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You Say: Vancouver Moms Share their Thoughts on Ear Piercing

You Say: Vancouver Moms Share their Thoughts on Ear Piercing

In November my six-year-old daughter had her ears pierced, and I talked about it on‘s Facebook page and Twitter stream. Based on the number of responses everyone here at could tell this was a hot topic. We decided to catch up with some Vancouver moms to get their take on ear piercing. What’s the right age to do it? If they’ve done it, how did it go? If you’ve ever wrestled with the decision of when (or if) to get your child’s ears pierced, you’ll want to read these three perspectives.

Piercing a Baby’s Ears

In many cultures it’s normal for very young children to have their ears pierced. Babies can be easily held still for the piercing, and they won’t pull on their ears or interfere with the cleaning process. Lenore Jaggard shares her experience having her baby’s ears pierced:

I just got my daughter’s ears pierced a week ago. She is six months old, almost seven months. I decided to have it done at this age for many reasons: to ensure that I am in control of keeping the new piercing clean, her hair is still short so it will not get caught in the new piercings, with her being young she does not tug or pull on her ears so there is no worry with the healing process, and she has had three sets of immunizations now so I worry a little less about her getting an infection from it. It is amazing the change in the decision of getting your child’s ears pierced from the early 1970’s and 80’s to now. Back then it was rare for a child to have their ears pierced and now it is rare to see a child without. It was not a difficult decision for me to choose to have my child’s ears pierced at all.

Ear Piercing Vancouver Moms Share

Letting Your Child Decide

Based on the responses on Facebook and Twitter, most moms wait until their child asks to have their ears pierced, which usually happens somewhere between four and seven years old. Lisa Schwartz of Schwartz Chronicles shared her own four-year-oldaughter’s ear piercing experience:

My daughter Sarah (four and a half years old) got her ears pierced this weekend. Last year, she admired her cousin’s newly pierced ears, but wasn’t ready to take the plunge. This weekend, she decided she wanted her ears pierced. I didn’t have any hard and fast rules about when she would get them done because as a child I had to wait until I was 12 years old and I found the wait torturous. We chose the Claire’s in our area because they do both ears at the same time. Upon arrival, I filled out the necessary paperwork and Sarah chose her earrings. Sarah didn’t cry at all and shows off her newly pierced ears as if she is flashing a new engagement ring.

Holding off on Ear Piercing

Some moms choose to hold off on ear piercing for a number of reasons. Natasha Greensite had this to say about her decision:

I had my ears pierced when I was 13, a present for my birthday and upcoming Bat Mitzvah. It was therefore an easy decision in my book, when my daughter turned 13 that would be the deal for her, too. I grew up in London, England and the majority of my friends had their ears pierced around the same age I did, but it seems here in Canada, a great many of my daughter’s friends had theirs done when they were much much younger. This posed obvious issues, because my reasoning was suddenly put into question. I strongly feel that with ear piercing comes responsibility, they need regular cleaning and looking after and I think at 13 a girl can do this pretty much independently. However at the age my daughter first asked me, on her fifth birthday and then every year thereafter, I don’t think that responsibility can be fulfilled. It would my job to do and with three kids, selfishly I see it as just one more thing on my list! As I say to my daughter, every time she asks, she will wait until she is 13 and she will still have over 50 years (please G-d!) to enjoy them! So why the rush?

What are your experiences with ear piercing? How did you decide the time was right – or not? Leave us a reply and share your thoughts on kids and ear piercing!

View Comments (15)
  • I want to wait and let my daughter ask to get it done so she knows what she will get into. I like the idea of doing it in the 6 months range because of all the good reasons Lenore Jaggard cited but I don’t like the look of it on a baby, it doesn’t look right to me.

    One thing I know for sure is we’re going to a professional piercer, no punch. I’ve done a lot of reading about it and believe it is better and safer. I’ve never had it done by a professional piercer but I had three times with the punch and had infections all the time and the holes end up closing and now I have a little bit of scar tissue on one ear. I’ve read a lot of parents went to piercer’s way and it was best, that’s what they do, the don’t work at a teen age jewelry store using a punch (that is so unhygienic) they pierce all day.

  • I was a child that had her ears pierced twice when young. When I was a baby, I guess it was a blessing for me and my mom. Then, for some reason, I had to had them re-pierced when I was around 4 or 5 years old, and I remember it was painful but I still wanted them re-pierced.

    I was going to have my baby M ears pierced when very young – maybe 3 months old -, but it was hard for me to find ‘who’ could do such a thing. She is almost 16 months old now, and I guess I’ll wait until she consciously makes the decision of going through the (painful) process.

  • I don’t agree with piercing little babies, or kids ears. What purpose does it serve? I was told I had to wait until I was a old enough to pay for it myself – my mother’s reasoning was that kids should be able to rough house, and the chances were good that I would end up ripping out my earrings at some point. Looking back, though I thought it horribly unfair at the time, I agree with my mother.
    As for my own daughter, I won’t be letting her get her ears done until she’s older as well. That way its 100% her decision, and her responsibility to maintain and take care of. I also view items such as earrings to be beautifying accessories – a 6 month old, a 6 year old, a 12 year old doesn’t need something to ‘beautify’ her. That can certainly wait until she’s 16.

  • This is a tough one for me. My husband’s family pierces ears at a very young age (under 6 months old). I had mine done when I was 7 years old and remember loving having pierced ears.

    My daughter is now 22 months old and I’m still struggling with the decision. She’s likely going to get them done at some point so on one hand I think I might as well get them done now so I have a little more control over keeping them clean. On the other hand, they grow up so fast and I’m not sure why she needs pierced ears at such a young age?

    Loved reading the different perspectives in your article. Thanks for the insight – even if I am no closer to making a decision. 🙂

  • My daughter wanted to be like “all” her school friends and get her ears pierced at about age 6. She was obsessed with being “beautiful” (according to her definition) in a way that was beginning to be unhealthy to my mind. She has fought, begged, whined, cried and generally had several temper tantrums over this issue, but thankfully that has now subsided. To me, getting her ears pierced at this age would be the start of the slippery slope into being preoccupied with body image at such a young age. In addition, my daughter is strongly predisposed to the “gimmes”, it would only be a short amount of time before she would be demanding new earrings. She is never satisfied nor grateful when she is indulged. This is one of the things she will have to wait for and assume the responsibility for when she is older.

    I had my ears pierced at age 13 and yes, I had to wait *ages* to persuade my Dad to allow it. I told my daughter that I wanted her to be like me and get it at that age, more as a coming of age tradition that we could share – (I started my period shortly after getting my ears done) and that it symbolized becoming a woman with the rights and responsibilities that change at that time. (Obviously there is a several year transition, it is not an overnight transformation!) I, too, grew up in England where it was uncommon to see babies with pierced ears – in fact, it was considered “common” (low class) at that time for white people to do that (you would see other ethnicities pierce their babies’ ears though).

    Taking a stand and enforcing it is SO tough as a parent, but it takes a lot less effort to steer the ship as soon as a course correction is needed rather than right before the crash.

  • I had my daughter ears done when she was barely 6 weeks old. even then i had been asked many times why they weren’t done sooner. my family has immigrated from Portugal and there when you have a baby girl the nuns immediately take them to get thier ears pieced therefore when i had my little girl my grandmother couldn’t understand why that is not done here. i don’t really understand the push to wait untill after they have has thier first shots as none of the immunizations protect against something that you could catch from earrings

  • In response to Caro who wants a professional piercer to do it, I’ve had it done with the punch and the pro and the punch is more comfortable. It gets infected either way. I am intimately aquainted with all the pro propaganda but my experience is that the punch is less drawn out and intense experience, but less likely to put the hole where you want it.

    As for my 6 year old daughter, she wants to get her ears pierced and I’ve said no, for a different set of reasons. I went to a Traditional Chinese Doctor to help with sciatica years ago. He saw that I had the “left sciatic point” pierced through and drew a connection there. Which got me thinking.

    Most of my friends got their ears pierced when they were 12-13. Then they all got glasses, and so did I. The eyesight point (and the hearing point) allowing for genetic diversity in it’s precise location in each person, are right in the lobe of each ear. According to TCM, these points connect to the organs themselves by meridians. I wouldn’t call this concrete proof that getting one’s ears pierced damages the sight or hearing senses. But insight into the possibilites gives me pause.

    Mostly I see that it’s common for girls to have their ears pierced. Tattoos are ordinary. Body piercings are run of the mill. But what I don’t see is beautiful, softly haired, divinely perfect, as fresh as they come, earlobes with no holes in them. These days, it’s the fresh and undisturbed that’s rare.

  • In my graduate schooling I had a guest lecture by a neurologist who told us about a case where I very young girl had died of meningitis with 24 hrs of having her ears pierced. I can’t exactly remember the age, maybe 4. The point of the lecture was that children don’t show the same symptoms as adults when they’re seriously ill. Apparently she became lethargic and she had “sunset eyes” (half open eyelids). By the time the parents took her to the hospital it was too late. I don’t want to scare anyone since the chances of this is probably one in a million. Who knows if she picked it up from the piercer or thereafter… but ever since that lecture I decided that my own daughter would have to wait til she’s at least 7 or 8 years old (when I had it done) and she would hopefully have a better capacity of telling me if she feels sick. My mom helped me clean them and I remember enjoying the responsibility of taking care of my freshly pierced ears.

  • I had my own ears pierced an 18 months. They are uneven. I remember still at age 3 my mum changing/cleaning my earrings and it being a painful experience.

  • I just piereced my daughter’s ears last week. She is 4 yrs and 7 mos. I made sure that she had both ears pierced at the same time just in case she changed her mind after one. She sat there patiently while the girls were marking the holes. It happened so fast she didn’t have time to react. The process was quick and painless for both of us :). It’s the cleaning that bothers her in the beginning but now it doesn’t bother her. We went to Claire’s.

  • While I understand and respect that ear piercing is the norm in various cultures, for me it would just look wierd on my own daughter and I feel no cultural pressure to do so. My daughter is 5 and hasn’t asked for ear piercing. I had my done at 8. When she asks, I’ll explain what’s involved and let her decide. Meanwhile, I think pierced ears (while beautiful and appropriate in context i.e. babies where it is a cultural norm) would have looked ‘off’ on my daughter – like a 3 year old in high heels or those beauty queen toddlers in kiddie pageants. What’s the rush?! Other priorities.

  • Children grow. Ears grow. A hole in a baby’s ear may not be in a good place after many years.

    Not all adult women are glad that they have pierced ears. Unless there is an overpowering family or cultural imperative, shouldn’t each person decide for themselves whether age at 12, 13, 16, or 20?

    The post about Traditional Chinese Medicine and ear piercing had points that were new and interesting to me.

  • I remember we studied at University (teacher – my background) that it is not recommended to pierce at least till 12. Something to do with them growing and still developing, and some special points in their ears still developing (acupuncturist probably would know)… True or not, I am waiting till my baby is 12! 😀 At least then she will be able to make a “conscious” decision about it. That’s my 2 cents. 🙂

  • My baby girl is 6 months old and I would like to pierce her ears. Does anybody know where in Vancouver I can go?
    I don’t know what is best recommended when it comes to the method (with the machine or with a needle or something). Is there a place specific for babies? Some countries have nurses doing that.
    Anyways, if anyone could help me out with that, would be great!

    • I took my 7-year-old to Claire’s, and I found them to be really good. You could always ask if they do babies, as well – I believe they do. The good thing is that they do both ears at once, so it’s over before the child knows what’s happened.

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