Teens Piercing Things Besides Ears

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Dentist visit for teen with multiple mouth piercings

March 2016

I'm looking for a referral to a dentist for my soon to be 18 year old daughter. She has not been in several years, during which time she has gotten multiple piercings involving her mouth (tongue, lips and one inside the upper lip). Her wisdom teeth are coming in and potentially need to be taken out, but I'd like to start with a general check-up. Looking for a dentist who will not lecture her about the piercings, or insist they be taken out for X-rays. We're in SF, she's in Oakland. We have insurance. Mom of alternative kid


There's no dentist who won't make her take out her piercings for x-rays. We all found that out the hard way and she can too. It doesn't mean the dentist is making a value judgment, it means the dentist is trying to do his/her job correctly.

For what it's worth, my sister's tongue piercing did a decent amount of damage to her teeth over the years. Nothing you can really do to convince your daughter of this, it is what it is. Punky Brewster


14-year-old is pushing hard for nose piercing and bleached hair

Nov 2013

My 14 year old girl is pushing hard for piercings. She has 2 lobe on each ear and 1 helix (upper edge of 1 ear) already. To me, that seems like plenty for someone her age, still in 8th grade. She now wants a nose piercing and threatens to do it herself if we won't let her have it done. I want her to wait until she's older. Another area of struggle is hair. She has hair down to her rear end that is raggedy and scraggly. She's dyed it numerous times, which I don't mind, but it's very damaged. Now she wants to bleach it of all color so the dye will be more vibrant. Unlike the dye, bleaching is permanent and could look terrible for years. Am I hopelessly out of touch and an old fogey? Is this what other 14 year olds are doing? We are accused of treating her like a baby.
Thoughts?
Very uncool mom


Dear Very uncool mom,

Ah, the ''it's my hair, ears, body, brain, etc, so I'll do what I want'' chant of the adolescent. We all have heard it. I bet we all did it to our parents too. It's humbling and annoying, but most folks will say it's part of kids asserting a sense of self.

Now that we've said it, it sure doesn't help if your teen wants to do something crazy that ''lasts for years''. But she's not listening to you, right?

Then get an expert to talk to her about these issues. So she wants to wreck her hair - take her to a good stylist who will talk with her and tell her what she can and can't do. Perhaps they will brainstorm an interesting solution together.

She wants to get pierced - then take her to talk to her doctor to tell he what she can and can't do and why. And tell her to research California law on piercings and at what age a kid may assert her rights to procedures. It may enlighten her as to limits on self beyond her parents ''not being fair''.

While she can assert she will do what she wants, California law may assert otherwise. For example, for piercings she must have the consent of her parent if she is under 18 (16 for ears).

If she demands your consent, tell her that she may do what she wants to do with her body, but you do not have to submit to her demands, any more than you can insist she undergo piercing without her consent. It is a dual consent process. This means she should work with her parents to find an agreeable solution, or wait until she is of age to completely make her own decisions.

My oldest daughter wanted her ears pierced. I told her she could when she was 16 and able to make that decision herself, because I could not in good conscience agree to any unnecessary procedure on her body, but I would fully support her if she chose to do so according to California law. When she turned 16, she still wanted her ears pierced, so I found a good salon that was well recommended and I took her there myself.

If this was about her demanding to not wear her seatbelt in a car, you'd be well within your rights to refuse to drive her - in fact, you would be in violation of the law if you gave into her demands. I see no difference with piercings or other procedures regulated by law.

Hair, though, grows back - eventually. If it looks scraggly, she can learn to braid it, put it up in a chignon, or style it differently. Encourage her to explore options beyond ''dye and ignore'' with a good stylist. It *is* her hair, after all, but it's always nice to get a second opinion. Good Luck


We made a pact with my daughter that she could do anything with her hair, and I would pay, but no piercings outside ears. I don't believe minors can get facial piercings without consent, and you really want to discourage her from poking holes in her own nose or eyebrows. My teen born with medium brown hair started with red color on her very long hair in middle school. Then multi-color streaks by a hairstylist that convinced her to lose some length to make it ''edgy''. Then, with permission, she bleached and dyed it teal green...just in time for the only professional family photos we've had in a decade:) Bleach made her hair unhealthy, so she got a very short pixie cut. Currently she has a platinum bob a la Daisy from Great Gatsby, but plans to go sky blue Japanese anime. The thing is that when she can have back what she started with, and in the meantime she can change her look every few weeks for about $10 in hair dye once its bleached.

My daughter dresses pretty punk rock and the hair makes more of a statement than piercings, if your daughter is also going for that ''creative/ rebel/ edgy'' vibe. Going lighter will result in unhealthy hair- she can cut off or condition heavily- or own the destroyed look. She can dye it back to her old color (no bleach) which will coat the shaft and make it look better- in between all these phases, mine had to dye it a color found in nature for a professional theater show and it looked fine. We go Maxi on Telegraph for cuts at reasonable prices and now do our own dye jobs. There are YouTube videos on how to achieve certain colors or transition from one to the other- basically you progress through the spectrum and just dye over faded color. After bright red, its time for purple and blue before you can achieve green. Finally- withe blonde base you can use hair chalks and have different color streaks every time you wash.

When my daughter looked like an elf with her green pixie, the only negative feedback I got was from parents of teens- worried about whether this meant my daughter was going to the dark side. Senior citizens stopped her on the street to tell her she looked adorable, her 85 y.o. grandpa showed the family photos to his friends with pride, and random teens always give her thumbs up when we travel. Facial piercings seem off putting to me, but color is more whimsical and speaks to a certain confidence, even though the teens feel like they are really making a statement.

p.s. you may consider the ''mohawk exception'' should you choose to make the pact- that was gonna be a hard one for me- I was saved from having to modify our agreement only by the fact that she got in another play. I'm mousy brown over gray


We made these rules (I have two former teens and one soon-to-be teen):

Piercing: ear lobes OK at 11, no other piercings till 18
Hair: they can do whatever they want with their hair

About piercing: I just personally don't like seeing pierced kids, so this is the main reason why I have this rule. There is also the problem of infection. One of my kids in his 20s pierced various facial features that all became infected, including a lower lip that swelled up multiple times. He eventually gave up on the piercing although he has a lot of tattoos (that's another story - after 18 only!). Nearly all his friends, especially the girls, have multiple piercings on their heads (eyebrows, noses, lips, tongues, ears, etc.) In fact, most of the girls my preppy untattooed son has dated also have multiple piercings. I especially hate the plugs. Gross! Why do they do that!!??!!

About hair: IMO kids should be able to express themselves with their hair. It's temporary anyway. Even if they completely wreck it down to the hair follicles it will usually still grow back OK, as I know from ''frosting'' my own hair in my early teens and ruining it a couple of times. My one kid, the one with the tattoos, has bleached and dyed and tinted his hair every color imaginable starting at age 13 or so, and he still does at 27 except when a job has specified otherwise. Believe me, it builds character (meaning, the mom's character) to visit relatives in the Deep South with a kid whose hair is green. But I like having such an expressive and creative kid.

There have been very few problems otherwise EXCEPT for 2 things: 1) Bleach and dye stains on towels and bathroom fixtures. Make sure you are clear with her about materials she can use, where she does it, and the clean-up. 2) A bottle of cheapo dye once resulted in terrible dermatitis that took antibiotics to clear up, so make sure she's using quality products. Good luck. local mom


Dear Very Uncool Mom, You sound just like me at that time and I am not uncool! You are concerned with the right things but perhaps some are worth letting go of. You are definitely not treating her like a baby. You are being good parents! I had similar things with my son at that age. (He is now 19.) I did let him pierce his eyebrow as a compromise (no nose) but with that we made a deal that there would be no more piercings till 18yrs. He was also dying his hair like crazy and lets face it who cares. He got over it. Bleaching is not permanent by the way, well it grows out. Actually I kind of got involved with the hair dying and had fun with it. We dyed and added different colors every month. I loosened up about the hair. It really is not that important. I made agreements one for the other kind of thing and that helped. The hair became an art project that included me and we had fun.

I think your concerned are important but there are compromises that work. Tracy


My daughter's nearly 15 and has only the one 'conservative' ear piercing, and no hair coloring. I believe that piercing under age 16 at a safe, clean place like Claire's requires your consent. If this was my situation I would threaten to suspend the tv cable service or internet service if she comes home with an illegally and unsafely pierced nose. She's still in your house and you can show that you care by sticking to some rules. Mom of two teens


wow, I thought for a sec I might have typed your letter while asleep, because you've described my arty fashion and design-oriented kid! I'm not that fussed about piercings/hair dye as self-expression, tho I did lay out all of the possible consequences (infection, damaged hair, funny looks/disapproving comments from people etc). BTW, you have to be 18 to get pierced or tattooed without parental consent, so her threats are empty (unless she's got a high pain tolerance and a brave friend with a good aim). Please remember that hair grows back and holes heal up if you take the piercing out, so none of this is permanent. I think the piercing (done at Zebra-very professional) and the hair look great, and despite the fact that I am a hugely tight-assed parent about a lot of things, this was not an issue for me. more than skin deep


Hey uncool mom,

I took a class on parenting tough teens. Well, one of the ''problems'' in the reader was on what to do if ''Teen wants to dye his/her hair Blue''. The question was ''Who owns the problem, you or your teeN?'' and there were a series of problems for us to decide who they belonged to. Well, we all agreed that that one was the teens' problem--except one mom who said ''I don't think that's a problem at all''. In Berkeley, it probably is not.

When it's the teen's problem, our job is to leave them alone.

Other problems included ''Teen sneaks out the window at 3:00 AM,'' ''Teen threatened classmate with baseball bat'' and ''teen was caught with crystal meth''. We all agreed that those were both the parents' and the teen's problems. So put things in perspective.

We have enough REAL problems to deal with raising teens in this world. If your teen wants cool piercings & interesting hair, so be it. If you deny her now, she'll probably grow up & pierce her tongue, eyebrow & labia because you denied her the chance to do it when she really wanted to. Why don't you focus on the really important problems, in the vein of those above--and if your kid doens't have any such problems, then just be so thankful. Keep it real.


College aged daughter wants to pierce her nose

Jan 2007

My husband and I are divided about our college age daughter's intention to pierce her nose. She says she will wear nothing more than a tiny stud, but my husband is adamant about the fact that such a move will ruin her professional future/limit her marketability in the workplace because conventional companies will not consider hiring someone with a pierced nose for a career-oriented position. I am uncertain. I know when I entered the job market upon graduating from college, such a piercing would not have been accepted in the professional world. However, I am willing to concede that perhaps in this regard I am out of date. Therefore, I ask your advice and guidance. Appreciative Mom


Your daughter is college-aged; I can't believe this is even something you have a say in. I sure didn't ask my parents for approval, just showed up with a nosering... that was a fun Thanksgiving. However, since you asked, a nosering can be taken out at any time. The hole can be kept open with a clear bit of plastic (I used to snip off a bit of a clothes tag) if she just wants to take it out for an interview, or she can let it close up at any time with no noticeable scar. I wore my nosering through several job interviews and jobs in New York City; unless she's a banker, the nose ring is no big deal. nosey noserston


Well first of all, since your daughter is college aged, she can do whatever she wants - I assume that she's over 18 - and it's pretty great and a testament to your close relationship with her that she's asking your advice/permission about this. Personally I think your husband is overreacting, and I also really think it's her choice. I pierced my nose at age 22, just after college. After about 3 years I grew sick of it, took it out, and now I have a small scar that no one seems to notice. This piercing was done prior to the huge trend in piercing that has been around for about 10 years now, and I am a successful person in the health care professions... I think it could impact her career if she wants a really conservative career, like business, finance, elective government, but she can ALWAYS TAKE IT OUT for job interviews, or if she feels like it is having a negative impact. I guess it's a really personal decision, but to me it seems like it's HER choice. Plus she won't be young forever, and it is much harder to do these things when you're in your 30s, etc. I'd say let her experiment while it's developmentally appropriate. formerly pierced


It really depends what career field your daughter is interested in. I got my nose pierced in grad school, worked in journalism and publishing. Would it have affected my chance for a job at Time or Newsweek? Maybe, though a similarly pierced friend worked at the New York Times. I eventually took it out for a job interview, never got around to putting it back in. Now I'm a senior publishing executive, and have worked with many pierced and tattooed editors and designers. Banking or corporate law? I would imagine not so much. Still tattooed!


Hi, my children are stilll young, but I think as they get older I will only prohibit, or advise against, things that are permanent. ie, tattoos and some piercings that scar. A nose pierce is actually the one piercing that seems least likely to leave a noticable scar. I know because I did it when I went away to college! My parents dissaproved, but there was nothing they could do because I was 18 and it is my body. I only wore a small diamond on and off for a couple of years. My family teased me that it looked like a ''shiney booger.'' I really didn't care, in fact the more they expressed their dislike for it, the more I just wanted to keep it in. I was not the rebellious type at all, just a regular teenager trying to find my style.

I have never met a person with a significant scar on the nose. I still have the hole there--10 years later--and I can still push an earring through with a bit of pain. lol. However, it just looks like a larger pore. You would have to lean in very close to my face to even see anything. That being said, other piercing DO leave scars. I have had my ears pierced many times and you can see all of them. Other places where the skin is pinched to pierce it, for example eyebrow and belly button, can leave horrible scars. Have you ever seen someone with a red line across the eyebrow? One little infection can leave that scar on your face for life ...not pretty.

I say, support her and don't make a big deal out of it. She can take it out when she wants and it will not be noticable. She will probably get tired of it in the next year and take it out herself. Best to you!


I am a 34 year old mom who was a prior pierced crazed young adult. Please tell you daughter before she makes this decision that no matter how small the ring/stud is it will leave a scar that will never go away. I too had a TINY silver stud in my nose. It left a giant blue scar on my nose... even now 12 years later. I frequently have strangers come up to me telling me I have pen on my nose. It is horrible and after consulting a dermo I would have to have a form of plastic surgery to make it go away, which would also leave a small scar.

I have scars on my lip and eyebrow where I also had piercing. They still get ''infected'' from time to time and it is VERY painful. The worst was my navel rings. After having my daughter the scar tissue ripped where my navel rings used to be (again... the rings were removed 12 years ago... so just a scar remained) and now I have a VERY deformed navel that will require plastic surgery to fix. I will never be able to wear a bikini again. These are the things that teens and young adults don't think about. I wish I knew now what I didn't know then. regretful


I don't have a nose peircing. But I've known people for more than twenty years now who have. It's still disgusting to me, and irreperable to them, the ever present hole in the middle of their faces. Milk cows have nose rings, OK, not people. To say it's fashionable is like saying smoking pot is fashionable. It's nothing new. You are not out of date. Why anyone would stick something in the middle of their faces to distract from the beauty and meaning conveyed from their eyes is beyond me. It's not that the nose ring itself would cause discrimination in an interview, it's the fact that the personal bond established by nondistracting eye contact is affected, something that is so important in professional work.


Your husband is right. Pierced anything other than a couple of holes in ears is gross, gross, gross for those who can see the piercings. This includes--gack--the tongue. Adults can do anything they want, however. That means your kid, once she has reached majority, is an adult. Just make sure she understands this ''adult'' business goes both ways, and she is really unlikely to do anything for her career or personal life if she mutilates herself in ways that are visible when wearing most clothes. That is, unless, she chooses the ''oldest'' profession! You might want to discuss what will happen to over-pierced skin (or better yet, tatooed skin) when all of these cool chicks age. Now, THAT gives me nightmares. Good luck, Mom! anon


Hi there, She's college age, right? Then there's nothing you can do, and IMHO you should both tell her how you feel and then back off. If she goes ahead then she can always take the stud out for interviews and work, or she can fail to get a few jobs with it in and then make a decision that feels right for her. If you want her to be a responsible adult you need to let her make stupid decisions, unfortunately. Pick your battles -- if she and your husband lose mutual respect over something as ultimately trivial as this, then will she be able to talk to him when something really serious happens? If he persists she's might start to feel like he has no faith in her ability to succeed in the future, especially as apparently getting her nose pierced will destroy everything. A nicer message might be 'We know you're smart and capable, we just worry that an interviewer might not be able to see past the face jewelery. However, we trust you to make your own decision about this, and we love you whatever.'' Not that I'm telling you what to say, I'm just telling you what I would have wanted to hear when I was making my own dumb-ass decisions when I was at college (tattoos, idiot boyfriends, shots of jagermeister, etc etc). Hey, at least she's asking you for input, rather than just turning up with fifty seven piercings and a boyfriend who roadies for the band. Abbi


The great thing about nose piercings is that they are removable. And while they can be a liability in some industries, they can be a positive asset in others. So before you worry, consider what your daughter wants to do as a career. The music business, advertising, radio/TV/film, and so many other bay area industries are filled with talented individuals sporting tattoos, piercings and even scarring. Consider: % The 25-year old high-tech PR account executive I know with a nose piercing. % The web designer I worked with who had 3 piercings in his penis (I took his word for it). % My cats' vet, with a tattoo up her neck. Really, unless your daughter wants to be a politician, a lawyer or a manager, she should be fine. anon


I am a 37 year old professional. I have had a nose ring for 20 years. In most situations it has never been an issue. When I thought it would stand out during an interview I removed it...simple as that. And I wasn't as considerate as your daughter about talking to my parents first, I just went out and did it... pierced and employed


If she is 18 or older, she gets to decide on her own (as you probably realize). Nice of you to give your loving opinions. Perhaps it's time to get used to having her make decisions contrary to those you would make (easy for me to say now...but not in 8 years!). It's good that you have an open mind about it. Good luck with your husband! Mom


I think perhaps you and your husband are over-reacting. Times are different now and this is California. I think your daughter will find her way into whatever career she wants with a nosering. Maybe the strict, conservative career world is not for her anyway. Also, when I went off to college, I remember my parents telling me that I was an adult now and able to make my own decisions. I have always remembered this and appreciated their trust in me. I did get a nosering in my twenties. They weren't happy about it. They had similar concerns to yours. (this was in Louisiana!) But, it was my decision. It has had no negative effects on my life. I am now married, 36-years-old, with a daughter & still have my nosering. I also am beginning a career this year as a doctor. All the best to you & your daughter. anon


Of course it will limit her. Sure, she might not choose to work for conservative companies anyway, but you never know with an up and down job market, how your future will go. Why do anything that would make you a less desirable candidate? There are many, many companies who would find a nose piercing unacceptable, even these days. All that said, she is an adult now. You should prep her with the appropriate information, and let her know she could be shooting herself in the foot, and that is her choice. BTW, when employers don't hire her, they won't tell her it's because of her nose piercing. anon


Your daughter is over 18. You may not like it, it may hinder her job search, but whatever the case, she's old enough to make her own decisions and learn from them. For what it's worth, I'm friendly with a woman in her 50s who has a small stud in her nose; she's a social worker, a home owner, and it doesn't seem to have hindered her life in any way. You're overthinking this. ---Not *that* Berkeley


IF your daughter is college age, then she is old enough to make decisions that effect her life on her own. YOu've done your job raising her, now you need to let go. Besides, nose rings are pretty main stream now and she can always take the stud out for interviews or jobs. namastesf


Hi - I just had to respond. I've actually had my nose pierced going on 20 years now, and didn't care a bit about appearances when I first did it since at the time it was quite counter- cultural. Now, though, I think it's pretty tame. I see bank tellers with pierced eyebrows, etc. More importantly, I myself am now an attorney and worked at one extremely large international law firm for years and later a mid-size SF firm and had no problem whatsoever with my nose stud, either from colleagues, opposing counsel, or clients. I really wouldn't worry about it. At least it's not her tongue! pierced and professional


Your post made me angry at your husband -- irrationally so. Then I realized it was because it reminded me of MY parents' reactions when, as a Cal undergrad and grad student, I got into body piercing. (That was way back in the early '90s, when it was a lot more uncommon.) I didn't stop to ask first, and neither should your daughter! Poor woman -- I want her to stand up for herself.

Anyway, back to your question. First of all, she's certainly not ''ruining her future,'' as piercings are easily removed and are practically invisible when no jewelry is being worn, so if she still wants to keep her piercing several years from now when she goes to work at an uptight investment bank, she can have it both ways and no one will know. Secondly, I'm not at all sure that most ''conventional companies'' care any more about discreet body art. I know many professionals (medical doctors, librarians, and scientists) who have piercings and/or tattoos. I guess maybe some types of business are more conservative, but times really have changed. Finally, if she changes her mind she can simply remove the jewelry and the piercing will grow over.

By the time I was through I had a double-pierced nostril, a lip stud, a tongue piercing, a navel ring, and various earrings. I took out the visible facial piercings for job interviews as a public librarian and never had any trouble; after I'd been at a job for a while and could assess my employers I added some of them back. Then over the years I simply got tired of having so many piercings and one by one let them grow over. I finally took out my tongue piercing last year, at the age of 36. Really, with piercings you can have your cake and eat it too -- unlike tattoos, which are so much more permanent. Nicole R.


Nose piercing! Yuck! That being said, if your daughter is over 18, it's out of your hands and quite frankly none of your business except to express your opinion with the probability of being ignored. But to your question: Will a pierced nose impede your daughter's chance of getting a job? That depends on what kind of job she wants (Accountant, Investment Banker, Artistic Coordinator) and where she wants to do the job (San Francisco vs New York). Geography matters in terms of the regional acceptance of ''non-mainstream'' embelishments. You will find S.F. Investment specialist and accountants with many piercings, however in Chicago and New York the piercing may create difficulty. If she is going for a more artistic job or work for a non-profit, it may help her land the job. So, Sorry I can't give you the blanket answer you want, but it all depends. And in any case, the hole will grow back when/if she doesn't want it any more. Hope you can find acceptance of your daughter's adventure in figuring out who she is seperate from her parents (that is her job right now after all). I also suspect if you and your husband offer no opinion, the whole issue will quickly become a non-issue. Harvard MBA w/multiple ear piercings in the finance indusrty.


I have worked for book publishers, universities, nonprofit organizations, and state government, and in every place I have worked, I have had coworkers with nose studs. True, they were not CEOs, but neither were they at the bottom of the hierarchy. In some more conservative industries, a nose stud might be a liability, in others it might be the norm. She should think of this before deciding. anon


How sensitive you are to think there might be more than one right answer re: your daughter's nose piercing. I think companies now (esp in the bay area and typically in less conservative depts such as marketing, advertising, web development, IT) are more open-minded about things like that. If your daughter is the best candidate they'll likely not decide against her based on her piercing. As someone who's been on the interviewer's side many times, what stands out to me is seeing someone come in with confidence, competency, and self- assuredness-- so your supporting her ability to make her own decisions is probably more of a help than restricting her piercing. That said, the great thing about piercings is she can always take it out before an interview and once she's hired and gets a feel for the culture (and dazzles everyone), she can decide whether it's appropriate to wear it to work. Eyebrow, nose, & ear pierced career woman w/ office ;-)


I think the effects of a pierced nose on your daughter's career prospects is dependent on the industry she's going to be entering and the kind of company she'd like to work for. A lot (not all, by any means, but a lot) of creative jobs don't have a problem with piercings. I work at an arts organization, and one of our senior-level people has her nose pierced, and has had it the whole 5 years she's been here. I do quite a bit of hiring myself and wouldn't be bothered by a potential employee having a pierced nose, as long as it wasn't flashy. In a more corporate setting, I can imagine it might be a problem. But perhaps your daughter is aware of the work environments she'll be in, and knows it won't hurt her chances of employment. Also, it's not permanent. If she needs to, she can remove the stud later on or get a clear stud. The piercing doesn't become invisible, but it does get pretty close. --hardly notices them anymore


As the proud bearer of a nose ring for nearly 30 years now, I can tell you that it's perfectly easy, after a time, to take the ring out for work purposes and still be able to put jewelry in it after work. I worked as a corporate executive for a major corporation for many, many years with my nose pierced, and I don't think anyone even knew it! The hole is nearly imperceptible unless someone is really scrutinizing your pores, which I doubt any employer would do. I'd say relax and let your almost grown up daughter do what she wants, a piercing isn't for forever unless one wants it to be. -- pierced/tattooed and still employable


i have to respond after that ''oldest profession'' statement. i am a 40 year old professional woman who has full arm ''sleeve'' tattoos, although they do get brought up, it is more curiosity (i work in an office of a corp that teaches children) than disgust. that is about the most gross over exageration i have ever heard. what are you? in the 1950's? if you don't like it, don't do it, but who are you to judge others? that aside. you (as parents) have no say over what an eighteen year old does. believe me, i know. don't sweat the small stuff, she will either remove it later or not, it will not lower her IQ or determine her future. if this is as ''rebellious'' as she gets, count yourselves lucky. juliet


I did not see the original post, so apologies in advance if my point is non-issue, (not sure if nose ring seeking daughter is financially dependent on her folks).

When I was 18, I recognized that I was an adult and could ''legally'' make decisions on my own. However, my parents raised both my sister and I to understand that while under their financial care (they were putting us through college) it was clear that we could not do certain things against their wishes. Examples: get tattoos, body piercings, live with boyfriends, etc. It's not like we went over a list of do's and don'ts on our 18th birthdays..... It was simply knowing my folks and their values regarding certain issues and if you knew Mom and Dad wouldn't approve, you wouldn't do it.

As a young adult, I hated it of course. But as a parent, I completely get it. I believe it fostered a respect for my Mom and Dad that so many young adults and teens lack these days. It also gave me the drive to be a grown up and make my own way so I could make the decisions in life that I wanted, and not have to ''consult'' someone for their approval. Furthermore (and the best part) I would have only ''me'' to answser to and the pride of knowing I made the decision on my own. nose ring fan


16-year-old wants to get her belly button pierced

I could use some advice. My soon to be 16 year old wants her belly button pierced for 16th birthday. I am opposed to body piercing (and have said that if I had it to do over I wouldn't have pierced my ears or hers). When the question of piercing arose over a year ago, I suggested she speak with her pediatrican during her check-up visit. (I thought that if the doctor didn't advise against piercing (this time it was her nose)then I would step back and reconsider -- no promises) As it turns out her physician (Dr. Landman) was against the idea of piercing. The matter died down for quite a while, but now I'm being lobbied heavily for the piercing.

Has anyone dealth with this issue? What decision did you make and why? I don't want her to just go off and do this anyway, but I really don't feel comfortable with approving it. Usually this discomfort is enough, but I'd like to hear other opinions and check out whether I'm just stuck in the stone age.


I've been in this exact situation with my daughter but I consented. Since I would never consent to nose piercing or tongue or lip piercings and she already had her ears pierced in a several places, I said yes to what I perceived to be the lesser of the evils--and told her as long as she could keep the area sterile it would be fine. And it has been. My daughter's now in college and her belly button ring came out in soccer practice; she had it replaced for $25 by the end of the day and she told me the hole had almost closed and it had to be re-pierced. She's using her own money now, and you can see where her priorities are: she chose the belly button replacement for $25 over a reading lamp for her room (she must be reading by flashlight or something). Anyway, my point is it could be much worse, choose your battles carefully, and from 16 year old girls, there are way too many sometimes to choose from. --anon (been there, done that)


My daughter pleaded to 'pierce' for about a year. We all finally agreed that there is a certain amount of 'fashion' pressure which in turn is directly related to 'Peer-pressure'. This still didn't deter her as she was enormously attracted to the whole idea. Finally (after much battling of wills) we agreed to piercing any part of her body that was 'private'. We felt strongly that her choice was personal and should have no obvious ramifications to those observing her. In other words we did not want her to be judged, either now or later (eg at a job interview). We also didn't want to have to be forced to see it every day from now on!! Anybody considering being pierced has to realize that others may have extremely strong negative reactions to a piercing which affect how they are perceived in general. We felt it was self limiting, taking on the trappings of an identity group, etc. etc. ( we discussed how it would feel to HAVE to be pierced or tattoed against your will). She had her navel pierced just after turning 13 and it looks adorable on her flat tummy. It healed beautifully and we all learned alot about compromise and sensible decision making. We felt that if it were so important to be pierced it was worth waiting for, just like so many other important things. Who knows how she will feel at 18 Years old? Good Luck with your situation. Deb


I'm a freshmen at BHS and i had my bellybutton pierced in 7th grade. i have had no problems with it and my parents didn't mind it even though they usually object to body mutilaton because they can't see it at all. if your daughter does decide to get it done i recomend you go to Zebra on telegraph. it costs about 60 dollars for the jewelry and the actually piercing and the cleaning solutions which are really important. it heals pretty easily as long as you take care of it and it doesn't hurt too much either.


This is in response to a recent post about a soon to be 16 year old wanting to get her belly-button pierced. I guess my question to the parent would be, what specifically are your objections? Do you not like the look, does it mean something morally, ethically or ? to you? My daughter had her belly-button pierced for her 16th birthday. My son got a tattoo on his arm for his 18th. I myself have my nose pierced, so perhaps my view might be considered less conservative. The underlying reasoning, though, is after several discussions with both of my children about their desires for tattoos and piercing is: For them it seems to be a statement about individuality and I think, independence. While I was really skeptical at first, I let them both make the choice, pointing out the downsides when they're adults. Will they regret their choice? I think a tattoo is a more obvious regret because unlike a piercing, it won't go away. Both of my kids are levelheaded and smart and I felt it was better to let them experiment. I know it might be hard to understand their desire, but it's a statement of their youth culture. Do you remember yours? How did your parents feel about it? I think it's difficult as a parent to remember what it was like to be their age. Whether it's due to my attitude about it (the piercings, tattoos), I have a really good relationship with my kids and they seem to be less rebellious than I was at their age (I was brought up in a really strict Catholic environment). Taking care of the piercing is really not that difficult. She'll need to be vigilant about cleaning it, etc. I also recommend a reputable place, like Zebra in Berkeley where both my daughter and I had our piercings. They're safe, clean and gentle. Karen


13-year-old wants to get her nose pierced

My daughter is 13 and wants to get her nose pierced. I'd be curious as to other parents' take on piercing in general. As parents, we have asked that she wait until she is a little older to make this decision. She has not liked this response and keeps bringing up the issue. Yes, this isn't piercing of genitals or piercing of nipples or belly button. Yet, I think 13 is a little early to make this decision. I'd like other parents' opinions.


When my daughter was 12, I let her pierce the top of her ear, which hurt quite a bit according to her. As middle school progressed she wanted more piercings. Her friends have gotten eyebrows, nose and and navel piercings. I decide I wanted her to wait until she was older to do any more piercing, 18 to be exact. She bugged me about this every so often thru middle school and I calmly stuck to my guns even though I was feeling a little prudish. Anyway my point is she is now in high school, knows my rule and hasn't brought it up in a long while. In other words they get past it and it wasn't ever a big fight. That's my opinion. -Lynn


Regarding the piercing dilemma.... earlobe and belly button and genital and many other kinds of piercing are traumatic for parents, but they are all for the most part temporary if the ring, etc. is taken out and care is taken to heal the wound. Nose piercing (and upper/top of the ear piercing) is something different: it's PERMANENT absent reconstructive surgery. You are well within your rights to prevent this at the age of 13, although there are different approaches. When our twelve year old announced that she wanted her nose pierced, we got in touch with her dance teacher who had been nose pierced. She emphasized to our daughter that nose piercings are forever, and how she now regretted it. This was far more powerful than anything we could do or say. We then left it up to our daughter..... she decided against it. K.


To the parent of 13 year old wanting to get a nose-piercing: I have no opinion about piercings in general but wanted to share an amusing (to me) story about my son who asked to pierce his ear back when that first came into fashion among boys (he was about 12 or 13 then). I told him that when he was 18 he could do anything he wanted with his body but until then I was pulling rank and protecting him from any decisions he might regret. This was actually not typical of how I usually handle things with my kids and I forgot all about this talk until the summer after his freshman year in college. He and his girlfriend were talking about someone's piercings and I asked my son why he had never pierced anything. He said, Because you wouldn't let me. I just about fell over because we had so long ago passed the point where he asks my permission or even advice on anything to do with his appearance. He also said that he is glad he never did it because he doesn't like them now. Again, I don't have a clue whether your daughter would be grateful in the long run if you disallowed her nose piercing but it continues to amaze me that my kids actually listen to me occasionally and that wisdom can be imparted. G.


Thank you, Digest and parents for the input about piercing. Just after I recieved it my 13 year old daughter surprised me with an earlobe piercing request. Thanks to all of you I din't have to do independent research, just printed all your responses and left them on her desk. Thank you all and best wishes for the future parenting dilemas. K


This is concerning the nose piercing situation. My daughter was talking about piercing and tattooing for the longest time. She finally went out and got her nose pierced. I was bothered by it, but it was certainly the lesser of evils. It seemed to satisfy her urge to be groovy. Anyway, she had it for a couple of years, it wasn't very noticeable and it finally fell out and she just let it grow back. It has left no scars. It was enough of a hassle that I think she learned quickly that she didn't want to go further down that road.


13-year-old wants to get her tongue pierced

My 13 yo daughter wants to get her tongue pierced. Any advice (for me or her!) (The idea grosses me out.) Thank you, it's lovely having this group available to ask these questions of.
Barbara


Dear Parent of Wannabepierced 13 year old: Our daughter wanted to have her tongue piereced recently. We did not say no. We made a contract wherein she would do research on the subject of tongue piercing. This research had to include information obtained from conversations with her pediatrician and her dentist. Our contract also stated that my husband and I would each do our own research on the topic, including conversations with our personal physicians and dentists. We agreed to meet when we had all our information together, make reports on what we found and make a decision. This was a fabulous process. My husband and I were predisposed to be against it just because both of us felt it was totally repulsive. It was a good experience to avoid acting out of a gut feeling (believe me, many times that's all we have to go on and we do - we thought we could do this one a different way and thank goodness it worked). My husband and I even had to stop ourselves from discussing it between ourselves in order to be in compliance with our contract with our daughter. The upshot of all this is that we all found out a great deal - a great deal of negative information about tongue piercing. Because of the time involved in doing the research and the nature of the contract our daughter had a lot of time to feel that she could have her tongue pierced, there being no definite NO. We got an opportunity to develop our argument against it - or not! Our daughter decided against doing this on her own. Try it! The risk you are taking is that you'll end up deciding to let her have her nose pierced. Edith


I would strongly advise against letting your daughter get her tongue pierced. Most dentists will tell you that in addition to trauma to the tongue, that metal implements in the mouth cause cracks in the back of the teeth that can lead to teeth and bone infections, some severe enough to require that sections of the jaw need replacing (which is painful and costly surgery). My father was a physician in SF and had several patients with tongue piercings who experienced this very problem. Replacing the jaw is about $15,000+ worth of surgery along, not to mention recovery time and medications. Both Dear Abby and Ann Landers columns report similar problem incidents with tongue piercings every couple of months. I'm sure you can get a lot of material from the American Dental Association on the problems associated with tongue piercing. Tell your daughter no.
Jennifer


Re: tongue piercing: the American Dental Association has come out strongly against tongue piercing and indeed oral piercing of all kinds. Dentists are seeing an epidemic of injuries, including cracked teeth, from tongue studs. Your thirteen-year old's teeth are permanent and the only ones she will ever have. A cracked tooth is a serious injury - it might well have to be crowned (with porcelain if in front, which is likely) and not just once - probably the crown will have to be replaced a few times in the course of her life. In effect the person will have a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) for the rest of his or her life. I won't even go into the dangers of infection from the piercing or acquiring an allergy to metal through this insult to tissue.

Here's a statement from the ADA on oral piercing: http://www.ada.org/prac/position/piercing.html

My children have not indicated an interest in piercing, but if my minor child did, I would tell him or her that the piercing and some of its possible consequences are permanent, and people under the age of 18 are too young to take this irrevocable step - if she still wants to do it when she is an adult, she can do it with her own money and pay for any correction of injuries with her own money also.

If your child is such a one that letting her do it is the lesser of two evils (and I know it can be like that) then at least I would have her pay for everything with her own money - including treatment for injuries or infection. (Have you priced a porcelain dental crown recently?)

Catherine


My wife works at the UOP School of Dentistry in S.F. and when are neighbor asked about tongue piercing my wife told her that the problem that had come up was chipped teeth! Teeth chipped by inadvertent biting on the stud. I don't remember any comments on infections - although the mouth is rife with bacteria. Also tongue pierces close extremely fast so its not a sometime thing. Pierce it and leave it in ---
Mark


To the parent who asked about tongue piercing: I am not an expert on piercing, but as a nurse practitioner in a teen clinic, I see lots of pierced body parts, including tongues, and rarely have to care for complications. Ears and navels are sometimes prone to infection. But the tongue has the best circulation of any of the usually-pierced body parts, so infections are extremely rare, and I've never seen one. People tend to ooze a little blood for the first two weeks or so, and I have heard of (but not seen) people who had to get the piercing removed because the bleeding would not stop (my sense is that this is pretty rare). I have seen pierced tongues in every gender, ethnic group, and type of student, and teens rarely complain of any problems.

What might be more of a problem is that people tend to play a lot with their piercing at first, which might cause dental problems (there are now plastic balls available, instead of just metal, which might irritate teeth less). If you are going to consult any health care practitioner before deciding whether to give your approval to this venture, I would recommend your child's dentist.

It goes without saying that your child should go to a reputable piercing shop, not only because they use new equipment with each customer, but also because they give good self-care advice and are used to dealing with minor piercing complications.

Good luck on this decision-making process. (I have an 11-year-old who is already counting the days until she can get her nose or navel pierced, and there are a lot of days left to count!)

Naomi