What do you think when you see a newborn with tiny earlobes decorated with even tinier studs, or a young girl waiting in a chair at the jewelry store while the technician loads earrings into the piercing gun? Are you looking forward to or dreading the day your daughter begs you for pierced ears, or have you already had it done for her and think it's no big deal? Maybe you don't have pierced ears or you had a bad piercing experience as a child and have already decided your daughter will never get her ears pierced.
When I had my young daughter's ears pierced, it wasn't a premeditated act—it was a spur of the moment trip to the mall with a friend and her daughter where I had made the flip comment, "Wouldn't it be cute if we got their ears pierced?" But I had yet to grasp what the consequences would be for a four-year-old to care for her ears. I hadn't considered how much time it would involve, just begging, threatening, and even bribing my child to "just let me look at one lobe to make sure it isn't infected; I promise I won't even touch it."
While my daughter has had her ears pierced now for more than a year, we've had many talks and tears over keeping them clean and healthy. And while I am thrilled to see how proud she is of her earrings, I still wonder if I may have acted on an impulse that should have been squashed immediately.
Allowing or denying your child to get her ears pierced, or making the decision to pierce your baby's ears before she can tell you what she wants, is a parent's prerogative. When contemplating piercing, there are a few things to consider before you and your daughter rush to the mall for that cute pair of starter studs.
Reasons to Pierce ...
Veronica Mullen of Tampa, Florida, had always assumed she would have her infant daughter's ears pierced, just as she had her own pierced when she was an infant. "My heritage is Cuban, and the Hispanic tradition seems to be that most parents pierce their daughters' ears as small babies," says Mullen. While pregnant with her oldest daughter, Mullen casually mentioned her plan to her Irish mother-in-law. She couldn't understand her mother-in-law's negative reaction. "I had no idea it was such a sensitive topic. Not realizing the cultural differences at the time, I was at first insulted that she should take such a strong stand against something I considered to be natural, and a decision I had planned on making for my own daughter," Mullen says.