When is the right age to pierce ears?

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Lately I have been wondering a lot about when is the right age to pierce your girl’s ears so I thought I would put it out there to get your feedback on this topic.

That’s my Emma. She’s 6  1/2 and likes her accessories. A lot. Scarves, head bands, necklaces, you name it. Given that fact, she has been asking me daily when she can get her ears pierced.

Those are clip-on earrings in the photo.  If you ask me, they don’t seem that comfortable and are leaving lasting red spots on her cute little lobes come the end of the day.

She begged to get them pierced right before Kindergarten started, but to me that was a firm “no.”  At that age I didn’t feel like she was mature enough to take care of them during those first 6 weeks, and then be responsible for not losing the little earrings.

My gut at that time said she wasn’t old enough.

The rule in my family was that I had to be 9 years old to get my ears pierced, so I thought that seemed like a reasonable family rule, so I told her she had to be 9.

But now I am in a parenting dilemma because at 6 1/2, she is much more mature than she was at 5.

We have talked at length about the responsibility of pierced ears: keeping them cleaned, turned, and then of course taking care of the earrings when the initial phase is over.

She follows a nightly tooth cleaning routine that is surprising to me on her own. She will floss, brush and do a fluoride rinse without me even reminding her.  Now she has started to put Vaseline on her ears each night as part of the routine to clean and practice “turning” her pretend earrings. Lord help me. She is all business about this.

So I ask you – when did you decide what the right age is to pierce your girl’s ears?

Is it bad parenting if I go back on our “family rule” and allow her to get them done earlier than 9 years old?

My husband feels like it is not a good message to send her ~ if she begs enough she can get what she wants. Which I agree, but at the same time I regret setting a random age back when she was 5 because I didn’t know who she would be at 6 1/2.

Note to self.

And between you and me, I would rather she wore those little pierced earrings vs. the clip-ons now that she insists on wearing them everyday!

Help! Do I let her get them done? Do I say for her 7th birthday? Or do I stick to my original 9 year old rule? What do you think? 

If we do decide to get it done sooner than later, where do you suggest we go to get a girl’s ears pierced in OC?

I was reading some Yelp reviews and some things scared me.  I know many go to the mall, but I have actually heard a tattoo / piercing parlor is almost cleaner. Yikes.  What have you heard? I need info!

Thanks friends…

xo

24 Comments

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24
  1. 1
    Michele says:

    The rule for us was 12 years old for ears pierced and 14 for makeup. Looking back, I kinda like that my parents made me wait. I had something to look forward to – a grown-up milestone. It seemed to make it more special. However, I was not a girly-girl wearing clip-ons everyday. I see how that complicates things. Ugh!

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    Agree, there is something special about the suspense of waiting for something. It’s just those silly clip-ons driving me crazy that is the issue!!

  3. 3
    Rebecca says:

    I had my ears pierced young and would do my 5 year olds if she showed any interest. The nice thing is your daughter is showing responsibility for the earrings by adding it to her nightly routine so you could explain that 9 was he general rule but since she has showed such maturity and commitment she has showed you that she really is ready and that for her 7th birthday (if she keeps up her routine) you’d be happy to get her ears pierced. With your younger girl you can make the same rule, 9 years old unless you can PROVE you are ready earlier. That way you don’t start a new precedent in your family.

  4. 4
    Katie Kohn says:

    Does she play any sports? Many sports won’t allow girls to have earrings in! I got mine pierced at 14. I was terrified of the pain and needles! Maybe u can find some fake tattoo earrings???? In Czech and many other cultures little girls have their ears pierced at birth. People choose to circumcise boys when they are young, ear piercing is much easier on the child than that! My daughter is 5 and I told her 14! But she hates needles and doesn’t have the urge to do it! She sticks stickers on her ears all the time and is very girly but I straight out told her how they pierce ears and her reply was, “no way”! Good luck, either way you go she will still be adorable!

  5. 5
    melissa says:

    I really like Rebecca’s answer. I kind of agreed with your husband Jen at first but Rebecca’s comment made me come around.

  6. 6
    Sharon says:

    I have told my daughter 13. I think it is something worth waiting for, our little girls grow up so fast so I feel keeping something back for a later age is a way to keep them from growing up so much so fast. To me13 is the age of crossing into womenhood and ear piecing is a milestone to becoming a young lady. But each family is different culturally and each child is different in maturity so I think it has to be what you feel is right in your family dynamic.

  7. 7
    Heather says:

    Great comments! I had to wait until I was 13, which seemed to me like an eternity at the time. Granted that was in the olden days but I really want my 7 yr. old to wait. She has asked off an on as a couple of her friends have had theirs pierced. Some have also had problems…. I am saying 13 but reserve the right to do it at 10 if we want to but not before. One post talked about sports too. We had a girl on our soccer team who had just gotten hers pierced and had to remove them to play. Something to think about when piercing and what time of year maybe. I’m not sure where to go either these days. Too many inexperienced people can do it these days! So, we are waiting and my girly girl who loves all accessories seems to be quite ok with it. Good luck!

  8. 8
    Lisa says:

    I would just say to go with your gut. I would have let my girls pierce their ears whenever they wanted, even if it was at age 5. But there was never a rule in my house growing up. Sarah has shown an incredible amount of maturity since she turned 7 and she takes VERY good care of her earrings all by herself. If your gut says wait until 7, then do that. Or if you think it would be super fun to surprise her with an out of the blue trip, do that. Above all, go with your gut. Can’t go wrong.

  9. 9
    Devon says:

    I took my daughter when she was 4 1/2. We went to Claire’s and made sure there were 2 girls there so they could do both ears at the same time. Taking care of them after was easy, but it was longer than 6 weeks. You really need to leave them in most days. I mostly wanted it done early because of sports and activities. Now she’s 8 and we don’t have to deal with covering them up or having to take them out etc.

  10. 10
    Carmen says:

    Funny, it must be something in the air! Haley asked to get hers pierced over the weekend. I was terrified a kid to have mine done. I thought she can do it when she wants. Well, we are going this weekend to do it. There was no rule in our family as to if I had to wait or not.

  11. 11
    Jen says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

    It’s funny, because growing up, my mom was never allowed to get hers pierced at all, because her mom hated pierced ears.

    After my grandma passed away, my mom got hers done as an adult with me when I was 9!

    It is interesting because what you grow up with as far as rules like this, really do impact you as a parent.

    I think there is a lot to say about going with your gut feelings on things in parenting. My gut said “no” when she asked me before Kindergarten, but I am not feeling that same reaction now.

    Rebecca, I LOVE your phrasing if I change the “family rule”! If we end up doing that, I am for sure going with your advice.

    Thanks everyone! Keep the feedback coming!!

  12. 12
    Vetonica says:

    I had my daughters ears pierced at 3 months, just after she had her first round of vaccines. I’m so glad I did. She never once fussed or pulled on them and it was easy for me to clean and turn them. After much research I decided to get it done at piercing pagoda at the Brea mall. They were super quick and very clean! She did extremely well and cried for just a few seconds when it was done. I do want to mention that I checked with my pediatrician prior to having it done and they ok’d it. Many pediatricians do ear piercing however mine did not as that would have been my first choice.

  13. 13
    Amber Wright says:

    I did my daughters as soon as she hit three months. I remember getting mine done when i was three. And they had two girls doing it at the same time. I remember it being very tramatic. I didnt want my girl to have to go through that. And this way she would just grow up with them and she doesnt even mess with them. She is 4 now. She never takes her earrings out. To each there own. I dont think there is any wrong answer. Everyone has there own traditions or rules. I also think if you wait for a child to want it or be responsiable it could be at different ages. Since every child developes at different ages. I did my research before i did my daughters. I got the best reviews about Piercing Pagoda.

  14. 14
    Aracely says:

    Jen, my daughter who is 71/2 just had her ears pierced 2 months ago. I would say follow your instinct and do what you feel is right. You can say for her 7th birthday perhaps and have her wait till then. It’s funny but my family thought I waited FOREVER to get her ears pierced. My husband didn’t want her ears pierced as a baby, so I respected his wishes. In Latino culture we pierce our ears as babies. I had my ears pierced at 2 months old.We just finished the 6 weeks of care last month. My daughter incorporated in her morning and evening routine.

  15. 15
    Susanne says:

    My Dad’s big joke was I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 36. Yeah, I got them when I was in 2nd grade.
    I agree, the idea of proving yourself is powerful and as parents we are allowed to change our minds as long as we talk it through. (And- Katie, I had the same thought- just be sure time it right with any sports she might start 😉

  16. 16
    Suzanne Towles says:

    My daughter, now 21, was 7 when she got her ears pierced. She asked every day (I’m serious) for 2 years when she could get hers done. My husband and I agreed that when she learned to surf she could get her pierced, of course thinking she’d be at least 15. Long story short, she took a surfing lesson at 7 from a local lifeguard and in her little 7-year old mind (and heart) was a surfer. There was no going back at that point and after church that Sunday we took her to the Piercing Pagoda at the Laguna Hills Mall. She’s loved them ever since and to this day wears very tasteful earrings and has only had one double piercing since.

  17. 17
    Lee says:

    The planets are aligning on this because Nina has been asking to get her ears pierced – large in part due to her friends getting them done. I agree that it has to be something they REALLY want and are willing to go the extra mile to earn. I don’t think Nina has me convinced at this stage of the game, but sounds like Emma is ready! I love Rebecca’s suggestion, as it doesn’t break your “rule”, it simply adjusts it due to her being so responsible and committed – this will also make Emma feel like a really big girl!

  18. 18
    Suzanne Towles says:

    Jen, I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 18. My mother just did hers last year (at 71) and my sister just did hers a few months ago (at 48!!).

    • 19
      jen says:

      Suzanne – I love that – my mom too got hers done in her 30’s with me because her mom never let her get hers done! I LOVE your mom was 71! That is amazing…

  19. 20
    Jazmine says:

    I already commented on FB, but wanted to add this. I am kind of a freak about germs. It’s the nurse in me. That being said, if you decide to go forth, just do your research as far as cleanliness goes. I took my daughter to Claire’s in the mall. They were extremely clean and I had no complaints about the experience. I personally would NEVER take my young child to a tattoo/ peircing place. I have nothing against them (my husband has full sleeves and I have a tattoo), but it’s just not the environment for small kids. Just my opinion, of course. Good luck with your decision!

    • 21
      jen says:

      Jazmine – Great things to think about! Thank you!

  20. 22
    Ange says:

    I know a lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child’s ear. “Let them decide” is
    being replaced by parental decision when mommy intuition knows, “earlier is better” from either personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears.

    Why do some moms do it early? Well cultural traditions and perceived gender of their child are important. Cerebrally, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know it celebrates their femaleness and femininity. After all, they are little girls, right? Growing up I remember many of my little girlfriends were not allowed to get their ears pierced. I could never understand it…but when their parents did finally let them, it always seemed they’d get infected because they were constantly touching them or
    trying to change out the earrings before they were supposed to. Many said it was painful, but all cried having a great deal of angst leading up to and including the actual ear piercing.

    I never pictured myself piercing my baby’s ears, but we did it at 7 weeks. However, I’d say if you’re thinking about it while pregnant or soon after giving birth, then your mommy intuition is telling
    earlier is better.

    Our ped encouraged me to do it when mommy could care for them. She gave me some info
    how to find the right person, place, type of earrings and post care instructions. This was very helpful in making it a good experience for us.

    Lastly, if your’re on the fence “to pierce or not to pierce,” drop me an e-mail if you’d like our ped’s
    thoughts for moms having their dd’s ears pierced.

    Angietune@hotmail.com

  21. 23
    Eve says:

    Some of my friends got their daughter’s ears pierced at their pediatrician’s office. It seems safer and cleaner at a docs office.

  22. 24
    Amanda says:

    I think it’s okay to go back on a randomly set age rule if you set the proper framework. Your daughter showed initiative by already practicing good hygiene and responsibility for pierced ears without even having them. Letting her know that you’ve noticed and praising her for this, I think, allows you to give in and show her that it is not age that determines what you can do in some cases, but personal responsibility. My daughter was asking at 4 to have her ears pierced. I told her that I think she needs to be a little older for all the reasons you told your daughter. Once I described how they pierced ears and mentioned that it would hurt a bit — not to scare her, but to prepare her — she said she thought 5 was a better age and hasn’t mentioned it since. We’ll see what happens at 5. Right now I’m still getting her to take responsibility for her things and her hygiene routine consistently, so that tells me that if she gets her ears pierced it will be up to me to take care of them. I think I currently have enough responsibilities. 🙂

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