THURSDAY THOUGHTS

Ear piercings for children — yay, or nay?

Yesterday, Sara and I headed over to a tiny jeweller here in the centre of Amsterdam to get another ear piercing. She already had three — when she was 12, she had one hole in one ear and two holes in the other one pierced. In the meantime, the single hole closed up after she lost her earring while we were on holiday. So for her birthday she wanted that ear re-pierced. And while we were at it, she also wanted to add a third one to the other side. So off we went, with her best friend (and her mama) in tow — who went for her first piercings, one on each side.

I am quite easy with ear piercings. I think they can be quite elegant and stylish, as long as the earrings look innocent and sweet together. (Personally, I wear three small earrings in my left ear (one in the helix) and two in my right one.) Also — I feel that if you ever grow tired of them, you can simply take the earring out. The hole will disappear almost entirely quite quickly.

Ear piercings for children

My own ears were pierced when I was 12 — the ‘magic age’ my mother would finally let me have them and which I use as a benchmark for my own children as well. I feel that at the age of 12, children are generally wise enough to make a personal choice and give their consent to the piercing procedure. Also, this is the age children are looking to define their own identity, and I think that ear piercings can be an innocent part of this process.

I personally am not very fond of the look of earrings (or much other jewellery) on smaller children. And here in the Netherlands, most piercings shops will refuse (or at least they will be very reluctant!) to pierce the ears of younger children. But in some cultures it is very common to pierce the ears of girls when they are still babies! On the other hand, Emilie never had her ears pierced. Her (French) mother didn’t like the idea of it at all! (And she passed away before Emilie could rebel against her and get her ears pierced to spite her.) So the consensus on ear piercings for children is a very individual one and very much influenced by your own cultural standards.

I’m curious to hear: what your feelings are about ear piercings for children. Tell me: yay, or nay? If acceptable, what age do you think it is permissible for children to have them? (And what do you feel about more than one on each side?)

xxx Esther


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Comments (55)

Rebecca
June 6, 2019

My daughter had hers done at 3 as she asked to. She loves them! I agree it is something highly cultural and I imagine different again for boys!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

Agree! I was careful not to use the word ‘girls’ in this post, as the same sentiment should be considered for boys as girls. Having said that — I admit I would cringe if Pim or Casper would ask me if they could have their ears pierced. This is something very culturally defined as well! (But I would allow them to do it!)


Rebeeca
June 6, 2019

Yes, my son is 10 and I told him he has to be at least 16! He has a friend who got one recently and it’s cool at the moment. He didn’t argue, or point out his little sister has them so I guess I don’t feel too bad for having one rule for one and different for another. Plus my husband got an earring at a young age and wishes he didn’t. He doesn’t wear it anymore but the hole has never disappeared.


Laura
June 6, 2019

I am from Italy and I had my ears pierced when I was 6 or 7, as most of my friends. I remember I asked my mom and she let me do it because she thought it was not a big deal and an innocent thing to do because,as you said, the hole disappears if you decide you do not want it anymore.I’ve never regretted it and I still have my two holes (one each side), although I have never felt the necessity to have more holes. I think it is not a big deal and I would let my daughters do it as well (but I only have two boys) because I find it quite pretty for a girl to have small and simple earrings 🙂


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

Thanks for your comment, Laura! Now, I’m curious to know — would you allow your boys to pierce their ears?? (I raise this question in my answer to Rebecca’s comment!) Also — do you think it’s acceptable for children younger than 6 or 7 to have their ears pierced…? With other words — do you think they should be able to make a conscious choice…?


Laura
June 6, 2019

I know it isn’t fair but I wouldn’t let my sons to pierce their ears. It is really a cultural thing and personnaly I do not like earrings on boys/men. But if they decide to do it when they are older (like high-school) I would accept it. Also, I think it is acceptable to pierce younger children but for me it should be their choice: a little girl could already ask for it at 3-4 years old. I know this may not be a completely conscious choice as they are too young but at least they can understand it we can prepare them to the fact that it can hurt. Also, I do not like seeing babies (1-2 years old) with earring, it is no sense to me.But again, this is something cultural.


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

Thank you so much for your reply! About earrings on boys… Again, it is personal and culturally defined. But I do think boys should have the same rights as girls AND VISE VERSA! (Haha, thankfully, I’m not challenged here yet — neither of my boys have asked to have their ears pierced… yet!) xx


Laura
June 6, 2019

I may be wrong but I do not think they’ll ever ask to have their ears pierced, as they do not ask to wear skirts. They are already aware that culturally this is a “girl” thing, especially since none of the boys in their school have earrings… In Interesting converasation indeed!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

But… There are boys with a strong feminine side, there ARE boys who love to wear make-up, earrings and skirts. However, in our society it’s not common and generally not respected by the group, so usually this is a side they develop only once they are a bit older… If they even dare! (I applaud it if they do!!) I hope that slowly and steadily our society can give those boys with a strong feminine side the confidence and support to develop sooner… Anyway — this definitely is a VERY interesting conversation!! 🙂


Kylie
June 6, 2019

My daughter had hers done at 8, the same age I was. She wants more but we will wait till high school (12). She also wants to dye her hair. I will allow a rinse during school holidays but more permanent can wait till teenage years.


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

Ha! Sara also wanted to die her hair when she was 12. It was our birthday present to her from us. (She went for a balayage — so lightening the lower part of her hair. It looked super cool!) x


Mia Maryeski
June 6, 2019

I was 11 when I had mine pierced. My daughter is 5 and has been begging me to get hers pierced. I will wait until she is 8 or 9, old enough to be responsible to turn then and clean them in those first few months. A friend who is a peadiatric nurse told me once she saw lots of young kids with infected piercings.


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

Ah yes — personal hygiene is an important factor here too. BTW — turning the earrings is not advised anymore, at least not here in the NLs. Cleaning with salty water twice a day and no touching whatsoever is what they say! (When I had my ears pierced I was also told to turn!) x


Mia Maryeski
June 7, 2019

Oh interesting and good to know, that was 30 years ago for me now 😂


Mallika Dsylva
June 6, 2019

I’m from India & my mother had my ears pierced when I was a little baby. That’s the norm here. In some Indian cultures even boys have their ears pierced at a very young age. While my own husband doesn’t come from any of those Indian cultures, on a one off moment his mother let him pierce one of his ears when he was 11. (Which even I think it’s strange) so while the rest of us girls have our ears pierced since babyhood, we have to wait to turn at least 16 if we want to get multiple or more piercings. So usually high school is when we, if chosen start sporting more ear piercings. I personally never got another piercing after the baby ones. I’m 32 now. I don’t think I ever will.


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Kate
June 6, 2019

This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. My baby girl just turned 1yo and she is half-Indian. My MIL is really pushing to pierce her ears. She has gifted beautiful family heirloms, the tiniest, prettiest baby earrings — but my SIL and husband both had a strong, negative reaction. Especially my SIL (sister-in-law); she felt she hadn’t been given a choice as a baby and was adamant consent is key. Her own daughter was pierced at five years old. Maybe in India it is still the norm, but our first-gen Indian kids in Canada are certainly standing up for what they feel is right…We’ll wait til our baby asks for them.


Esther in Amsterdam
June 6, 2019

This reminds me of a conversation with a very dear friend. She is Jewish, and has one son. She is against circumcision, but was ‘overruled’ by her family and the procedure was carried out despite her feelings. She told me she has regretted it ever since, and had she had another son, she would have put her foot down more strongly! (Here in the Netherlands, boys are generally not circumsised unless there are medical or religious reasons…) xx


Xander
June 6, 2019

I read some comments about boys getting their ears pierced, and felt like I needed to chip in as I’m a guy with pierced ears. I asked my parents to get them done when I was 12, and they happily let me do it, which I’m glad for. I’m 18 now and have never regretted getting them. So I think it’s safe to say I don’t think there should be a difference between allowing boys to get piercings compared to girls. It’s interesting how a lot of people seem to be a bit uneasy about it, though


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

Thank you for your comment, Xander! I love reading your thoughts about this. And it strengthens me in my believes that yes! boys should have the same rights as girls. I agree, there is uneasiness involved, I think it has to do with how masculinity is regarded in our society. And I’m guilty too — as I initially said in another comment, I would cringe if Pim would ask to get his ears pierced. But, I also already am starting to feel different about it, now that we are ‘speaking’ about it. Why would it make me cringe? Because of the excepted standard? Because it is not ‘comme il faut’ in our community? I applaud you for asserting your individuality and I hope my children will feel confident to let their individuality shine as well. xx


Laura
June 7, 2019

I got my ears pierced when I was 6, because I asked for it an my parents allowed it. So I think it is not a big deal. When children ask and decide it themselves it is ok.
Our son also wanted to get his ear pierced when he was younger we allowed it when he was 5, but he took the earring out when he was seven, because he said it was uncool. So now you don´t see anythig on his ear.


Rachel
June 7, 2019

I started asking my mother for my ears to be pierced at age 7 and finally succeeded at age 13 (she always said 18). My daughter is now 7 and is also asking but I think waiting until 11/12 feels right. If my son also asked I would want him to wait until the same age but as he is only 3 the subject hasn’t yet arisen. One of the first things I did at 18 was get my belly button pierced (it was 2000) as I dutifully waited to comply with my mother – I was clearly no rebel. My sister did it anyway with the line “what can she do about it anyway”!


Kirsty
June 7, 2019

– My (almost) 4-year-old is DESPERATE to get her ears pierced! She’s so interested when she sees other children with theirs, and often asks for hers to be done. I told her all about the procedure, that it can really hurt and they take a lot of looking after. I even showed her a couple of YouTube videos featuring kids her age being pierced, complete with the nerves and the tears…but it still hasn’t put her off! However, I won’t be giving in just yet – I think age 7/8 is an acceptable age to sit and properly discuss it, and let them make the choice.

For now – stick-on jewels are pacifying my sassy baby! X


Laura
June 7, 2019

My 8 1/2 year old daughter has asked to have hers done since she was 6, I took her on her 8th birthday to get it done but they said her earlobes were rather on the small side for piercing yet (she does have very small lobes but I never noticed until it was pointed out) but we are trying again in the summer holidays.
I’m not a huge fan of kids under 5/6 having them done as I’d be so worried about it getting ripped out and I don’t think my daughter would have fully understood the process and aftercare of it at that age either.
I also have a nearly 7 year old son and I’d let him get his done if he asked (I’m not a fan of ear piercings on boys but it’s his ears!) as you pointed out it’s a rather innocent way of self expression and can easily be rectified and the earring removed. If he did ask I would ask him to wait until high school to see what sports he would carry forward, rugby isn’t ideal with earrings!
I’ve only ever had one piercing in each ear but I’m going to get a 2nd hole in each ear when my daughter gets hers.


Estela
June 7, 2019

It is nice to see so many differents options and opinions 😊 Here in Spain is very common to have our ears pierced as babies. My daughter had hers done at 4 weeks old… but it is starting to change and some people just wait until the kids ask for it. If I have had a boy I wouldn’t do it but it is ok for me if they ask for them. I have male friends with piercings and it has nothing to do with their identity as a men. 😊


Anna Cohen
June 7, 2019

My very ‘old school’ British Mama never let me get my ears pierced – so within a month of leaving for my GAP year at 18 years old, I got my ears pierced – felt like a total act of rebellion – and so innocent compared to girls today! Personally I’d love to be a bit more lenient with my daughter when she grows up but so far I’d love to hold off for as long as possible! My sons have never asked – but my second boy loves to threaten us that when he’s all grown up he’s going to not only get a tattoo but ride a motorbike 🙂


Valery
June 7, 2019

When I was born at the hospital the nurses pierced my ears, after asking my mother’s permission. In Spain, your baby leaves the hospital with earrings!


Christin
June 7, 2019

Such an interesting discussion!
I got my ears pierced when I was 5, because my mum wanted it. I didn’t really have an opinion at that age and just went along. Sadly, I got a really bad infection on both ears despite always cleaning and I can still remember the pain and how I was screaming when they had to put medication on it (I’m 22 now). So no surprise, I’m not really a fan and never had them repierced after that. I don’t have any kids of my own yet, but would definitely wait until they are in their teens to allow them a piercing.
Another problem in my family are migraines, and I suffer from a chronic migraine as well. I was told that ear piercings can worsen the migraines as well and no idea if that’s actually true or not, but if I had to decide again, I wouldn’t get them pierced.
P.S.: for a big occasions, I tried to find nice clip on ear rings, but haven’t found anything good! Does someone have a recommendation for me where I can find classy ones and not just cheap plastic ones for kids? There doesn’t seem to be a market for it!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

I recently read that a daith piercing could help against certain migraines! (But I personally wouldn’t risk it!) Sorry you had such a bad experience… And I’ll look out for cute clip-ons for you! xx


Carolina
June 7, 2019

I’m from Uruguay and girls usually get their ears pierced when they are a few weeks old! It’s amusing how you find babies with earrings odd and I have the exact opposite opinion! I love a baby girl with small pearls!
It’s good reading different opinions!!!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

I totally agree!! 👍🏼


Angela
June 7, 2019

I’m from Spain, and I had my ears pierced almost at the same time I was born, I left the hospital with my earrings.
Now this has change, Hospitals don’t do them, you have to wait a few weeks, I pierced my daughter ears with 20 days, here is completely normal, not that normal to do extra pierced at a young age 🙂


Emma
June 7, 2019

My then 6 year old son asked me could he have his ears pierced for his 7th birthday ( he wanted 2 diamond studs to look like Ronaldo) I admit I baulked at the idea! And then I had to examine why. So I told him he had to wait until he was 8(most girls here get it done at that age around time of holy communion). He has forgotten about it at this stage but if he asks again I will say yes!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

Yay!! 🙂


Annika Velji
June 7, 2019

I told my 7 year old she can it whenever she wants, but she has to stop fighting me on hair and tooth brushing first, lol. I don’t think this would work on every child, I just know that won’t happen any time soon and that she is too chicken anyway!!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

LOL 😉


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

Haha!! 😂


Kiana
June 7, 2019

My daughter was born in Barcelona where it’s super common to pierce a girls ears at birth. However lately, people have been opting out of this tradition. You can observe this fact because now they won’t pierce a baby’s ears in the public hospitals anymore. What I find disturbing is that people who defend the practice always say that babies don’t feel pain in their earlobes as much as older girls do. I have never found any science to back this up. My view is that it is painful, so you better consent to it and want it, before you do it. So you must be old enough to know what you want.


Elisa
June 7, 2019

My mom had mine pierced around the age of 6.
I don’t remember anyone asking me my opinion.
Never actually wore them, and my holes never closed. 22 years later…


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

Ha! How interesting! xx


Cece
June 7, 2019

If I’m honest with myself, I have a really strong visceral reaction when I see babies and tiny kids with pierced ears, regardless of gender – it just seems so unnecessary! But I’m the product of the cultural norms I was raised with, just like everyone else. I’m sure if I’d lived in Spain or India as a kid I’d have a totally different gut feeling.

My mum let me have my ears pierced on my 12th birthday, and I would do the same with my daughter. I don’t have a son yet (he’s due any day now!) but the same rule would apply.


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

I love the way you said that. So true — we are all culturally defined! It’s good to hear about other cultural traditions and normalities, so that we ourselves can become more openminded and tolerant. xx


Jennie Juniper
June 7, 2019

Here in Ontario, Canada, I do see the occasional baby or toddler with her ears pierced, but I believe it’s more rare than it used to be. I’m a child of the 1980’s, and my mom firmly stated that there were to be no pierced ears for me until I turned 6, which was considered a ‘big girl’, not a teeny kid anymore. There was a cartoon character (Jem and the Holograms! She was my hero.) who had glamorous star earrings, and of course I requested the teeny gold stars when I finally went to get my ears pierced. I felt SO GOOD about myself!! I still remember the pinch of the piercing, but it was nothing compared to the exhilaration of looking in the mirror and seeing those stars. (Which I dutifully cared for until they healed.) It was pure magic for me.

Other piercings had to wait until I was 16, but being the teenage rebel I was, my nose was done before then, and the same joy I had when I got my ears done at 6 came flooding back. I’ve since taken my nose ring out (that was 20 years ago), but I’ll never forget the way it made me feel!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

What an empowering memory!! Thank you for sharing, so lovely to hear! xx


Janey
June 7, 2019

My eldest son had his ears pierced when he turned 16. He is very masculine, plays guitar in 2 bands and has a very hipster/grunge look. His 2 black stud earrings fit in well with his style and I don’t cringe at all when I look at him! I’m happy he is comfortable in himself and his look. If my other boys ask for piercings it won’t be an issue and the youngest one – age 12 – says he probably will when he’s older as many of the basketball and football players he admires have their ears pierced! I realise this was seen as “a girl thing” back when we were young but definitely no longer the case here in the UK anyway
I think Sara’s earrings really suit her look!


Esther in Amsterdam
June 7, 2019

You are so right!! Thank you for your comment. I totally realise my ‘cringeness’ is a result of the cultural norms I am surrounded with and I’m glad to now see things in a wider perspective. xxx


Rivkie L
June 7, 2019

My mother let us get our ears pierced at 12 but only 1 per ear. I personally pierce my babies ears at about 4 months. I don’t like the look of a child with more than 1 hole. I’d let my daughter get a second hole perhaps at the age of 16. In our cultural circles, multiple piercings have a “wild” implication. I got my second holes in both ears 2 years ago, 13 years into my marriage.


Catarina
June 7, 2019

Hi Esther! I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was 6 (one hole in each ear), then when I was about Sara’s age I got them pierced again and ended up with the same look as hers! How fun 🙂
In my country its pretty normal to pierce girls ears at a very young age, even babies. My grandma, my mom and her sisters all got their ears pierced when they were very little. I’m from Portugal, and I think that in the southern European countries we are more open about it, it might even be a tradition for some families. As for the boys, its not that common, and normally we don’t find it being so classy or elegant, but plenty of teenager/young boys do it.
In my opinion, little girls look really cute with simple, discrete earrings, and as it is not something permanent, I’m totally ok with it! 🙂 xx


Readkapke
June 7, 2019

Onze meiden krijgen hun eerste oorbelletjes een paar dagen voor hun zesde verjaardag (mits ze het willen). Onlangs was de derde dochte aan de beurt, zo trots en groot ineens! Verder heb ik er geen moeite mee, tattoos daarintegen…🙈


Paula
June 7, 2019

My daughter had her ears pierced when she was 11 and about to finish primary school in the UK. I had always thought 16 would be the right age, but she and her best friend wanted to do it together and I found that I was fine with it.

She is now 13 and recently asked to have her ears pierced for a second time. I said no wait until you’re 16, then only last week I noticed in the car that her earring seemed further up her ear and I realised that she had it pierced. I didn’t say anything until I had the chance to see the other side and it was pierced too. I left it for a couple of days to mull over, and then told her I’d noticed. I asked her how she’d done it and she explained she done it over two nights in the bathroom by marking the position and piercing with a sterilised needle! She had also got salin water from one of her friends whose mum is a doctor. I explained that I was disappointed that she’d gone ahead and done it after being told no, and explained that she could have got infected etc etc. but that as it was done I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, but if she did something like this again there would be more consequences. My thinking is you have to pick your battles, and some acts of teenage rebellion you have to allow. Not sure whether that’s the correct tact or not 🤔

She has a younger sister on the other had who is 10 and has always said she never wants her ears pierced. I don’t think she will, as she always refused face paint, never dressed up (to the point of being the only child in school on World Book Day who didn’t and was fine with it!), and hasn’t worn a skirt or dress since she two except her school uniforms. She knows her on mind!

Interesting discussion Esther thank you 🙏


Nicole
June 7, 2019

I have 3 daughters 18 months apart in age. The younger 2 (twins) had their ears pierced at 3.5 as they always asked. My older daughter asked to gave hers pierced at 6 years. The younger twin decided to take her earrings out 2 years later as one ear become inflamed.My oldest who is now 9.5 has asked to gave her second holes done. I’ve said no not yet as she can have them done when she’s a little older (I prefer around secondary school age 13). In Australia boys/men sometimes have one ear pierced. My husband when he was in his teens had a pierced ear.


Crystal
June 9, 2019

I had two in each ear by the time I was 12. The second piercings are long closed. I wouldn’t deny my kids ear piercings, but I’d make sure they were wearing high karat gold or sterling. I didn’t know I was allergic to base metal when I was a child, and my parents never helped me, so for so many years I’d have horrible reactions to my earrings and just live with it.


Whitney Olson
June 11, 2019

I read a news article of a jewelry employee getting fired for not piercing a screaming/crying 5 year olds ears, even though her mom insisted. It broke my heart that a parent wouldn’t respect her child and would choose her own desire over her child’s fear. Obviously, this is not often the case. My oldest is only 6 and hasn’t asked. I don’t have an age yet, but it will align with my child being able to take care of them herself. I have a 6, 4, and 2 year old and have allowed them all temporary hair color, temp tattoos, and sticker earrings. I think the fun of those things can be experienced in a temporary manner until they are old enough to make more permanent decisions.


Enirak
June 17, 2019

My eldest daughter had her ear pierced around 10 years old and my second daughter (3 years younger than my oldest), at 5 years old. Each in her own time. A reflect of their personality. I was fine with 5 years old which was about the age I was when my ears were pierced. I still remember it was my decision.


Ellina from Russia
July 7, 2019

It was rather surprising for me to read about ear piercing at 8 or even 12 years old!) I am from Russia and here almost all the women have their ears pierced at early childhood(as you have mentioned, people do that in other cultures). Mostly, earnings become a distinctive feature between girls and boys here when they are babies .And most of the mother also think that it is not so painful to pierce one’s ears at an early age. You may think that it is not right to pierce your daughter’s ears without her allowance which she eventually can’t give while being a baby.But none of the girls and women I know have complained about having ratings at an early age.But reading about other people’s experiences is so interesting!)


Esther in Amsterdam
July 8, 2019

I agree!! Thanks for your comment, Ellina! x


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