How young is too young for pierced ears?

Kinderling News & Features

Now this little story from parenting forum, MumsNet took me straight back to  my childhood.

Here’s the scene:  A mum and dad are disagreeing about whether or not their younger daughter, aged four, should have her ears pierced.

Mum says yes: ““If she wants them I don’t see the problem, it’s a pair of ear studs not a nose ring.”

Dad says no, she’s too young

Adding insult to injury (for mum) is the fact that a dad was apparently A-OK with their older daughter getting ears pierced at the same age, but has since “changed his mind”.

Who is being unreasonable, mum asks the wide, world web?

As ever the good readers of MumsNet had a wild array of views on the earring (and other body modification) approval process.

“I think doing that to such small children is horrible, so I agree with him that you shouldn't. But then he's being pretty hypocritical isn't he,” wrote one forum member.

“Opinions change. He’s entitled to that. You both need to be in agreement on body modification,” wrote another

“Sounds like a power thing to me, just let your [daughter] have them done if it’ll make her happy,” chimed in another person altogether.

Is there a ‘right’ age for ear piercing?

It’s a question so entrenched in the narrative of raising little girls, it’s hard not to find someone who doesn’t remember the exact conversation in their own lives.

At the Kinderling office, Lucy (that’s me) and Elise had parents who were adamant wewait until the ripe age of 15 for the privilege of hanging a pair of $12 diamond studs from our ear lobes. And yet we both hold lingering memories of the pain!

“I wish I’d been allowed it earlier just so I could have blanked out the pain,” said Elise.

Presenter Shevonne was told to wait till she was 13,  but ended up waiting till she was 17.

“In the end I just wanted to be different to everyone,” she laughed.  “Different to my friends and my siblings.”

While it took Rachel’s 75 year-old grandmother to finally challenge her parents flat-out ban on ear piercing.

“I was asking for a while and the reason I was able to get it done was that my grandmother won a pair of ruby earrings that she wanted to wear and said she’d take me too!”

How to agree to disagree on conflicting parenting decisions

As with pretty much all parenting choices, the ear piercing dilemma will differ for each family. But what can you do when your partner disagrees and how do you find a happy medium?

Therapist Kathryn Guthrie told Today’s Parent said while it’s OK to “agree to disagree” on some issues if it’s done with respect, but you need to make sure that disagreements don’t become chronic and hostile.

“If there’s eye rolling, contempt or dismissiveness, then the couple starts to feel not so close. And if you feel less close, then you’re less likely to do the work it takes to compromise,” Kathryn said.  Ideally, a couple should seek help from a professional before it comes to that.