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Ear-Piercing Parties ... for 6-Year-Olds

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This new trend is disturbing to one mom.

young girl smiling

Meanest Mom Jana Matthews: A few days ago, my six-year-old daughter received an invitation in the mail to a friend's birthday party. The party is being held at a children's hair salon in town. After being educated in the art of prepubescent hairstyling, each of the party guests will be treated to a beauty treatment of her choice: a manicure, a pedicure, a classy "up-do," or a free ear piercing. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a box labeled "tattoo," because I would have checked it.

Question # 1: Who throws an ear-piercing party for six-year-olds?!!

"Mani, pedi, or hairdo?" I asked my daughter, pencil in hand.

"I want my ears pierced!" she cried. The panic rose in her throat as she realized that my omission of her desired choice was not by accident.

I reminded my daughter of our agreement: she could get her ears pierced when she was eight. This proved to be small consolation to a six-year-old with a penchant for glittery hoops.

A few days later, I was telling this story to my friend when she broke me off mid-sentence. "You're not seriously thinking about letting your daughter get her ears pierced anytime soon, are you?" she asked.

That's when I heard about nasty infections, imbedded studs, earrings that rip through ear lobes, and a host of other problems endemic to pint-sized pierced ears. To be honest, I had never thought about the "proper age" to get one's ears pierced, but the more friends I spoke with, the more I realized that a lot of people have very strong opinions about when it's okay -- and when it's not -- to pierce your daughter's ears.

So what's your take?

Question # 2: When did you let or when do you plan to let your daughter pierce her ears and why?

A six-year-old with a fondness for hoops (and her mother) want to know!

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92 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 25, 2009, 1:39 PM

I was seven and my daughter was six. With that being said, the issue is should parents offer an ear piercing party which may exclude kids who are not allowed to have them done so young. My answer is probably not.

Seattle Dad June 25, 2009, 1:41 PM

“Okay, so age six seems to be just fine with everyone but not younger? Just curious because I only have girls but do the mothers on here who have boys have them circumcised when they were babies? Circumcision is also an unnessary prodecure yet I think most parents of boys get it done. Should you wait and let the boys are old enough to decide for themselves if they want it done or not? Just curious. - Anonymous
Posted 06/25/09 10:59 AM”

I don’t mean to hijack or derail the discussion, but I agree with the comparison and question regarding circumcision of newborn and very young boys. There are so many reasons to not circumcise, and the pros for circumcision are only cultural or based on misinformation and ignorance.

It is curious that new mothers (and fathers) will automatically have circumcision surgery performed on their newborns, yet worry/debate/research ad nauseum anything to do with their little girls.

Christie June 25, 2009, 1:46 PM

I just had my daughters ears pierced and she is only 6 weeks old. I had mine done when I was a baby and I never had a problem with them plus I never fussed with them since I was so used to having them in my ears.

Sharon June 25, 2009, 2:07 PM

There’s not a girl on the planet who won’t get her ears pierced so do it as young as you can. A baby’s ears will heal in a couple of days. When I was 14 and had mine done it took years till they were fully healed and I stopped getting infections. My daughter’s were done at a few months (maybe 6 months?) of age and she has never in 17 years had an infection. To prolong the inevitable is not wise in this case. We switched to tiny gold hoops after the initial piercing studs time was up. They stay in and are more comfortable for sleeping. My daughter has told me on quite a few occasions how happy she is that I did this for her. Her friends all get infections. I’ve NEVER met a girl who didn’t want her ears pierced. I would NEVER pierce a boy’s ear though. That should be a choice.

Anne June 25, 2009, 2:23 PM

My daughter got her ears pierced on her third birthday. She had been asking for earrings for about a year, because my husband and I both have pierced ears. She is now almost 6, and we’ve never had an infection, rip, or any other horrific experience. She is not allowed to change her earrings herself, nor is she allowed to wear dangles. She got her first pair of 1cm hoops last month, and we have agreed to revisit the dangly debate when she gets to junior high.

MarMar June 25, 2009, 2:39 PM

I have to agree with the Anonymous sentiment that the piercing party is a bad idea. The pedicures, manicures, and updo’s - that’s cute. But if a mom wants her daughter’s ears pierced, she’ll get it done when it’s right for her family, not because some opportunity pops up in the form of a party. And it WILL leave kids out. If it were my daughter, I could just hear her now: “So-n-So got HER ears pierced, Such-n-Such got HER ears pierced, why couldn’t I get MINE done?!” And much wailing and gnashing of teeth would follow. I’d be more apt to keep her home from such a party, and in that case no one wins - not my daughter, not me, and not even the birthday girl.

Sandy June 25, 2009, 3:21 PM

I was 8 when I had mine done, with guns. They both jammed! Terrible pain, and they were both crooked. I dont wear them anymore. I will make my daughter wait till prob 10 or later.

rbrown June 25, 2009, 3:34 PM

I got my daughters ears pierced when she was 4 months old. She’s 21 now & Never had a problem with them. Babies have been wearing jewelry for years. Where have you been ? Get out of the stone ages.

K June 25, 2009, 3:40 PM

I just wanted to state that I’m a woman in my early twenties and I have never wanted my ears pierced. So therefore this woman on this planet doesn’t want her ears pierced ever. I’m very glad my mother let me make that decision.

c June 25, 2009, 3:47 PM

I told my almost 7 yr old daughter she could get hers done anytime after she was 7..but she has no interest because she said it hurts :)

Chrissy June 25, 2009, 3:50 PM

It’s personal choice. It is not disturbing, disgusting or anything of those sorts to do it as an infant or allow them to do it as an adult. We live in a multicultural country and different traditions do weigh on personal choices like these. To judge someone as a bad parent or go as far as Kathleen is just ignorant. JMHO

Mel June 25, 2009, 5:10 PM

My family consists of 4 girls and we all had our ears pierced when when we were 10-12 months old. My own daughter (who is now 8) has had her ears pierced for around the same time. All of us were pierced by a pediatrician with gold studs.

jerseycow6 June 26, 2009, 5:15 PM

An ear-piercing party? That sounds like a horrible experience for both the parents and the kids involved. I wouldn’t want to be the parents involved in the possible meltdowns that might ensue. The party is about the birthday girl getting to have fun with her friends, not watching her friends potentially end up in pain. Plus, I’d never let a kid get her ears pierced at the mall. I was an 80s kid, so earrings were a big deal, and even my incredibly strict mom let me get my ears pierced when I turned 6. It was my big present for my 6th birthday, and I had to get it done at my pediatrician’s office. She made it into a big deal, though, by letting me bring my very best friend and her mom. We got all dressed-up, and then went out for dinner and ice cream afterwards. I felt so grown-up! (plus, it was very helpful having my best friend there to give me the courage to get my second ear pierced after I was totally freaked out by the first ear being pierced) I think that getting it done at the pediatrician’s also brought home the concept that it was something that required a little more responsibility than just some other beauty treatment like a pretty hairdo. To minimize the potential horrors of having pierced ears, making sure your daughter cleans her ears and earrings with rubbing alcohol before putting the earrings in is absolutely essential, and it’s best to look for earrings with hypoallergenic posts. My older brother also found me a whole slew of inexpensive, brightly-colored plastic earrings that were a summer staple because they could be worn while swimming so the holes didn’t close up without it being a catastrophe if they got lost or ruined by the chlorine.

Kat June 26, 2009, 9:32 PM

All the girls in my family have their ears pierced before we leave the hospital right when we are born. We are Puerto Rican and this is traditional in our culture.

RachelAZ June 27, 2009, 5:13 AM

It’s not a big deal just be willing to take care of them! Jeez people, a stripper pole in the future? Please! I got mine done at 7 and I was able to take care of them myself (and wanted to!) Nothing ever happened to them. I think if your ears are going to get infected, they will no matter what age you get them done at.

Stephanie June 27, 2009, 2:01 PM

I had my ears pierced at 6, and I got my daughter’s pierced right before she turned 6. As long as you follow the instructions on how to care for new piercings you shouldn’t have a problem, and don’t use cheap earrings. With that said I think you should choose the age to pierce your daughter’s ears that’s comfortable for you, younger or older it doesn’t mean you’re right or wrong either way.

SSinthe City June 30, 2009, 9:02 AM

As an Black woman, I have found that it is customary in our community to have our ears pierced as an infant. In fact, it used to be done by the pediatrician. When I took my 6 month old daughter to her check up, I was referred to a ear piercing salon in the mall. If you maintain proper care, the risk of infection is no different than at 12 or 16. For the record, my daughter is a preteen now and wants to become a physician! :-)

Growing up in a predominately black environment, I was surprised to find later in life that many caucasian women do not have pierced ears. I believe it is cultural, but also a very individual decision.

Those of use that chose to do so should not be judged. When I see preteen and teen age girls wearing make up, I think it is too young, BUT it is also a cultural thing. I see causacian women buying the make up for their daughters. In my experiences anyway.

It’s funny how the author has no problem with all of the infections associated with mani-pedis, staph among others. Or the chemicals the girls inhale during the process. Although my daughter’s ears are pierced, I do not allow her to go to hair and nail salons. I’ll take the one time “risk” over the long term exposure to chemicals any day.

Laura June 30, 2009, 9:25 AM

My oldest was 13. My youngest, who is 13 now, doesn’t want hers pierced yet. I just don’t think little girls need their ears pierced. Yes it’s cute, but still a lot of trouble. (I was 21 before I got my ears pierced.)

Qtpies7 June 30, 2009, 10:01 AM

I would have a problem with an actual ear piercing party, but this one is just a salon party that the girls CAN get it done, with parent’s prior written approval. Manicures would have been a better offer, however.

I prefer to get my daughters’ ears pierced at about 2 months old. They can nurse right through it and they are too young to pull at them, and when they can, they’ll be used to them. However, my husband won’t let me do it until they are 8 months, and then it is a battle to clean them. One of my daughters faught it so bad every day that I finally just took them out and let the grow shut until she was 2.
My girls LOVE their ears being pierced, and are not at all sad that I didn’t wait until they could “choose” it.

I do respect people who wait, too. We are strict on makeup and other things. The judgemental people need to calm down and raise their own children the “right” way, lol. I was called a horrible mom for piercing one of my daughter’s ears. But my daughters are turning out amazing! My oldest is a princess for our town, going to college, goes on mission trips, chooses courting over dating, and plans to have her first kiss on her wedding day! I expect her sisters will follow in her footsteps. So, I don’t think earrings at a young age corrupted them, lol.

Teresha June 30, 2009, 10:38 AM

I honestly can’t answer #1 since I don’t have kids yet. But our first is due next month and it’s a girl and I am terrified at the pressures she will face to be pretty and popular. I have seen Super Sweet Sixteen and hope that our daughter will have our values which shun materialism. It seems that parents are tying to out due each other with birthday parties.
As for #2…we just discussed this because a family friend wanted to buy a pair of pearl studs for our baby as a a gift. We decided against piercing her ears as an infant and will wait until her 13th birthday.

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