October 26, 2012

Pierced Ears

Elizabeth's ears are pierced, and have been since she was five. It's gone really well, much better than when I had MY ears pierced at five and they got infected, and KEPT getting infected, until we let the holes close up.

She's had two minor infections in the last couple of years, both of which cleared up with a few days of cleaning them with the stuff they gave us a bottle of when we got her ears pierced, and putting antibiotic ointment on them. Other than that, they've been zero care: after the first six to eight weeks or however long it was that the ear-piercing place told us to take daily care of them, we haven't routinely cleaned them or done anything at all with them.

I asked her yesterday what percentage of her female classmates had their ears pierced, and she said about half. I was interested because customs vary widely: in some communities it's common to get the ears pierced in infancy, and in others it's common to wait until the teens. My GUESS was that my particular community the curve would show very few (but SOME) infancy piercings, and very few (but SOME) "not until you're 16/18/21" piercings, but then the biggest chunk of piercings divided into three basic age groups: the "about age 5-6" group, the "about age 9-10" group, and the "about age 12-13" group.

I really wish there was a good way to COLLECT information I'm curious about. I can stare at everyone's ears and come up with a very loose estimate---but that doesn't give me BACK STORY. I've gotten used to the blog-type community, where if I'm curious about something I can just ASK. ...Maybe it's not too late to get my questions added to the ballot.

Here's basically what I'm wondering: What was your own pierced-ears experience, and how was the age decision reached? And then, what about your daughter-related experience/plans? (You don't need to have daughters to answer this part---it can be what do you think you WOULD do if you DID.)

My own experience is that I got my ears pierced twice in early childhood, at about ages 5 and 7, once with star-shaped studs and once with birthstone studs. I remember really really wanting them pierced, so my guess is I did it at the very first age I was allowed to. The first time, the ears got repeatedly infected and we finally let them heal over, and the second time was a re-do in a slightly different location (the piercing person said the first pair hadn't been done in the right place). Then I got them pierced twice more in high school, so I have four holes in each ear. (I use two: top pair and bottom pair.)

For a daughter, I could think of upsides and downsides to any age for piercing. I wanted her to be old enough for it to be An Exciting Event, and I had age 5-8 in mind.


Cherish said...

I was about three and I remember being quite excited to do something special with just my mom. I rarely wore them though as a child or an adult but Im glad I have them done. I went myself around 16 and got a single upper ear piercing which I kept up until 24 or so. I dont remember any pain or infections in any of the holes

Rayne of Terror said...

I was 12 or 13 for the first piercing, and maybe 17 when I got the top of one ear done. The cartilage piercing never stopped being uncomfortable and so sometime in early college I took it out and let it grow over.

No daughters here.

Sarah said...

I had my ears pierced when I was in fifth grade, so, about 11? I'll probably have my own daughter wait until she's about that age, too. For me there was an aspect of "Well, you're almost grown up!" to it which was fun and nice.

As an aside, I'll probably take her to the piercing parlor here in town to have it done, instead of at the mall. I realize ALL kids have their ears done by the 16 year old at Claire's, but there's something that appeals to me about going to the INCREDIBLY hygienic place at the popular piercing/tattoo place and having it done by someone who knows what they're doing. I might change my mind, but it's what I'm thinking for right now.

Denise V. said...

I had mine pierced at age 8. I don't remember asking to have it done but it seems like my Mom offered and I thought it was a fun idea. Only had one infection--I tried on my Mom's gigantic Avon birthstone sparkly earrings and they caused my ears to bleed, etc. Never got additional piercings and I don't have daughters.

Christy said...

I was in the 9-10 range, as I was elementary school, but like 4th or 5th grade. I asked my mom if I could get them pierced and she took my friend (who already had pierced ears) and I out within the hour. She;s told me since that she had no age in mind, but that she was waiting for me to ask. I was very meek, so for me to speak up and bug her for something, she knew I had to want it. I hope I get a kid like that, since my first is definitely not afraid to ask (and ask and ASK) for everything under the sun.

Tommie said...

I was seven. My older daughter was six (she's nine now and rarely wears earrings but the holes are fine and so available when she wants to wear earrings.)

My younger daugther will be six next month but I think we're going to wait a couple more years for her. She's a picker, she gets fixated on things (she pulled her hair out of the left side of her head from the age of three until almost five) so I fear earrings perhaps irrationally.

StephLove said...

I never wanted my ears pierced so I never had it done. My 6 year old daughter does want hers done. I told her when she's 13. I'm honestly not sure why I chose that age. It seemed old enough for informed consent.

StephLove said...

Oh I suppose I should mention I have a son and if he wanted his ears pierced I'd say the same thing but he's never mentioned it.

Melissa said...

I was five when I got my ears pierced. I begged andmy mom took me before kindergarten. I loved them (gold stars) but quickly realized that I was a side sleeper so the back of the post dug into the side of my head when I slept (until I could take them out at night).

At 10, most of the girls in my super small class at school had double piercing so my mom took me for another piercing for my 10th birthday.

At 19, I got got my upper left ear pierced with a friend (the price was for two piercings...they didn't care which heads they were on). This only lasted until 21 when it randomly came out in a class and by the time class was over and I went to put it back in, the whole was partially closed. I don't miss it.

At 21, I got my belly button pierced at a tattoo parlor. There was a fist fight while I was there. It was...alarming for this suburban kid to see all the swearing and tattoos and fighting.

At 25, I took it out after repeated infections and a keloid (sp?) forming. I still have a terrible scar (not that I am ever going to be bikini ready again after this second kdi). Glad I did it. So glad it is out.

Bratling said...

I didn't get mine pierced until I was 18 and had my own money to do it. If $$ hadn't been a consideration, I probably would have done it earlier. I actually had two holes in each ear, but as time has passed, I stopped putting earrings in, so they've healed over.

My nieces, however, had theirs done at around 12 months. My brother and SIL were tired of their beautiful girls being called boys. Not that it helped. For some reason, the "what a cute little boy" comments increased after they got pink, sparkly earrings!

velocibadgergirl said...

I was initially told I had to wait until I was 16 (and my close older cousin was given the same rule). But then I started my period when I was 12 and was DEVASTATED, and my mom must've felt bad for me, because she told me I was allowed to get my ears pierced then. I remember my cousin was kind of pissed the I got mine done first.

If I ever had a daughter, I was planning to do the same thing. I guess I'm old-fashioned when it comes to piercing ears, which is kind if dumb since I have three earrings in each ear - one pair added freshman year in high school , negotiated for as a reward for straight As, one added senior year just because I wanted them and my mom didn't care. I also used to have two extra cartilage piercings in my right ear because that became A Thing the year I turned 18 and I wanted more piercings. One of those closed up after a persistent infection in late college. I still have the other one but only put the earring in a few times a month.

I didn't have too much trouble with my initial late-childhood piercings, though I was not overly careful...another reason I've always planned on making my kid wait. Now I'm probably only having boys, so I guess any piercing debate once will be muuuuuuch more interesting! (I'm okay with boy pierced ears, but probably not until high school and I strongly prefer the look of both ears pierced for boys as well as girls.)

MonkeyBusiness said...

I like the idea of it being a special event type thing - that is how mine was. I was 13, and it was something that I had to wait until I was a teenager to do. So I felt very grownup. Mine repeatedly got infected and we finally figured out I was allergic to cheap metals, so once we swapped out to sterling silver or gold it was fine.

I worked at an Afterthoughts (kind of like a Claire's) in the mall in high school and I have a couple more piercings done in each ear after that, but never use them anymore. I know the one I had at the top of my left ear closed up completely; I think I could probably use the second set of holes now still but just don't really have a desire to.

Anonymous said...

I would guess I was 9 or 10 when I had mine pierced. I have a 3 year old daughter and I'm not sure what age I think is appropriate yet. I think it will just depend on her - how important it is to her when she does ask to have them pierced and how well I think she will care for them. I hope it is at an older age rather than younger. I really can't stand infant piercings -- not that I think TOO bad of people who do that - I just don't like it. I think little are girls are cute enough naturally and don't need to be dazzled up. I know I'm a little wierd - I also have a think against little girls who wear the BIG HUGE bows with every outfit. Are they not pretty enough without having to adorn them with so many accessories? But that is just me.... (I love a little sweet bow)


heidi davis said...

I got mine done at 8 after asking for a while. I had a second hole in one ear in high school. No memory of when. 16? 17? I do remember my older cousin was insanely jealous because I got mine done first and she had to wait until 13.

I have all boys but I think I would probably do the same as I did with the one who has his ears pierced. He started asking at 3. He is a VERY determined child. I told him we could have it done but it hurt. He told me he would have it done when he was older. Wash, rinse, repeat until at 6 he said he didn't care if it hurt. So, for his 6th birthday - he got both his ears pierced. No infections. He wears earrings for months at a time, doesn't wear them for months and sometimes only wears one. He just turned 14. Now he's begging for gages. Yah, not going to happen on my watch. Told him he has to be 18. Hoping he realizes how ridiculous they are by then. Good lord, I hope they are out of fashion by then.

Gina said...

I was 9, and it was before the guns. They had a tool that was like a pair of tweezers with a needle in one arm and a hole in the other. It HURT, but I was happy. Got another set of holes in Jr high, but let them close up when the giant button earrings came into fashion in the early 80's & I could never wear earrings in the back.

My daughter was 5. she spent a few years saying she wanted them done, but not until she was older. Then suddenly one day, she said, OK, I'm ready and I let her.

H said...

I got my ears pierced the first time at age 16. That was in 1978. It seems like my mom's generation was also moving at that time from clip earrings to pierced ears so it was something moms and daughters were doing together for the first time. In 1981, I pierced them again, just above the first holes, which haven't closed but I never wear earrings in those holes anymore.

My daughter is 21 and still doesn't have hers pierced. I've offered and suggested since she was about 8 or 10, but she isn't interested and I'm not sure why.

H said...

Oh, I wanted to mention I had my first piercing done in the doctor's office and they shot these large godawful looking grey metal "bolts" into my ears! They were SO ugly! I had my second piercing done at the mall.

Ginny said...

I was 9... I remember asking about it at some younger age, and my mom settled on 9 as the age when I'd be allowed to do it. I think that was the age for a couple of my friends too, so possibly she asked around.

For my daughter, I'd like to make it a "when you turn X" thing, but I'm not particular which age... I just think rites of passage are fun. Somewhere between 5 and 9 most likely, the exact age will probably depend how old she is when she asks. If I have a son who wants his ears pierced as a little child... I'll probably allow it, with whatever age restrictions I'd put on a girl. I'd have a conversation with him about how to handle people who say "but only girls get their ears pierced!"

Lora said...

In my very Italian/Irish neighborhood, I'd say that most parents have the babies ears pierced within the first couple days of life. They say it's "so a doctor can do it", but I think it's more just the thing to do.

It's also very customary to gift a girl baby with diamond earrings for her first birthday. Which I think is crazy. I've been to parties where a baby walks away with a dozen pairs of diamond earrings.

Mind you, my neighborhood is very working class.

If I had a girl, which I don't, I wouldn't have it done in the hospital. I'd wait until she was older. I'm not sure what age, but definitely not younger than I was at 8.

My mom picked me up from school one day and said that I "earned" having my ears pierced. I didn't argue, I was really excited for it. Looking back, it came at the same time that my parents split (mom left, we lived with dad) and I'm guessing it was something she did out of spite.
I remember one terrible infection, maybe two.
Then when my mom got custody of us when I was 12, my dad took me out and got my ears double pierced, and my mom was FURIOUS. So, again with the spite.
Those got so infected that they had to come out and I think I got them re-done on my own when I was about 15 or so. By then no one cared. About anything I did.
I had a third hole done when I was 18.

Now I rarely wear anything at all, but usually only in the first hole.

I think my 50 minutes of therapy is up for today. Thank you for your time.

andreaunplugged said...

My first piercing was when i was about 12 maybe. I think I had to be old enough to take care of them myself. I got my second holes piercing when I was 18 or 19. If I had a daughter, I'd probably wait until roughly the same time, or until I felt like she could do the daily maintenance herself.

Anne said...

I got my ears pierced either for my seventh or eighth birthday. I had them done at the salon where my mom worked (she was a hairdresser). I guess for a daughter (or my son if he wants an ear or his ears pierced) I'd wait until they are old enough to take care of them responsibly. For some kids that could be six, for others it might be ten. I'd go off personality of the child.

Anonymous said...

My Mom wanted me to get my ears pierced when I was around 11, but I didn't want to. We had these backwards fights about it. When I was 14 or 15, I changed my mind and got them pierced, and have enjoyed them ever since.

Jen said...

I initially had mine done when I was 5 I think (I had an older sister who was getting hers done). But they were infected a lot and we let them close over. I then got it done again maybe...3rd grade? I think? In high school, I added a second but I let those grow closed and now I just have the one. I am pregnant and suspect I am having a girl and I think I'll go with whatever age she seems like she will be able to take care of them herself but not earlier than 5. No real reason other than I don't want it to be my responsibility.

The Curmudgeon said...

I got mine done at 15, after several years of pleading with my mother; in my neighborhood (Manhattan) it was usual to get them done at 12/13. I got my tragus (the little nub of ear in front of the canal) pierced at 22, but it didn't heal in six months and I let it close up.

In New York it's very racially divided; it's common for Latina and Southeast Asian infants to have their ears pierced, and sometimes African-American infants as well, but I have almost never seen a white girl younger than 10/11 with pierced ears.

lucidkim said...

I was 18 - my dad forbid it as unChristian to add holes to my body that God didn't put there. Seriously.

I had a lot of problems with infections if I didn't wear gold earrings - but I wore earrings daily until I was about 30. Then it was sporadic - and now the holes are nearly closed up and I don't bother.

My youngest got hers pierced on her 10th birthday - at Claire's. The gun got stuck (earring was in ear but stuck in gun) and it was a bit traumatic. She was pleased with them for about a month - but they never would heal and they hurt all the time. After a couple of more months of trying we took the earrings out and the holes closed up quickly. She no longer has any desire to have pierced ears.

My 13 year old wants hers pierced but always says "later" "another time" when I ask her about it. I'm not pushing it.


Beylit said...

I was 10 when I had my ears pierced the first time, and I couldn't have cared less. My mom was way more excited about it than I was. She made a huge deal out of it and said it was a surprise, and I was really disappointed when we got to the piercing place.
They kept getting infected and irritated and I hated having to remember to put earrings in and so I let them close up a few years later.
I had them re-pierced when I was 16 because I wanted to, and we went with titanium studs due to allergy concerns. As long as I left the titanium studs in I was golden. Anything else and I had really nasty reactions.
I mostly got tired of my limited choice, or the pain of wearing something I loved for only an hour or two. Also my curly hair made wearing anything but studs an impossibility. I would push earrings through about once a month so they wouldn't close completely until I was 26 and then said screw it and let them close for good.

If I have daughters I will probably wait until they are about 10 or so. There is a whole responsibility and maturity thing that my mom preached about that I tend to agree with. Then I will only do it if she shows an interest in such things. Otherwise what is the point?

Deanna said...

Here in the South (I speak of Alabama, specifically), it's very common to have a girl's ears pierced as an infant. I don't know why... it just seems to be the thing to do for a lot of people. Not me; I don't particularly care for the "dazzling up" of a baby, as someone else put it.

I was in third grade, eight years old, when I was allowed to get my ears pierced. My mom's rule was that I had to be old enough to take care of the piercing myself. For the most part, I think I did take responsibility for cleaning/turning them. (Little gold posts were the standard first option around here, by the way.)

I think I will probably go with the same age range for my girls--old enough to make it a special thing.

Tracy said...

I think I had my own ears pierced at around age 8-9 without problems, then a 2nd piercing in each ear maybe around age 12-13? Not exactly sure.

For my own daughters, my rule for having their ears pierced was, "When you're responsible enough to care for the daily cleaning." My oldest daughter is hyper-responsible about such things, so she got hers done for her 5th Bday. She always took care of everything, and other than a couple "I lost the back of the earring - ack!" situations, she was fine. And still is - she's 9.5 yrs old. My other daughter wanted hers done when she saw her sister's pierced ears, but I told her she had to wait til age 5. She's not nearly as self-sufficient with such things! At age 5, she chickened-out (not at the piercing place; we never made it there!) But the offer was on the table for her. She waited until past her 6th Bday. She's had more issues - not sure if it's related to sensitive ears, or her being less into the care required. I definitely let her wear "danglies" sooner than her sister, so it could be related to that. She has not had infections, but we've had several times where I've told her to give her ears a rest. The piercing was 10 months ago, so there's not much fear of the holes closing up.

I understand people consenting their infant daughters to ear piercing, since it's supposedly less painful. But I'm not on board with making physical-change decisions for such young kids. Also, I would not want to deal with the possible damage related an earring getting pulled out due to snagging, etc. I much preferred it being something they'd remember!

Shelly said...

Ooh, I love ear piercing stories! I had mine done around 7 or 8 years old. I don't really remember. I remember that it hurt a lot and that they got infected once. Other than that, they have never been any trouble. In my first year of college, I got both ears pierced a second time as a declaration of indepence, and then in my last year of college, I got my right ear pierced a third time. I currently wear earrings in my first holes and one in my third hole in my right ear. As to my daughter, she is now 10 and has expressed zero interest in getting her ears pierced. She's pretty timid about pain, and isn't the greatest about keeping things clean, so I think I'll wait until she's a little older (13-14-ish?) and then make it like a rite of passage. I do want her to get her ears pierced, but I don't really care when she has it done.

missris said...

I remember wanting to get my ears pierced for a LONG time before I actually did, at the ripe old age of 5. I grew up in an area where there was a large Hispanic population, and getting ears pierced as babies was very popular. I was green with envy. I remember my mom took me on my 5th birthday, and I picked little silver balls. We dutifully turned them and cleaned my ears with the solution they give you every night and they never got infected. I've had my ears pierced continuously for 23 years now.

missris said...

OH and I got my belly button pierced when I was 16. I wore my parents down on that one for MONTHS, and had to do a lot to convince my mom it wasn't something that only "fast" girls (as she put it) did. It was 1999, and verrrry popular. We got it done at a tattoo parlor, and it hurt so bad I nearly threw up. I kept it through high school and college and finally took it out when I started working full time and realized that no one was going to see my belly button anymore. There's still a hole there though, which I find kind of annoying.

Alice said...

i got mine pierced at about 12 or 13, which was WAY WAY WAY LATER than everyone else in my class who had theirs done either quite young (before i met them at school) or around 9ish. i remember being SO MAD that i was the ONLY ONE whose mom wouldn't let her have pierced ears, OH MY GOD MOM YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE.

thellfamily said...

I had my ears pierced at 13, right before my bat mitzvah. It was a big deal because neither my mother nor my younger sister had pierced ears. There were few complications except that once when putting springy earrings in my hole my mother missed, so one hole has always been bigger than the other. After I had mine done and survived, my mother and sister had theirs done.

My daughter is 6 and doesn't have them, and has never asked. Up until now in daycare I can't think of any classmates who ever had them. I haven't noticed them on any classmates in her new public school (same community), but it's possible I haven't noticed. She has never asked, and I don't know what I'd say if she did. She likes picking out earrings to match my clothes in the morning, but has never expressed interest in having her own, and isn't very into jewelry, anyway. I doubt I'd bring it up before she asked.

Angela said...

I got mine pierced when I was 10, which was the earliest my mom would allow it. 10 was an exciting year, as I also got a 10 speed bike for my birthday. I don't remember having problems taking care of them at that age. Sometime in junior high or high school I had my ears double pierced, but I don't wear earrings in those holes at all anymore.

I don't have a daughter, but I think I would still stick with age 10. I don't know what I would say to my son if he requested a piercing of some kind, but he is only 6, so I think I have some time to think about it.

Melissa R. said...

Being of Latina descent, my mom had mine done in utero--ok, I kid--but I was a tiny baby and she had the doctor do it. It was just what was done with baby girls. However, a line was drawn at one hole in each year. I had to wait until I was 18 to have the 2nd hold put in. I think it was more an act of defiance. It was the 80s.

I had 3 girls and had all their ears' pierced when they were infants just because, well, it's what we do. Had I not, my mom would have done it (not personally)

However, none of my daughters (ages 15, 19, 22) wear earrings. Every year or so they'll push an earring through it make sure it stays open but none of them are interested. Must be all the mixed in white bread blood. KIDDING. KINDA.

AnnetteK said...

I was ten when I had it done. I think my mother offered it as a birthday thing. My 2 older sisters came along so we could go out for a b-day lunch after. It hurt so much! AND this is when we discovered I have a vaso-vagel syncope response to pain. As in - I passed out. In the middle of the restaurant.

I hated those piercing and when they got infected a few months later I let them close up. I've never had a piercing since!

Sunk Costs said...

my sister and i had just turned 8 (in 1994). i don't know that we were desperate to have it done, but it was a special birthday thing. i know our mom wanted us to be able to care for our ears and earrings ourselves. then i had 2nd holes done at 12 (my sister had to have her original ones redone). i feel sure i won't do my girls' ears BEFORE age 8, but beyond that i'll just see how eager they are and maybe schedule it for birthdays or the holidays or in exchange for something unpleasant/difficult.

ashleyb1182 said...

I was 11 or 12. My parents thought we (my sisters and I) should be old enough to be able to take care of the new piercings on our own before we were allowed to have them. This must have been a pretty good strategy, because I've never had them get infected. I thought I would have the same rule with my daughter, but she's five now and I have told her that whenever she's ready, we'll get them done. I first asked her about it several months ago and when she asked if it hurt, I answered honestly that, yes, it was going to hurt a little. She said NO THANK YOU and now says she will get her ears pierced "maybe when I'm seven."

Saly said...

I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was 5, and like you, they were repeatedly infected (due to a now known nickel allergy...) and we let them close up. I got them re-pierced when I was in 7th grade and got second holes when I was in 9th.

My second holes have been long closed, and my regular holes only see earrings 3 or 4 times a year. I'm really not a jewelry person at all.

I'm of the mindset that a girl should get her ears pierced when she wants them--meaning that I did not have them done when my girls were infants. Caitlyn's were a 5th birthday present, done a few days before she turned 5. And since Hannah remembered (HOW!!) that Cait was 4 when she had hers done, Hannah had her ears pierced right after she turned 4.

Cait has had a few infections over the last 2 years but i mostly attribute it to the cheap wal mart earrings she likes to buy. Hannie has had no issues.

marilyn c. cole said...

My dad is EXTREMELY anti-piercing -- "You want a HOLE in your HEAD?" -- but my mom has pierced ears, so I definitely wanted them too, from a young age. My grandmother (mom's mom) never pierced hers, so I did have a nice stockpile of clip-on earrings I could borrow sometimes for dress up. I guess I started buying my own clip-ons in 4th or 5th grade. I think at 15, I was at the mall with a friend and her mom and we decided I should get my ears pierced. Friend's mom called my mom, and I suspect she reluctantly agreed? And came out to the mall? Sounds like such a fishy situation, thinking back on it! Way to pressure my mom into it! But I think she had already agreed it was fine by that point, just didn't like the con job.

For my 21st birthday in college I decided to get second holes, kind of on a whim, also went to a Claire's-esque place, and my mom did not approve. She's also an artist, and I had already noticed that they weren't perfectly aligned (one closer to the first hole than the other a bit), and she was like, "Yup, they're not."

My dad was just silently horrified.

I also had my belly button pierced from about 24 to 27, but luckily didn't have to reveal that to them. Went to a real piercing place for the first time for that one and TOTALLY agree with Sarah that they are leaps and bounds more trained, sterile, experienced than any mall's piercing pagoda. Will definitely want to take any future piercers to a place like that.

MelissaInk said...

I was 6 months old when I got my ears pierced. At the time, my parents were living in a very Mexican-populated part of Texas. I also had very little hair, so they wanted people to k ow I was a girl. They were also very young. I think all those things were contributing factors.

I have no desire to get my daughter's ears pierced till she wants them. That might be 4 or 5 or much older. No idea, but I don't have an age in mind.

Amongst little girls I know (this is Louisiana), I don't notice many ear piercings (7 and younger crowd). People are kind of ridiculously religious here, so that might have something to do with it.

Nicole said...

I was nine. My aunt took me to get it done and I had little double-heart studs. They got repeatedly infected. Eventually the infections cleared up. When I was 13 I got my right ear double-pierced, and then the next year I got that ear triple-pierced. I don't often wear my bottom earrings (only occasionally, when I remember) but I always have silver studs in the top two piercings of my right ear. Because I'm all punk rock like that.

marilyn c. cole said...

So -- I went on and on, but didn't answer two things: I never had any ear infections, but I did get the belly button infected a bit when I tried to put in some junky jewelry I bought in Spain.

For kids, I think I'd probably want them to wait til the 13-or-so group to be sure they really want them? Though I haven't really thought about it... Y'all are making me think sooner might be okay.

heather said...

I had to wait until I was 12, even though I wanted to so bad... my mom had horrible experiences with hers (done by a doctor no less!) and I think she was trying to put it off as long as possible. Definitely a "rite of passage" thing in our house. However, much to my resentment, in a family with four girls -me being the oldest- of course that age got lowered and lowered as the years went on. My youngest sister was 8 I believe, and I remember being livid that she got to do it when she wanted to and not have to wait until at least 10. We all still bicker about that to this day.

I got a second hole in each ear in high school, as well as a third hole in one of them. And then the top of one ear when I was 20 or so?
Never had any problems with infections and whatnot except for that last, top cartilage one. That one was always sore and infected (and done at a real piercing place along with my belly button) so I let it close after a couple of years.

My daughter had her ears pierced for her 7th birthday; fun, special occasion, big girl thing to do together. And old enough to take responsibility with it. We've had absolutely no problem with hers either.

Melissa said...

Oh fun! Well, I was the VERY LAST GIRL MOTHER to get it done when I was in fifth grade. (I think I just finally wore her down.) No problems with infections but mine would actually close up overnight if I didn't wear earrings (studs) constantly, for several years afterwards! I never had anything else pierced but still wear earrings daily.
My daughters are 5 and have asked if it hurts; they have never actually asked when they can have it done. I'd prefer to wait til they are at least 8-ish (and my husband will say, 18) but I'm kind of waiting for them to bring it up again. I have one girl who would be completely responsible and take care of them meticulously, the other not so much.

Alicia said...

I was SIXTEEN before I pierced my ears, because I was afraid it would hurt. My mother never wore earrings and my namesake Grandmother had never had her ear pierced and so happily supplied me with clip-on earrings since I didn't want to pierce my ears. But then I found the perfect matching earrings for my Military Ball gown, so I did it.

My own daughter doesn't want her ears pierced, but sometimes wistfully longs for pretty earrings. I will take her whenever she decides she's ready to do the daily care, and WANTS to. (She is 8.)

Same rules apply to my BF's two daughters, who are 10 and 7; neither have their ears pierced because their Mother wantedthem to be old enough to decide on their own when they wanted to, so both are now reluctant.

Alicia said...

OH, I didn't even think to mention it because it's a DUH for me (I have had multiple non-ear piercings and have 11 tattoos), but we will NOT be getting ears pierced at the MALL. Yuck. Professional piercing shop only.

shin ae said...

I was 3 or so and we got it done at the mall. I remember I was DEVASTATED about the stupid boring studs I had to wear until they healed. After that, though, my mom always bought me lots of fun earrings to wear, and I loved it. There were never any problems with the holes unless I fiddled with them with my (probably filthy) fingers, and even then the infections were so minor my mom didn't even notice them. I did.

I got one of those really high holes when I was 17. It took forever to heal and was infected all the time because I played sports and always had to take it out for games.

Type (little) a aka Michele said...

My experience was similar to yours, has them pierced at 7, let them close, repierced and re closed at 8, and finally again at 9. Those took! All 3 times at the mall, one ear at a time, and I threatened to live life with only one ear pierced each time. I got my birth stone (peridot), hearts, and I think a "pearl" We lived in Kansas at the time and the distribution of age at first piercing was similar to what you describe above, ditto for upstate ny where I moved at age 9

My daughter is 8 and we're considering it. When the topic came up when she was a newborn, my husband and I figured we'd wait until she's 12 or 14. We've softened a bit, now that we know we can request 2 piercing guns. There are a great number of girls in her grade (3rd) who are pierced here, I'd say 70%. Infant piercings are popular here in NJ for some reason

Nimble said...

I have two daughters. The oldest (now 11) bugged me about getting her ears pierced and I agreed that would be her 10th bday present. I initially suggested 12, I wanted her to be able to take care of them herself. It worked great except that after the six weeks we couldn't take out her first studs. She tugged and I tugged and it hurt and she got more and more skittish. If you ever have the same trouble -- use two pairs of needle nosed pliers and 'uncurl' the backs. That was what worked. No problems since then. My younger kid is 8 and not a fan of pain, don't know if/when she'll want earrings.

I got my ears pierced at 11. My mother said we wouldn't tell my paternal grandma who thought it was too soon!

jmv said...

My mom pierced my ears at 6 mo b/c she was tired of getting asked my gender. She said she would have used hair bows but I was still bald. It was easy to care for because there was no hair caught in the posts. Aunt got me a second hole at age 10. My dad was furious. It was a BIG deal. I got a belly button piercing at 18. Dad was furious again and told me he hoped it got infected. It dId. Got bored with all but one pair of holes. Sometimes think about getting a second hole again to wear more jewery since I generally prefer dainty earrings.

Shannon said...

In my family growing up we had to wait til we were 10 years old. I was never sure of the reason but that was always the age. Or my dad offered to do it with a hammer and nail in his workshop. With my own daughter I decided not to make a hard cutoff. But she also didn't want it done when she was little (little to me, means 5 or younger). I first asked her if it's something she might be interested in when she was maybe 6 or 7 but at that time when she realized what was involved she was absolutely NOT interested. But she has always been the type of person who says no when it's someone else's idea but as soon as her own idea it's the best idea ever. So soon after she turned 8 she suddenly came home from school and decided she wanted it done and how soon can we get this over with? I knew she was committed and I knew she was old enough to take care of the cleaning and daily maintenance herself which was important to me. So we got it done and it's been smooth sailing ever since. And I felt good that I hadn't had to set "a rule' over the issue because it just seems like something so NOT worth getting all up in arms about!

Sarah said...

I first had my ears pierced around 11 years old. My mom had repeatedly told me to wait until I was 13, but I finally convinced my grandmother to take me. I'm sure my mom nearly killed her over that! But I had a similar problem that they were always infected or bothering me so I eventually stopped wearing earrings altogether.

Then, in college I had them re-pierced and have never had any problems since.

I have a 10 month old girl and I'm not really sure when I'll let her get her ears pierced. Maybe when she shows some interest, but I don't have a specific age in mind. I hated how my mom had picked such an arbitrary age out for me.

Caroline said...

I remember pushing to have my ears pierced when I was 6/7, 9/10 and again 11/12. I'm probably an outlier because my parents were very strict and I was told I would have to wait until 16, then at 16 I was told 18. By 18 I was one of only a few girls who didn't have ear piercings, and that became my signature. In my town I would say 11/12 was the point where most girls had their ears pierced the first time.

Now at 27 I'm re-thinking the whole thing, but I'm not a fan of my local tattoo/piercing place (not a good reputation for cleanliness), but I'm reluctant to go to Claire's and don't have a doctor. I'll probably put it off for another 2 years!

Amy said...

I was so looking forward to getting my ears pierced. My parents said I had to wait till I was 11. On a random day at the mall, my dad told me I could get my ears pierced that day. I freaked and said "Im only 10. I have to be 11!" I was so worried about my mom being mad but my dad calmed me down and reassured me that they had agreed (crazy of me to question one parent!). My sister held my hand. I was so excited. No infections here.

I think I made my stepdaughter wait until 9-10. Hers tot infected so we had to do it twice.

Farrell said...

Fun topic!
I got my ears pierced finally at age 9 and had to BEG my mom to let me do it. I think her hesitation was mainly because SHE doesn't have her ears pierced so didn't know how to care for them.
Embarrassingly enough, I will admit that in exchange for allowing me to get my ears pierced, I had to give up my blanket, which I still carried with me wherever I went (at age 9!!).
As soon as I turned 18 in March, I got a third whole in my left ear and hid it from my mother who didn't discover it until June at my graduation party. LOL
My daughter is 8 (today!) and does not have her ears pierced and does not want her ears pierced because she is afraid it will hurt. But if she changes her mind, I will likely let her do it.

Holly said...

My grandmother had her ears pierced by an African American maid of her neighbor's, and the woman put two pieces of broom straw through the holes (yep, taken right off the dirty broom) to keep them open. When her father saw, he ripped them right out and told her something very un-PC about pierced ears. She never got them pierced again.

I had mine done at 12. My Indian sari wearing pediatrician did it. I didn't want them any sooner actually! I was afraid of the pain. And then about 2 weeks after, I wanted a second hole like nobody's business. But, my parents were forever against that. Thought it was hootchy or something. So, when I was 19ish I realized I could do it myself (even though I still asked my parents and they still cringed. Oh I'm a rebel.) That time I went to Afterthoughts in the mall after my mom checked with her nursing friends about cleanliness. Heh.

My younger sister had them done at 5. I remember her chomping at the bit from about age 2 (my mom doesn't have pierced ears, and I didn't either yet). And so our mom threw out "when you're 5" figuring she'd forget, and NOPE. Her 5th birthday rolled around and it was all she could talk about. She also had it done at our pediatrician.

My daughter is 2.5 and has been fascinated with my earrings, and will ask where her's are. I always say she doesn't have any. About half her daycare class girls have their ears pierced. The other day she said "I'll get some earrings when I'm 5." Whoa. Don't know where that came from, but sounds okay to me!

Annika said...

I was 10 and had them pierced with a gun. One was off-center and I redid it at 16-ish, when I also got second holes. (And third and fourth in one ear, but those have closed up. Also my nose, which has closed up.)

Grace is nearly 3 and has not expressed any interest, possibly because I never wear earrings. I'd be okay with her getting hers done at any age in theory, but I'd prefer that she wait until she's a bit older so we can have them done with a needle, as the infection risk is much lower.

Charleen said...

I got mine in late grade school (8-10ish, don't remember exactly). When I turned 18, I got a second hole in each ear. I probably could have gotten them earlier if I'd wanted, but it was only something I'd been thinking about for a year or so, and at that point it seemed silly not to just wait until I didn't have to worry about parental consent.

For any future daughters, I think I would like her to wait until middle school, but I don't think it's something I'd put up a huge fuss about if she wanted them earlier, as long as I felt she was responsible enough to take care of them.

For future sons . . . well, call it a double standard, but I'd want him to be older. Not "wait till you're 18" necessarily, but at least high school. I think it's just because it's not as common for boys as it is for girls, and so I'd want to make sure he was a little more mature, and not having to live with a decision he made as a kid. But, again, it would probably depend more on the kid and the situation.

(And I'm probably a little more sensitive to the long-term effects simply because my holes have never closed up, even though I've gone years without wearing earrings before, especially in those second holes. I'm not exactly upset about it, but it did surprise me. So, even though you could take the earring out at any time, that hole is, quite possibly, forever.)

Jessica said...

I had mine pierced in second grade, I think. So 8-ish? I do remember there was a set age, because my parents had three daughters and wanted to be consistent (I'm the oldest). The younger two also got theirs pierced at the earliest opportunity, so I think we were all 8. We all only have one set of holes (never asked for more) and I think my youngest sister let hers grow over in high school.

Anonymous said...

Halyn here.

I got mine pierced when I was 11. I had skipped a grade and was feeling awkward and unhappy around the older girls, so my mother agreed to set aside her previous "not-til-you're-thirteen" stance. They were cylindrical gold studs, and the tops were blue enamel. I loved them.

At 16, my 14-year-old sister and I went with parental permission to get second holes punched, just above the first holes. (Mom had really lightened up by then, though not so much as to allow upper ear piercings. The second holes are still on the lobe.)When we got to the piercing shop, we discovered we didn't have enough money to buy two pairs of piercing studs. The kind girl at the store agreed to let us buy one pair of studs, and give us each one hole. So she and I both have one hole on one side, and two on the other. I don't think Sis has gotten more, and I haven't either. I always wear a stud in the upper hole. I have a (fake) diamond stud, a largish and a small "pearl" stud, a pink sapphire-like stud and a couple of enamel flower shaped studs. I wear whichever one seems to coordinate with the earrings I'm wearing in the lower holes.

My daughter's ears were pierced without my permission by her father when she was five. As I had predicted would happen when I said "no" to the piercing, she didn't care for them and they got infected, she didn't like sleeping in them and kept taking them out, and finally I made her let them close. She's twelve now, and I've told her she can re-pierce them if she wants, but so far she hasn't shown and interest. Her older brother, who is now seventeen, pierced both of his at 13, with permission. He used to wear a couple of silver hoops, and I thought he looked pretty awesome. He hasn't been wearing them much lately, as he joined the National Guard and went to Basic this summer, and got out of the habit, since they weren't allowed.
I frequently have the urge to punch more holes in my ears, but I really like the asymmetrical piercing, so I think I would always keep one ear with more piercings than the other.

Wow, who knew I had so much to say on this topic! Sorry for the book in your comments...

liz said...

This is so fun to read the comments!

I had mine pierced when I was 10 or 11. It was a BIG DEAL and I felt so grown up showing them off to my family. I still remember the day!

My 2-year old daughter watches me put earrings in and makes comments, and asks where her daddy's earrings are. I think I will wait to get her ears pierced when she is older, perhaps around 1st Communion time, 2nd-3rd grade?

My co-worker just took her daughter to Claire's, and it was $50!!! $50!!

LoriD said...

I was 11 - I begged my dad when we were out at the mall together and surprised my mom. LOL -she was surprised and not entirely happy!

My oldest daughter had hers done on her 9th birthday - she wanted it done and was old enough to take care of them herself. My younger daughter will be eligible on her 9th birthday, if that's what she wants.

Rebecca said...

I didn't get mine pierced until I was 21. My parents told me I could get them pierced when I was about 12, but once I reached 12 I didn't care any more.

My daughter (who is 5) is much more "girly" than I was, so I bet that she will want her ears pierced sooner rather than later. I'll allow it when she can take care of them all by herself. I'm guessing that will be sometime between 9 and 13.

Becky said...

I got my ears pierced at 6. They got infected and I ended up needing to go to the doctor to get my earrings removed.

I think I got them repierced when I was in 5th grade.

I haven't thought about this at all for my own daughter. I'll see if she's interested.

Erica said...

I was in 4th grade, so 9 or 10. I had to beg for a while. It was very exciting. I added a couple more around 17. I don't know about my daughters, at the rate we're going I'm not sure Anna will even want pierced ears.

Anna said...

My mother told me for years I had to wait until I was 14 to have my ears pierced, but then when I was 12 she suddenly started saying 13 instead so as soon as I turned 13 I got them done. I wore dangly earrings a lot as a teenager but usually leave the same pair of studs in all the time now. I have two daughters, aged 2 and 4 at the moment, no idea when I'll let them get their ears pierced. When they ask we can discuss it but it's never come up.

SallyG said...

I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was about 9-10 and then had a second set of piercings when I was about 18. I let these close but later wanted to be able to wear the diamond studs my husband bought me for our anniversary all the time AND another set to go with whatever I was wearing. So I had my second piercing re-done at the same time my 4 year old got hers pierced.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I had mine pierced when I was about eight, I think. We lived in England then and my mom made me do them when we came back to the US on a visit. (She didn't make me get my ears pierced, she made me wait to get them pierced here, though I don't know why. Maybe it wasn't as commonly done there?)

My thought for letting my Elizabeth get hers done is when she is old enough to bother me about it for like a whole year first. (Probably around eight or so, when I got mine done. I was more mature than she's turning out to be though, so we will see.)

Linda said...

I wanted to get my ears pierced forever, but it was forbidden until 18 in my house. I went to college at 17 and pierced them almost immediately because I figured I wouldn't see my parents until Thanksgiving and that was around my 18th birthday anyway. To this day my children are SHOCKED that I broke the law by lying about my age to the employees at Claire's. I started with two holes in the left and one in the right and added one hole to each at some point. I always wear little hoops or studs in the 2nd/3rd holes and mainly just change the first hole daily.

I'm not big on random age declarations. My kids ask me when they'll get to wear makeup, for example, and I say probably around 12, but who knows? So saying "NO PIERCINGS UNTIL YOU ARE X" is not my style. One of my twins wanted to get hers pierced when she was 7, so we went to the mall and had it done. It was a fun mother-daughter-sister bonding time. You should have seen their huge eyes when they started looking around Claire's! They wanted one of everything, I think. (Sigh.) Her twin sister decided to come back to get hers done when there were two employees there and they could pierce both ears at the same time. My then 4yo decided that she was too young to get hers pierced, but after her big sisters' ears healed and they could wear all the pretty earrings, she changed her mind. She was just under 5.

We've had a couple times that a kid - in fear of losing an earring back - has pushed the back too far into her ear and caused a sore. I put wire earrings in when that happens. Other than that, we've had no infections. It's fun to have everyone's ears pierced and trade earrings back and forth. I borrowed their sparkly pumpkins for Halloween, for example, and sometimes I share my inexpensive earrings with them.

Kara said...

I waited until the girls asked to have their ears pierced. As a result, my oldest at 9 has never had hers done. The middle child is almost 8, and got hers at age 5, and the youngest was 3 when she got hers done.

I got my first set at age 7, doubled at 10, trippled and a cartilage for "graduation" from 6th grade. I have a total of 7 piercings in my left ear, and 3 in my right (my nose is done too). I've never had any problems with piercing studs, but I am allergic to gold.

My kids have never had a problem with infections with silver studs either. However, my middle child got her ears doubled pierced when she was 6 and insisted on gold earrings. Sure enough, they got infected. I had to use wire snips to cut off the top of the earring so I could get them out of her ears. One was OK to put a silver stud through, the other was so infected that we just let it heal closed. So my middle kid has 3 earrings.

Michelle Hosick said...

I got my ears pierced at age eight with birthstone studs (November ICK). We were on vacation and my sister (16 months younger) and female cousins (ranging from 18 months younger to six years younger)all got their ears pierced as well.
For my own daughter, age 7, I have told her that whenever she wants to get them done, she can get them done. Her father is pushing her to do it, and I wish he'd back off, but it is what it is. She is, I think, afraid of the pain.

Natalie said...

I got my ears pierced twice, but only have one hole in each ear. Mine also closed up and I had to have them redone. My guess is that I was around 7 and 9 and I REALLY wanted to have it done. I had to work up the courage for the second time around, I remember that clearly.

I did not want to have my daughter's ears done as an infant, but when she asks (as long as it's not before age 5) I will take her to get them done. She may not want them done that early though, since I don't wear jewelry that often. I doubt she will feel strongly about it until she's a little older and her friends have their ears pierced. I could be wrong, but that's my guess. When she wants it, I'll let her do it.

Mrs. Irritation said...

I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 10-ish. I was not the most responsible kid and my mom wouldn't let me get them pierced until I could manage not to lose every single earring. I've had no problems with my piercings ever.

My girl got her ears pierced when she was 5 1/2, about 6 months ago. It was her choice and she's glad she did it but the pain Freaked her out. Had I let her, she would have had one pierced and not done the other, it was that traumatic. Now that it's been a few months, she is happy she has them pierced but would not do it again any time soon. We don't change earrings often, just leave the same ones in and she's good with that.

Hope said...

I was 4 when I got mine pierced, then I think 13 when I got a second hole in each ear.

I had no idea how I would handle it until I actually had a daughter. My sister-in-law got my niece's ears pierced when she was 3 months old, and I considered doing that too, but when it came down to it I couldn't stand the thought of permenantly "marring" my daughter's perfect body, and then another sister-in-law recently got another niece's ears pierced for her 4th birthday and still had a hard time with the permanence of it. So, my plan is 4 or 5. Like you, I want it to be an anticipated experience for her, but I reserve the right to still be sad about it.

PinkieBling said...

I was two when I got my first holes pierced. I went on to get second and third holes in high school and just after graduation, I think. I pierced my navel at 18 and got my tattoo at 23.

I might pierce a hypothetical daughter's ears during infancy, or I might wait a bit. We'll have to see.

jen(melty) said...

I honestly can't remember. But I think my younger sister was even younger when she had hers done. I don't remember if I asked or not. They are in all of my school pictures so I must have been 4-5 ish. I had round studs that I wore forever, I still have them. When I was in middle school I got 2nd holes (it was the 80s..) and then not long after that i let the 2nd holes close up.. and I haven't worn earrings in so long that my original holes are probably closed up. I honestly havent' tried to put an earring in in 20+ years. As for my daughter, honestly I'm surprised she hasn't asked. (She's 8) All of her friends have them. I would probably say yes to her and then curse it because I know she wouldn't take care of them herself. But letting the holes close up didn't really scar me in any way. I still have a little dimple on each earlobe but I don't mind. I have been thinking about getting a cartilage piercing in my old age! You should ask the consensus on 40 year olds with odd piercings :)

Anonymous said...

I got mine done at ten, when my mother left my conservative, evangelical father and wanted to irritate him, I suppose. She had all our long hair cut off, and all the girls got their ears pierced, all in one afternoon. (Can you tell I have mixed feelings about it? Couldn't she just have had a big prairie-muffin-apron burning in the yard?)

Anonymous said...

I was in second grade, so seven or eight. I was TERRIFIED of shots/needles, and had to have a fingerstick hemoglobin every year at the doctor, which was always an ordeal. My mom spent an entire year bribing me, after a particularly disastrous finger poke, telling me that if I was good about it, I could get my ears pierced.

I have two girls, and my main concern is that they be old enough to tolerate routine care- my almost-four year old absolutely would NOT, though she has started asking. I am sure my husband doesn't want them to be pierced til 12 or so but he is going to lose that fight (he, um, just doesn't know it yet...)

One more random bit- in lots of young girls, what is incorrectly identified as chronic infection is actually nickel allergy. It's a common allergy, and very commonly seen in little girls because they love cheap earrings that are full of nickel. To this day I cannot wear earrings with a single molecule of nickel or my earlobes blow up like watermelons. You can get around it by buying expensive earrings OR painting the cheaper ones with clear nail polish (that doesn't always work in super sensitive kiddos, but it usually does the trick.)

ericadouglas said...

I was ten, it was the very end of 4th grade, and my neighbor who was the same age as me really wanted me to get mine pierced. I think it was more her thing than mine.

For my daughter, who's now 17 months, I would like to wait til she's double-digits in age, but mostly I will wait until she asks. If she's 8 and is interested, I'll consider it. If she doesn't care til she's 13, that's fine too.

A friend of mine pierces her daughters' ears when they're babies. Her youngest is the same age as mine and she keeps offering to take my baby to get pierced. NO, THANK YOU. I cannot imagine purposefully poking holes in my toddler!

I tried to get a second piercing when I was in college and it never really worked. Infection after infection. Now I just have the one original set but I haven't worn earrings since before I was pregnant, so who knows if I even could anymore.

Clarabella said...

Ha! I went Christmas shopping when I was 6 with my Dad. They had a piercing kiosk in the mall; I said I wanted them. He said okay. I screamed with the first one and almost didn't get the second. But I did, and my father almost didn't live when we got home. I think my mom would have had me wait until I was 25.
I think if I ever have a daughter, I'll feel like you about it. It should be special but not necessarily too young. Although, I have to confess, I think that babies with earrings are ADORABLE.

Heather said...

I had mine done just before I turned 11. My mum agreed I could do it at 9 but I had excema on the backs of my lobes and had to wait almost two years before the doctor gave the all clear. It was a torturous wait for a 9 year old. I got a second hole as a friendship thing with my best friend at 17, we paid for one set and got one each. The second hole is closed but I dont recall if it was intentional or not, my holes close up if I leave earrings out more than three days!!!

My niece is 14 (and lives with me). She got hers done at 9 and I recently let her get a second set because she got an amazing letter of achievement home from school. I dont think I'll let her get another set for a while, she needs to be older to understand the possible judgements of having a heap of earrings (she wants them all the way up her ears).

Jill said...

I was 2. My dad told my mom no, and then she was at the mall with my dad's sister and took me anyway. Apparently I had forgotten all about it by the time we got home and she told me to show daddy. I also forgot until now, but I had them double pierced when I was maybe 8? And probably let them grow back in sometime in high school. I remember those getting infected and always starting to close so finally I just let them.
My mom and her sisters bought some self-piercing thing back in the late 60s. Once a year my grandparents would go on vacation for a week and every time they would come home another daughter would have pierced her own ears while they were gone. I think she said she had to turn it every day or so and it eventually made a hole all the way through the ear?

Leslie said...

I was seven when I got mine done. I had to ask for them quite a few times before my mom took my request seriously. Then she surprised me on my birthday by taking me to get it done. It was special.

I got my second holes when I was around 12.

I got a third set when I was 16, without permission. I'd gone to the mall with a friend and had it done. My mom wasn't pleased, but she wasn't nearly as upset as my volleyball coach. We weren't allowed to wear jewelry on the court, so he took them right out when he spotted them before our game that night, which didn't feel so good. After the game, I couldn't get them back in.

I have three girls and none of them have their ears pierced, yet. If they want it, we'll do it. Julia is 8 and she has mentioned it, but is afraid of how much it'll hurt. I'm not sure she's really ready to take care of them, yet, anyway.

G said...

I got mine pierced in 6th grade--I was 12.

I think I'd been begging for a while and my father had been resisting, because I remember being ecstatic because I got an index card from him for my 12th birthday that said, "Permission to participate in the barbaric practice of having holes put in your ears." (Knowing my dad, they may have agreed that I could do it at 12 and he may have been deliberately pretending to be opposed, just so he could give me such a card.)

For my daughter, the agreement has been that it'll be my call (as is the when-does-she-start-wearing-makeup question) and that I'll make that decision when she asks about it. She's 10 and it hasn't come up yet.

Erin said...

I had mine done when I was maybe 7, and like you they kept getting infected so we had to let them close up and try again. I was probably 9 then.

I got second holes last summer, at age 29.

I plan to do Lorelai's (and any future daughters') when she's old enough to ask for it. I mean, I do know adult women who never WANTED their ears pierced, so I don't want to do them in infancy and have her decide she doesn't like them later.

Portia said...

My mother doesn't have pierced ears, and she was determined that I wouldn't either. She said they would "go out of style" and I would regret having done it (the fact that my entire generation would presumably also regret it would not sway her). It was not a "wait til you're 18" situation; it was a "never, ever do this" situation. (It had not occurred to me, as a child, that there would be some point where I wouldn't have to get her permission.) I didn't know a single other girl without pierced ears (except my sister!)

HOWEVER, when I was 15, a friend of my mom's gave me a set of pierced earrings for my birthday. My mom said, "oh, how nice, but she doesn't have pierced ears so can you return them?" Instead, her friend and I argued with my mom until she agreed that I could get my ears pierced, but she refused to take me to get it done. Her friend, who had six boys and no daughters, jumped at the chance for a girl's day out and took me to the mall for shopping and ear piercing.

Oddly, as soon as my mom saw me with earrings she thought they were adorable, and has loved giving me earrings as gifts for the last 12 years. And I haven't noticed pierced ears going out of style!

Susan C. said...

I had my ears pierced when I was 12 or 13 at my mother's strip mall beauty salon. I was plagued with infections and problems for years but stubbornly wore cheap 80s style earrings throughout junior high and high school. I stopped wearing earrings for years and years until just last year when I tried again, and again find I can only wear them for a few weeks before they get infected/sore.

I envy people who can wear earrings without issue!

If I had a daughter (which I don't) I suspect I'd wait until she was at least 12 or 13 until she could take care of them on her own. Not that that helped me. Blergh.

Anonymous said...

My mother had mine pierced when I was 10 or 11 months old. Both she and my dad come from cultures (each from a different one) where piercing babies' ears is not unusual. I remember hating earrings from ages 5-12, so I never wore any because I assumed it would hurt. Strangely, my piercings never closed. I then wore earrings from age 12 onward. When I was 18, I had the top of my left ear pierced and left it in until I was about 25.

I don't have children yet, but I know that I wouldn't pierce a baby's ears. The screaming! The possible pulling of the ears! Infection! I liked the way you handled Elizabeth's ear piercing. It sounds fun and reasonable!

Janelle said...

I was 12 when mine were done, and when I have daughters, I'll probably do about the same.

My reason is that ears grow A LOT as kids get older, and when you pierce them young, the holes that once were centered on the earlobe often look out-of-place on a grown-up head.

When a friend who'd had pierced ears as a little girl got second holes at age 19, they had to do some interesting maneuvering to make them look evenly spaced. I like having the ability to get three holes per lobe if I want, because they are spaced to an adult head.

Devan said...

I was in Kindergarten the first time, so about 5-6. My guess is I finally got brave enough to ask my mom and she said yes. :)My experience is much like yours. They got infected over and over and I let them grow back. I got them pierced again at 7? and again at 9? and they got infected again, and again... no matter how much I cleaned and twisted those damn things they got infected. We tried better earrings, and that helped, but eventually I lost the one GOOD pair of earrings (because I was 9. haha) and went back to cheap ones and they got infected again. I let the holes grow back and finally got them pierced for the final time at 16, when I could keep better track of the good earrings I had, and take better care of my ears.
Despite that ordeal, I will let L get her ears pierced as soon as she asks and really seems to understand that it will hurt a little and wants to still do it. I'm guessing 4-6. She's mentioned it before, so I know it's on her radar already.

Mama Bub said...

I was thirteen, but that's because I was a big chicken, and too afraid to do it earlier. As for my daughter, my plan is that she has to be old enough to ask. Given her love for all things pretty, I think that moment will come as soon as she realizes that pierced ears are a thing that she can have.

Peyton said...

I got mine done in infancy at the ped's office) Mom let me get the lobes pierced a second time in 5th grade, so 10-11. A few years later, I stopped using the bottom holes; the ped did it too low (they may know their way around needles, but aren't really concerned with the aesthetics of the placement). Both daughters got it done as babies, 3-4 months. At that point, they're too young to try to mess with them, and I think it's cute.

KP said...

I wasn't allowed until I was 13, and then when I finally turned 13 I was studying karate and wasn't allowed to participate in sparring practice with earrings in, so I waited. I didn't end up doing it until I was almost 17, when I spent a summer away and knew I had a 6-week stretch in which I could leave the earrings in.

My (female) partner had hers pierced at birth, and claims it's easier that way, but I did enjoy the excitement of getting it done myself, even though at 17 I didn't even need a parent's permission (at Claire's, in the mall). At least I could pick out the studs for my ears and take care of the posts myself.

If we have girls, I think we'll either pierce at birth, or let them get it done at some point before 13 (my parents' random rule), maybe 6-8 or so. Depends on the kid, I guess.

Diane said...

My parents didn't want me and my sister to have our ears pierced. In a moment of emancipation at about 18 years old, I left the course I was doing and had my ears pierced. I had one little infection but never suffered with them.
When I married the second time my husband didn't like pierced ears (says it's a symbol of bondage!) so I have let my holes close over.
My daughters all have their ears pierced - the oldest one asked and was begrudgingly allowed. The other two followed suit quick smart.
If I was to have daughters all over again I would have them pierced in infancy - I think it is pretty and not a big deal.
My son's have no ear piercings but one has a nipple piercing - his choice (he was about 15) and it doesn't bother me.

Lindsay said...

I am so excited to go back and read people's comments. My mom never asked if I wanted it done so I never got it done until between sophomore and junior year of college. It took them a while to heal and I remember the first time taking the studs out was scary and I enlisted my boyfriend to help.

My own kid, anytime after four would be fine. I hope to check in regularly to see if she wants it.

Amber said...

I got my ears pierced when I was 11. My mom does not have hers pierced, and the whole idea "grosses her out," so the rule was that I had to be old enough to care for the piercings completely on my own, as she "would not be going anywhere near them." That age was originally 13, but one day when my mom and I were at the mall together, I convinced her to let me do it. My dad was a little annoyed that she gave in sooner, but I don't think he cared that much. I do not have any other piercings, nor have I ever wanted any. Just one hole in each ear.

I don't have a daughter yet, but I plan to make her wait until she can (mostly) take care of them herself. I think that's reasonable. And as a pediatrician, I hate seeing babies with their ears pierced!

H said...

I commented earlier but forgot to mention that even though my 21 year old daughter has no interest in piercing her ears, my 25 year old son pierced his nipple when he turned 18. He did it to say he lived through the pain and because he was in a sport (pole vaulting) in which it was "tradition" for the guys to do it. He has never removed or changed the nipple ring and has had no infections. I didn't care that he did it, but I did want him to be old enough that it was entirely his doing, just in case it became an issue later on!

Megan said...

I'm surprised that most people's were done so old. My sister and I both got ours done as babies...and I had never thought about it, but would probably do the same for any daughters. Just because Sis and I have never had any problems w/them, and my nieces, who had them done in mid-elementary school, had nothing but problems & infections. Not very scientific, but there it is! Also, I think it's cute on babies.

Victoria M said...

My Mother decided 11 was an appropriate age when I started asking about getting earrings (probably around age 8). I am pretty sure she just picked a random number that sounded old enough to her.

When I was 9 I went to the mall with an older cousin and purchased those magnetic studs from Claire's. I came home like I got my ears pierced, but the look on her face was so scary I only lasted 30 seconds before I fessed up about the joke.

One thing I find very interesting is the amount of piercings people have vs where they grew up. I grew up in the South and EVERY girl I know has one piercing in each ear. Some may have their cartilage or nose pierced, but there are no double or triple ear lobe holes. I went to college in the midwest and I would say 90% of my friends, girls in my dorm, etc had 2-3 piercings in each ear. I stood out with my one hole in each ear.

On another note, 90% of my peers at my large midwestern university dyed their hair. In the South a few girls get high-lights, but most girls 16-30 go with their natural hair. That was also strange to me!

Erinn said...

I think I got my first holes at 10 or 12? I remember it being a big fight with my mom but had no problems once they were done. Then I got a second hole in the left ear at the mall, probably in grade 10 or 11 while on a swim competition trip. Then, shortly after that I pierced my own ear, giving me three holes in the left ear. During that same period I pierced a bunch of my friends ears too (I remember particularly piercing at least two of my guy friends ears).
Then in university I got my belly button done. Somewhat strangely, although I am pushing forty and have had two kids, I still have that too. I still have all the ear holes too but rarely change them...usually just for a special occasion, mostly because I can't be bothered!
As for my daughter, who is nearly 3, I think I will wait until she is interested and assess her readiness then!!

phancymama said...

I grew up in Atlanta, and it took a lot of convincing to get my mom to let me get my ears pierced when I was 13. My mom got hers done at the same time--we were the first women in our family to get them done. We also got them done at the doctor's office to make sure they were sterile!
Then at age 16 and 17 I had a friend at summer camp pierce 5 more holes in my ears, with alcohol and just popping an earring through. So, both ends of the spectrum!
I will probably wait until 13 or so for my daughter, just because that is what I did. Or, maybe not. We'll see.

nonsoccermom said...

I was 5ish when I had mine pierced. I remember begging my mother for weeks and then when she finally took me - I chickened out. This happened at least once more, and then she sent me with my aunt who MADE me sit in the chair. Ha. Anyway, no issues/infections with those, but I had second holes put in the lobes in 8th grade or so. THOSE never healed right and eventually I had to take them out. I tried again in high school, and still no dice.

Don't know why I had so much trouble with the second lobe hole, because I've had the upper cartilage pierced (twice, let the first one grow over), plus I have a piercing on the inner cartilage that has never given me trouble. I've also had my bellybutton pierced twice (let it grow back during my first pregnancy) and didn't have trouble with that either.

My daughter is almost 5 and has yet to show any interest. I'll be inclined to let her do it as soon as she asks, but my husband, Mr. Conservative, says she needs to be AT LEAST 13. We'll see what happens, I guess. I'm in no hurry to give her the option, mostly because at this point it is ONE MORE THING for me to have to keep track of.

Gigi said...

Holy Hannah did you come upon a hot topic! I'm just sorry I don't have time to read all these comments!

I got mine done when I was 9 - as a surprise birthday present. Unfortunately, my mom didn't "present" the said present so well. All she told me was that I was going to the doctor (back in the days when EVERY time you went to the doctor you got a shot). I remember protesting that I wasn't sick! I can't precisely remember, but at some point she told me what was up. The main thing I remember about the after part was that one of my ears ended up closing up OVER the earring. That was a fun night.

Then in high school, I had my ears pierced twice more (for a total of six holes) much to mother's dismay.

I don't have a daughter, but if I did, I think I would let her decide when she wanted her ears pierced.

Maureen said...

I'm 51, so maybe a bit older than many of your commenters.

My father didn't want any of us getting our ears pierced (4 girls) because he didn't want us to look like "gypsies". Keep in mind this was in the 60's and 70's. My mom was a LPN, so she wasn't squeamish-she did all our ears on the sly, when we were about 16. I remember sitting in the kitchen, my mom numbing my ears with an ice cube and her piercing them with a needle she had brought home from work.

No problems with infections, or anything like that-she did a great job! Never said anything to my dad, and when he finally noticed it wasn't a big deal.

My daughter is 18, and just now expressing interest in getting her ears pierced. She is afraid of needles, so I think that is why she didn't want it done. I have offered over the years, she was like "NEVER!". Maybe when she is home from college at Christmas we can get it done. Ummm...where do you even go to get your ears pierced nowadays??

Matti said...

I actually had to do research in order to be able to answer this question! I could not, for the life of me, remember how old I was when I had mine done. So I asked my parents. Who also had no idea :) Thanks Mom and Dad! They both decided I was probably at least 12 because they couldn't imagine letting me get it done any earlier. But I was guessing it was when I was 8, only I had nothing at all to back that up. After three phone conversations, and a half and hour looking through old pictures it turns out I was right! Though, the entire story was a bit more than I had bargained for, apparently I went to the mall with my Dad and older brother, and after a quick trip to Claire's I came with surprise pierced ears. My mother was not happy, and when she finally remembered the story today, she was still NOT HAPPY. So. After apologizing to my mom we got to talking about when she had her own pierced. Turns out she had her done in the mid 1960's with some kind of electric needle? It wasn't very popular back then, but a next door neighbor of her grandmother, who was from another country, maybe Sweden?, had her's pierced and my mom had always loved the look, so when she was 16 she used money from her first job to get it done.
I think she had to go an actual doctor.

I have two daughters, 2 and 4, and I think I'll probably make it something they do for their 10 birthday. It seems like a nice milestone birthday kind of deal and then they will probably be old enough to shoulder a significant portion of the care and responsibility themselves.

I used to love earrings so much, and I still have a million, but my ears have become so sensitive that I actually only own one pair that I can physically tolerate without and almost immediate allergic reaction. I've never really had much trouble with infections, except for the reactions. Also, my holes want to close up uber fast, so I usually just keep the same pair of super high gold loops in all the time. I'm going to try some titanium ones from etsy for Christmas.

Elisabeth said...

I got my ears pierced when I turned 12. I wanted my ears pierced so badly, but my father thought that only "fast girls" pierced their ears, and I would regret it when I was an adult. He made me ask 15 adult women with pierced ears if they regretted it. Alas, this is not a joke. I did his project, and it actually helped him realize that he had been too intense about it.

I spent my life thinking my dad was weird about this, and then I met my father-in-law, who has outright forbidden my sister-in-laws to pierce their ears. The youngest is 21 and wants to pierce hers and they are still giving her grief.

I plan to let my daughters pierce their ears when they want to.

momofthreeskg said...

I was allowed to get my ears pierced when I turned 10. I remember it as a very exciting "grown up" thing to do. My mom took me to the mall and I picked out opal studs. I was very excited to be given the responsibility of caring for them (turning them once a day, the cleaner which I just remembered was called Misty Drops and smelled so good).

I have two daughters and I will wait until they are 10, that is, if they want to get their ears pierced. I guess I just feel like it's the "right" age. Old enough to be responsible and kind of a nice rite of passage.

Cute side story, my Kindergartner and I were on her field trip and she asked her friend (who is from India) if it hurt when she got her ears pierced and her friend said "Oh I was born with them."

Sarah in Ottawa said...

My Mom is Italian - she moved here from Italy when she was 8 - so earrings have always been on my radar. That said, she got hers done (ice and needle style) by my Nonna when she was about. She waited until I clearly indicated that I wanted it done - I was five, and I went with birthstone studs. I imagine that I will do the same thing with my daughter, too.

Laura said...

I was 8 when I had my first holes done. My mom tried to convince me one morning by telling me her story (ice and needle by her aunt), and I wanted them, but was terrified that she was going to do it herself. We went to Walmart, and they did them both at the same time (while she held my hand). I don't remember it being painful.

In seventh grade I got my second holes, then in high school I've gotten third holes, two cartiledge on my right ear, and one just above my tragus on the left. I turn 18 next month, and I plan on getting a tattoo soon after. I also want one more cartiledge piercing on the left side.

Most of the time I just leave the same earrings in (little silver/white gold hoops in the lobes and studs in the others).

If I ever have daughters, I think anything 5 or older is appropriate. And we WOULD go to a piercer/tattoo place. For boys, I think the same age if they want it.

kate said...

I wasn't allowed to until I was 16, which I resented, but when I actually turned 16, I decided against it. And now, pushing 40, I still haven't. My mother's ears ears were pierced, but my father was very opposed, so maybe it rubbed off. We were not by any stretch of the imagination a conservative family so I'm not sure where that came from.

For my daughter, I have 13 as the allowable age in my head, and my husband agrees. But I'm not sure that she won't change our mind at 8, or 10 or whatever. She's only 5, and it's only come up a couple of times, and never with any real interest.

may said...

My parents didn't allow me to pierce my ears until I turned 13, which I kind of hated, but it did make it quite an Event, which was cool. They didn't allow me to get the second hole until I turned 16. I think I got diamondy ones for both.

I'm not sure yet about what I want to do for my daughters (ages 3 and 1), but I'm not in a rush. I like the idea of waiting a while so it's an Event they can look forward to, but maybe I'll change it to age 10 or something. You know - Ooh, double digits!!

Rbelle said...

I think both my sisters had to wait until they were 16 - likely because my mom thought that's when they could be responsible for taking care of the piercings - but by the time I came along, my mom decided to surprise me and let me get it done at 12. I did get infections in my piercings, repeatedly, although I never let them close up. Turns out I have an allergy to nickel. I'm honestly not sure what came first, the ears getting infected, which caused me to develop the allergy (since nickel was in all cheap, cute earrings I wore), or the allergy that caused the infections. Regardless, by the time I got my second set of holes, sometime around my 18th birthday, I knew to wear only stainless steel or sterling silver. I think I got my third set of holes around 25, and I never take the studs out because even now I have a problem with the holes growing over. My ears just don't seem to like to stay pierced. Since I have a grabby baby, I don't wear earrings in the other holes often, but every time I do I have to punch through the back of at least one piercing.

I still think I'll let my daughter get hers pierced around the same time I did - either her 12th birthday, or just before 6th or 7th grade.

What I really want to know, though, is when other parents are going to let their daughters shave their legs ...

Elsha said...

I hope you're going to compile all this data into some sort of spreadsheet or something, because it's interesting stuff.

I was 12. My mom had set 12 as the age and I asked every single day from my birthday on until she actually took me to have it done (like 6 days later.) Her reasoning was that she wanted me to be old enough that she didn't have to deal with it at all. I had them pierced with cubic zirconia studs.

It's probably good that I waited until 12, because I tended to get faint-y every time I switched my earrings for about the first year. (It was bad, I had to lay down to do it. I'm a fainter.)

I'm not sure what I'll tell Kalena, but I'm guessing we'll either go with age 12 or the start of middle school (which, obviously, is pretty close to age 12.)

Lippy said...

I had mine pierced when I was 7. I begged and my dad said I had to be 35? Mom decided 7 since all of my friends were. But they did close up when I was 9 or so. My aunt told my mom she could fix it. So she jammed earrings through were the holes had been. Needless to say I was VERY careful not to let them close again.

With my girls, I figure at least 6. Maddie is 6 now but hasn't shown a ton of interest so we will see.

MLE said...

I had to wait until I was ten. It was a Big Deal birthday, I guess, and I had been asking for a few years at that point. I was so excited to finally get my ears pierced and I got several pairs of earrings as gifts to wear once the holes healed.

I am the oldest of three girls, and it sucked, because while I had to wait until I was ten, the middle sister got to have hers pierced at age 7 and the youngest at age five. If I am ever lucky enough to have a kid (of either gender) who wants pierced ears, the kid will have to wait until a) he or she asks for it specifically (ie, the kid's idea) and b) my husband and I think said kid is responsible enough to handle the cleaning and care of a fresh piercing.

Hope T. said...

I was 18 because my mother would not sign permission for me to have it done when I was a minor. I never talked about it but when I was 18, I just went to the mall and had it done. What I didn't know was that my mother would consider it a sign of rebellion, even though I was legally an adult, and remind me for the next several decades of the time I sneaked out to have my ears pierced. (I didn't sneak since I was not living at home at the time; I just didn't think of telling her ahead of time.)

Umiyyad said...

I had mine done at 14. I was DESPERATE to have them done, because even at that age I was still occasionally mistaken for a boy (sigh).

I soon discovered I was allergiv to anything but gold and didn't actually much like wearing earrings. But I persisted while I grew out my hair, got contacts and grew other bits to look more girl-like!

Now I hardly ever wear earrings and the holes never close up. I can go over a year and still slip in earrings with no problems. Weird.

I have two boys - am pregnant with no3 (in fact my due date was yesterday). We don't know if it's a boy or a girl but if it turns out to be a girl (quite apart from the shock I will have!), ear piercing will be a down-the-line decision.

I'm thinking around the time she starts her period IF she wants to and IF she suggests it.

We live overseas in a culture where almost all baby girls have their ears pierced but even so i couldn't bring myself to do it for so many reasons...

Hopefully we'll have a boy (and if he wants his ears pierced that'll be a whole other discussion!!).

Interesting topic!

Lindsay said...

My great grandmother took me to the mall to have my ears pierced when I turned 10, and it was A Big Deal. I begged and begged. At the time I thought it was dreadfully embarrassing to be like, the LAST girl alive without pierced ears. But looking back, I think 10 was a perfect time and I'm glad I was old enough to both care for the piercing and appreciate it. I hope to wait until age 10 for my daughters, too, but would consider it earlier (8?) if they REALLY persisted. I'd like it to be a special treat with a grandmother, too, if at all possible.

I did get additional ear piercings later, though I can't recall what age(s). I think by HS graduation I had 5, and in college I had 11 plus a brief eyebrow piercing (gross, didn't ever heal). I only have single earring holes now.

alice said...

Wow - if I had more time, I'd want to go through and see the variety of answers, since this is interesting! I got mine pierced at age 5 or 6, then got multiple subsequent piercings around 12, 15, 17 and some other time. I've now got 4 holes in each lobe + one in the cartilage, but I pretty much only use the bottom lobe holes.

I'd follow my mother's reasoning on earrings - if a kid asks + promises to be diligent with whatever cleaning is required, then as young as 5 or so is fine. If they can't deal with the cleanings, etc., then the holes close up and they can try again in a few years.

Anonymous said...

My sister was the oldest of us 3 girls, and parents got her ears pierced when she was a baby due to the "what a cute boy!" comments. So each of us had it done as a baby. Mine closed up and had to be re-done as a 3 yr old.

I only have a boy, and since I don't wear earrings he hasn't asked for any yet :) Not sure how I would decide for any daughters...

willikat said...

I BEGGED to get earrings for years before I actually did. I got them on my golden birthday (which I've been informed is a Midwest-y thing? So in case explanation is needed, it's when you reach the age you turn is the same as your birthdate). In my case, my birthday is on December 10th, so I got mine done when I was 10. My mom and I went to the local mall and got them pierced, and she said to me as we were leaving... "Just let your dad notice. Don't say anything." I had long hair, so I think she was banking on his powers of observation to take awhile. And i remember thinking "So THAT'S why I haven't been able to pierce them until now." I was SO THRILLED.

Tina G said...

I was 18 when I got mine pierced= not because of any parental rules at all, but because I never wanted to do so. I wasn't a girly-girl, and my aunt ended up coercing me at 18. I was planning on letting my daughter decide when/if she wanted to around age 8-10, but she is 9 and has vehemently decide she will never ever put holes in her ears. That is fine with me! I don't think it's a mother's choice at all, personally. Some of her friends have pierced ears and she thinks they are crazy, lol.

Misty said...

I got my ears pierced at age 2, and I stopped wearing earrings completely in third grade, after one snagged on my shirt and was ripped out the bottom of my ear. I haven't worn earrings since (I am now 27).

Mary said...

I was the only girl my age who didn't have pierced ears by 8th grade. My mother said only tramps and gypsies had pierced ears. I went quite soon after I turned 18 and got them done. I have always loved them. When my daughter was 7 or so, she wanted them done, so I took her in. I mentioned to the girl at Claire's that I'd been thinking for a long time about a second set of holes, and she made some comment about "at your age." I was so annoyed I had her do them right then and there. And I love them too. My daughter is 15 now, and has never asked for a second set, but I'd probably let her get them if she wanted them.

Amanda Conger said...

I had no interest in earrings until I was in college. I got the first set done as a test, to see how much it hurt, how I tolerated metals etc. That went well, and I wanted more holes, had them planned out where I wanted them, etc. So when my roomate and I came across a piercing spot about six months later, I spontaneously decided to get all 5 of the remaining piercings put it at once.

I now have three holes in each lobe and a cartilidge piercing on the left ear. I wear small hoops in all but the bottom piercings, where I wear dangling earings. The lobe piercings have given me no trouble at all. The cartilidge piercing is a bit more sensitive and can get a little puss-y at times.

No kids yet, but if I had a kid that wanted pierced ears, it would be personality dependent. When I think the are old enough to reliably and without whining handle the after care, then we'll get it done. I think they need to be old enough to have expressed interest.

cakeburnette said...

Myself-8th grade (so...13?)

Chris said...

My mom set an age of 12 but I started begging at age 9, I think. Not interested before that that I can remember. I finally wore her down at age 11. Then at 17 I got my upper cartilage done, which my dad was SUPER against and really angry at my mom for taking me. Not sure why, still. At 19 or 20 in college I got my second holes done, but only used them 2 years or so and let them close up. Also got my rook done at that time, which I LOVED but it was hard to take in and out alone and I played college sports so sometime after one season I never had it put back in. I have thought recently about getting it done again, or seeing if jewelry can be put back in. I'm almost 27, btw. And only a little boy so far, but as far as a daughter I am very against piercing a girl's ears until she asks for it, and is able to reasonably take care of them. (Very against since it's not of her own will, babies can't be relied on to be careful with them and not pull on them, catch on a blanket, etc.)

Christina said...

I was an infant for my first holes. They have never been infected, given me a problem, or closed up, even if I don't wear earrings for years at a time.
My second holes I've attempted twice. Once at about age 15, and again at about age 17. Both times I was absolutely terrified and HATED the experience. They were infected messes, no matter how clean I kept the holes, what I used, and what I did. I just let them close up, but there's bad scar tissue there and they still occasionally itch and bother me.

For me, and my family, we are 100% Italian on both sides. It's a total cultural thing to have an infant girl's ears pierced. It's normal to me and every girl in my family has had her ears pierced in infancy.
However, my inlaws family is Polish and to them it's ludicrous. They would either a) never pierce ears or b) only as an adult. And they're very vocal and opinionated in this belief. I've tried to explain numerous times that it's a cultural thing, to take notice that almost all little Italian or Hispanic baby girls are going to have their ears pierced, it's normal to us.
I'm going to have my daughter's ears pierced as an infant, in laws be damned. It's normal in my family and my experience with it has been great. Of the 3 ear holes I've ever had, that has been the perfectly healthy one that never has a problem.

I didn't even KNOW ear holes could get infected or there were such things as "sensitive metal" earrings, or ear holes could close up until I was in middle school. That was when all my friends started to get theirs done. I just think there's a greater risk for fiddling, wear and tear, and getting dirty when you pierce later and that's why the problems occur.

UKSally said...

I had my first when I was 13.

I live in the UK and in my family 13 is The Age of Ear Piercing.

The second (lobe) piercings were done when I was 15 ish and then I did about 6 more each side myself all the way from lobe to cartilage over the next few years. Eventually I had scaffold piercings and stretched some of the lobe piercings to various sizes too. I was really into piercings and had everything I could pierced.

Now, I have taken all of them out and just use the bottom hole on each ear (one of which is still stretched to about 3mm) for "normal" earrings.

When (if) I have a daughter it will be 13, I like the idea of maintaining a family tradition - also, in my area it is considered "irresponsible" to allow young kids to have ear piercings (an attitude which I do not agree with), and I know I would get judgy looks at the school gates if I allowed ear piercings any earlier than 13.

christine said...

Got my first piercing in my ears at about 3 or 4 months? I think around my baptism. I got my second one at 16. Then I got a third and fourth (all in my ears) at 18. Stopped wearing earrings, all but the first ones are closed over. Maybe wear earrings once a month.

Jenny Grace said...

I got my ears pierced when I was 5 or 6, which is when I asked to get my ears pierced. My sister never got hers pierced because she never wanted to.
I imagine that if I had a daughter I would do the same. I can't imagine going at a baby's tender little ears with a piercing gun, or making my daughter wait until her teens.

Jenny Grace said...

Also I have super sensitive skin so it took my ears YEARS to heal properly. I tried to get second holes when I was 13 and they never 'took'.
I rarely wear earrings but my holes never close up or anything so I always can when I want to, although I have metal sensitivities and basically can only wear expensive (nice) earrings, which is lame because there are so many pretty fun earrings out there!
My sister is one of the only adult women I know who has never had any ear piercings of any kind, and I think she likes that status.
I like the part where I'm guaranteed all of my mom's earrings.

Laura Diniwilk said...

OOH I can't wait to read these comments! My mom had mine pierced when I was 18 months, which I always thought was totally ridiculous. She ended up having to take them out due to infection. I asked to get them repierced when I was 6, and I still got a ton of infections. I was one of those kids who was ALWAYS sick, so I'm sure it was just my body and not my age. When I was 8 I couldn't get an earring in and my friend accidentally created me a new hole, so that was fun. I didn't officially get my ears double pierced until.....hmm. High school? Because I wasn't allowed. Two holes are okay, even at 18 months, but 4 is unacceptable. They really freaked when I pierced my tragus when I was 20. I grew the doubles in when I was 24ish because I felt too old for them.

I think I'll let my girls get them whenever they are old enough to ask for it. I won't be too concerned with the number and placement of the holes. It grows back.

Shoeaddict said...

I'm in the minority here. I got mine pierced at 6 weeks old. Yes, weeks. I was very bald and my mom was sick of people calling me a boy. She said that she went to the store after and a nice little older couple commented how cute the earrings on the little boy were!

I love earrings and wear them everyday and so do most of the women I'm around. It's pretty common here (deep south LA) to get babies ears pierced at 6 months old but I didn't do my daughter's. I'm thinking 5 or 6 for her? I don't know.

Shoeaddict said...

Babies' ears pierced....

Sorry. I can't take my own typo.

CAQuincy said...

I believe I had my ears pierced for my 7th birthday. No huge issues. I got my second set in 6th grade and my third set in 12th grade. Then I had one put in the cartilage when I was 24. I am usually always wearing all earrings, but since this baby has been born, I'm down to only two sets and NO danglers (darn grabby fingers!). My 3rd sets caused the most issues with my FATHER, but when I pointed out that my mother had a third set and HIS mother, then he let me. Heh.

Mary got hers done in kindergarten for her 6th birthday. She is almost 13 now and still has the holes, but she hardly ever wears the earrings because of swimming every day. They annoy her. She just wears them on picture day.

Izzy got hers at the end of kindergarten--and she was only 5. She does OK with them. She is having issues with the "sensitive" earrings (me too!) in that they are leaving behind this metallic-black-gunky stuff which can cause her ears (and mine!) to get infected. Apparently earrings--even the sensitive ones--are made more cheaply these days, and we'll have to go for the pricy 14K gold ones now. Another issue she has had is if she sleeps in the earrings that are bigger than a pencil eraser, then they will MORPH INTO HER EARS. Both times it has happened I've managed to get the earrings out and treat with ointment/alcohol and they've healed up just fine. But the earrings she can now wear--which SHE still wears despite swimming ALMOST as much as her sister--are very, very limited now!

Arden Ashley said...

This is an interesting question. I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I got my period. I guess my parents felt that my period would probably come at an age when they'd feel comfortable with my ears being pierced, and that it would also be some compensation of sorts for all the drama and unpleasantness of menstruation.

I got my period at the age of 11, so I didn't have to wait an inordinate amount of time. But in retrospect, I think it might have been a little weird if I'd been a late-bloomer and had to admit to my friends that the reason I didn't have my ears pierced was that my parents wouldn't let me do it until I got my period. Or what if I had an infertility problem and never got my period at all? How awful would that be if I had to wait and wait to get my ears pierced and then was given the news that the reason I'd had to wait so long was that I'd been dealt a raw deal in the future-baby-making department?

I'm not sure how I feel about it for a daughter. I am pregnant now with our first child. I think my opinion would be that I approved of the age at which I got my ears pierced (11 seems appropriate to me), and it certainly DID make the awfulness of menses a little more bearable, but I'm not sure I'd use that rule on my own kids. Maybe I'd pick a different event -- one less reproductively-oriented. Maybe "The first Saturday after you start middle school" (since middle school is a rough time for most girls, but arrives a little more predictably than menarche).

Amanda said...

My own ears were pierced at age 6 without issue and a second set of holes at age 10 without issue. I don't think I was the type of kid to beg and plead, I think that when I asked my mother thought it was fine and so we did it. Then in high school I got the brilliant idea to pierce a third set myself with a needle and an ice cube. I don't remember any issues or why I didn't just go to the mall - teens are hard to figure out even when the one in question was yourself. Now I only wear earrings in the first holes.

We pierced my daughter's ears when she was 4 months old, simply becasue I wanted to. She cried for 5 seconds, I popped a bottle in her mouth and that was the end of that. We didn't have problems, she wears earrings without issue now at age 9. She's recently started asking to have a second set of holes when she's 10 as that's when I got mine, I guess I'll let her if she asks again.