i should not take it away from her. The pressure is enormous though, in a house occupied by women who just like being pretty, you can imagine the “earingless ears”.

    June 8, 2017 at 11:42 am
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