From a parent’s perspective, I understand the initial trepidation: My kid….wants…a body piercing!?! What about getting employed? What if he/she gets a disease? Is my kid starting to go down the “wrong path”? Is this the start of the end? …etc.
Parents, this article help put your mind at ease. I have already been on both sides of the spectrum so I understand both points of view. One thing to consider that the child is going through that “rebellious” stage (and don’t lie to yourself, in some degree or another, you went through it too). So that you can distinguish themselves as individuals, children appear to have an uncanny ability to use what irk you the most to achieve their goals of “independence”. Your child is also perhaps the generation where media has infiltrated every aspect of their life – and more specifically, the celebrity worship part of our pop culture is at an all-time high. If your child’s favorite celebrity has a belly piercing, rest assured it will only add fuel to their fire. Lastly, children this age are keenly aware of their appearance, and they would like to use their bodies as forms of self-expression. Instead of painting peace signs on their cheeks (since have done in the ’60s), teens might now have nostril piercings to differ from the crowd.
Independence, self expression, and cultural influences – these affect every generation, but each generation finds their own way to add a spin to these themes.
There’s also one other thing to add: during this period, your child is also trying to “take” some power away from you – that is, they are trying to reestablish the ruling system within the house. It’s part of growing up. If your teen really wants a body piercing, and you say no, they probably will get out there and accomplish it anyway. In their mind, they have just trumped your rule and therefore you are slowly less the boss of them, and you start to lose your influence and control.
Now, there are benefits to allowing your teen to get pierced. Although as parents you should shelter and protect our children from the injustices on the planet, this mentality doesn’t serve in the kids best interest. Once your teen has a piercing, they might have to learn about sacrifice: for instance, although they love their lip piercing, if they want that summer job at the bank in order to cover a car, they might have to use it out. They are then faced with a choice: they can either keep the piercing or be poor, or they can remove the piercing and be rich. Life is stuffed with difficult decisions – and body piercings are a pretty reasonable way to illustrate that point.
Here’s a method to come to a happy medium. Let’s pretend you’re teenage daughter wants a belly-button ring because, “it’s cute and everyone has one”. Rather than giving a straight “no”, sit down and have a conversation. Your child and you should address those questions and concerns swirling around in your head (if you need to better teach yourself on body piercings, check out any of my other articles – I address an array of issues and aspects of body piercings). It’s also sensible to lay out in clear and no uncertain terms that will be paid for it. If you’d like your child to afford the piercing, she or he will gain greater understanding about the true value of money – i.e., they’ve got to work to get what they need. If the child pays for the piercing, they may also be more invested in looking after the piercing, which will teach them more about personal health responsibility and hygiene.
If you need to pay for the piercing, you could make your child work for it. The most popular (and highly effective) method is to allow your child a body piercing IF they make high honor-roll or get only A’s on their report card. It’s a win-win situation: your child will get excellent grades (which have long ranging effects) and they will receive a piercing in exchange.
Just between us adults – so far as employment goes, body piercings do not affect employment like they used to. Google, and other entrepreneurial business, for instance, do not need a dress code policy – which includes tattoos and piercings. In many of these large and corporate businesses, body piercings are easy. In fact, a growing number of businesses are perfectly fine, if not downright encouraging, of body piercings.
It’s still true that in other jobs body piercings are an issue, but the beautiful thing about piercings is they is easy to remove. For temporary removal, a “retainer” can be acquired (it’s clear and it slides into the piercing so the hole will not close up); you can’t really see and the piercing can nevertheless be worn not in the job. Unlike tattoos, piercings are not permanent. If a piercing is removed, no one will see the old hole. This may be a very viable option for your child!
Taking your child to a professional piercing parlor will greatly minimize the risk of disease and infection – put it this way, if your small child wanted to possess a wart or skin tag removed, would you rather they or their friend went at it with a pocketknife, or would you prefer if a professional doctor did it in a sterile environment? In the same vein, if your little one really wants a piercing, would you rather they or their friend attempt with a dirty safety pin, or would you prefer if a professional did it with clean tools in a sterile environment? That alone is definitely compelling reason to allow for a body piercing – if it’ll happen anyway, it may as well be safe!
It’s a challenge when children start to assert their independence via body modifications and decorations – I know. Yet I was also that kid that really wanted a piercing and got several without permission (after asking, too) – you can bet my parents were hopping mad but you might say, their reaction thrilled me. When my Mom finally caved and brought me to the piercing parlor with her approval, I thought my Mom was way cooler than everyone else’s and far more understanding. Furthermore, once my parents saw the process and understood it, they really didn’t care anymore! Many their misconceptions were cleared up and they realized it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was a good experience for everyone. I’m older now but every day I see children and parents in the same situation – its funny how some things always stay. Allowing your child a body piercing is a unique and memorable way to build a bridge – which is difficult during those trying teen years.
Anyway, if you wish to inform yourself about body piercings, the risks, the procedures, how its done, etc., read more of my articles or search the internet (although there are many of misconceptions on the net, so choose your sources wisely). The bottom line is – piercing is quite safe, not permanent, and not something people get ostracized for. It can foster a great relationship between your child and you; it can teach sacrifice, work ethic, financial responsibility, personal health responsibility, therefore it may be an enlightening experience for everyone involved.