My boy wants an earring and I don’t want to say no

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29 Responses

  1. Anon says:

    Good for you for letting him express himself.

    • Jay Palter says:

      We’re trying. But maybe we should tell him to wait until he’s 12 and maybe he’ll change his mind by then. 12-15 can be tough years.

  2. Ellen says:

    I don’t know if any of this will help your thinking…
    First, as a kid who wanted her ears pierced 40 years ago – my parents finally consented after I had begged them for some time – as a birthday gift, and only if I would have it done by my doctor, for safety reasons.
    Second, as a teacher I have a particular reaction to 6-year-olds whose ears are pierced (the reaction is about the parents’ priorities and willingness to be adult parents), but I don’t have that same reaction to 9 or 10 year olds, who tend to have more independent thoughts.
    Third, if the earring doesn’t work for him, it can be removed, and the resulting hole is barely noticeable, and will close over eventually.
    Fourth, I read about parents whose 16-year-old wanted a tattoo. Parents said that they would sign the consent form when the child wanted the same thing tattooed for a year. Of course, it never happened. But tattoos are a different kettle of fish altogether. The idea, though, of making sure that this is a real desire, and not a whim, might be helpful to you.
    In the end, probably how you communicate your thinking and whatever your decision is, will be more important than the actual decision, in terms of your relationship.

    • Jay Palter says:

      Thanks for these thoughts, Ellen. They are very helpful.

      The more I think about it, postponement makes sense. I’m worried that his openness to being different will be squashed by the intense pressure to conform that kids aged 10-15 are subjected to.

      More importantly, the conversation we are having about it is great. Hopefully it can set a pattern for similar future conversations.

  3. LAP (said boy's mom) says:

    You forgot the hardest part of the discussion “Well, how old were Maddy & Ella (his sisters) when they got their ears pierced?”

  4. Jennifer says:

    I really enjoyed this post, Jay. Unfortunately what celebrities can pull off is often very different than what the average kid or adult can in mainstream Edmonton. I look forward to the follow up post….when Ben gets his earring or when he changes his mind. Appreciate you sharing your story.

    • Jay Palter says:

      Thanks, Jenn. I’m thinking we may try for postponement for a few years. My feeling is, if he really wants it, then postponement might make it easier. Up to age 15 or 16, there is incredible pressure placed on kids to conform. If he waits, he could avoid the taint that the pressure to conform will place on his style choice (if that makes any sense). Thanks for reading.

  5. Auntie Pona says:

    He stands apart earring or not. Have u seen your son dance?!? many things short of what someone looks like can make them stand apart. He is smart, tender, funny, handsome… so many things set him apart! I may be biased because he is ours… but he doesn’t need an earring to stand out from the crowd. He is a “one-off” regardless. Please tell him I said so xo

  6. Your son has great style. Being a hat advocate, I truely love his hat. I haven’t had to have such a conversation with my son yet as he is only 19 mos old, but I’m sure it will happen as I have an earring myself. I think the way you are handling it makes sense… and your boy has some good insight as well. He sounds like he’s ready for one. He’ll be a trailblazer for his friends.

  7. Lars Fischer says:

    Well – why not? My daughter got hers when she was eight, and I’d let my son do the same if he wants to. It’s not really that big a deal – if you in the end it’s not working for me, take the ring out, let the hole heal, end of story. So – what’s the worst that could happen?

    I agree with Ellen – I wouldn’t let a 4 or 5 yo (boy or girl) do it. But at nine I don’t see a problem. Let him try and learn for himself what kind of reactions it brings, and how he likes that (or not).

    • Jay Palter says:

      Very reasonable advice. Thanks, Lars. I’m thinking that this is what I’ll do, after a period of waiting — just to see if he still wants it in a year.

  8. Derek McCann says:

    My only concern is his reasoning–wanting to stand out from the crowd or wanting attention. There is nothing wrong with a boy getting his ear pierced once he is old enough to make the decision. If he likes the look on his own account, then that’s great. If he is just going it to seek attention and validation then that will be a habit or thought process that will continue throughout his life. He will live on the kind words of others. The danger is that unkind words or lack of attention will greatly affect him in an adverse way. Self actualization is hard for a ten year old, but maybe he can start learning his inner value and getting what he wants from that. Aside from that, if he gets to the point where he just likes the look for himself, then that would be a great thing. He does sound like he has courage. I’m glad you are a progressive parent–wish I had that when I was growing up.

    • Jay Palter says:

      Thanks for the comments, Derek. My boy now has an earring and is thriving with it. A lot of my concerns and worry were misplaced. He likes to stand out from the crowd and the earring is one, easy way for him to do so. It’s all good!

  9. Domanick says:

    i am 21 and got my ears pierced when i was 13 and i did it for the same reasons as he wants them but you have to think it will be hard for him to get a job in the long run and my employer says that if he saw a picture of me wearing them he would have thrown my resume. I don’t want to be mean and discourage him from it im saying it will be harder for him in the future.

    • Jay Palter says:

      I appreciate your perspective, but I find it hard to believe that anyone is that narrow-minded these days about earrings in men. Thanks for your feedback.

  10. Todd says:

    I stumbled upon this page when I decided to scour the internet for similar advice. My son is 12 and wants both ears pierced. I have no problem with it (I actually got mine pierced in 7th grade :)). But my wife is a little reluctant. I think part of it is the whole “my baby is growing up too soon” thoughts lingering in her head. But I definitely agree with Lars. If he decides later that it doesn’t “feel right” or whatever the case may be, just take them out…and done deal.

    Oh, and that “gay” issue was something I had pondered before I had gotten my earrings, but ultimately, it didn’t faze me because I thought “Are people really that dumb? And if so, who cares? I’m gonna look fly!” And “fly”, I was ;-)! Ironically, the earrings got myself more attention from the laaaadays lol.

    But what I really want to know is, did your boy ever go through with it? And if so, how are things going for him?

    • Jay Palter says:

      Right on! I agree with your perspective. My boy got his ear pierced and is doing great. It makes him unique among his peers and he likes to stand out from the crowd. No issues, no harassment – all good. He’s even developed some skills around jewelry making, earrings in particular.

      I think you should let your son go for it!

      Thanks for the comment.

  11. Tyler says:

    I have thought about getting my ears pierced and I have thought about it even more after reading this. My two friends and I got our ears pierced together the other day. I got one black stud. My friend got two diamonds and my other friend got one diamond. I’m glad your for your son and I’m glad I got an earing! I have gotten some attention from the girls and the earing looks great.

  12. margo says:

    Do you really want your child to be a mediocre human being? If he is confident enough to want to stand out, please encourage that confidence! Kids are doing WAY edgier things than getting their ears pierced. Its completely reversible and when there are way bigger issues you’re going to have to put your foot down on later this seems pretty trite. Aren’t we trying to turn gender stereotypes on their heads? Gender is after all a spectrum- not a binary. Does your daughter have her ears pierced? Let’s not encourage the ‘What will the Jones’ think?’ mentality in our kids!

  13. Boy with Earrings and a Mullet says:

    I’m a boy with 2 diamond earrings in each of both my ears. I have long hair cut in a mullet just so my earrings will show. I haven’t cut the back in 3 years because i like the back long. All the other kids think I’m cool and look good with my mullet and earrings

  14. hello little guy my name is angel devilbiss and I am a mother of 3 boys a 15 year old a 9 year old and a 10 year old anyway my son wanted his ear pierced so I pierce it myself I knew what to do because I used to work in the mall doing it anyway after doing it I realized hey I didn’t ask his father what he like it and he says that it wasn’t right that I did it without his consent becausewe are married anyway that means we should both consult each other when we’re going to make a decision about anything we want for our children or anything we want to do separately anyway I think you’re very handsome young man and you don’t need a hearing to make you look any better because to me it might make you look a little time in it and that’s just my opinion that’s how I feel I’m picturing you and looking at your picture and I feel as though if you got an ear ring you would look feminine and that’s a girls point of view anyway what you should do is get like a clip on your ring lets say and wear that for a week and see how you like it they have clip on hoop earrings I know it seems weird but I’m sure even you can get like a little like draw something when your ear to make it look like it’s an earring and see how you look or take a piece of aluminum foil and shape it like a hoot and just sit there and see how you think it would look but again in my point of view I don’t think you look bright ordenaron not just because you’re a boy but just because you’re already handsome enough and you don’t need anything else anybody who tells you different is dumb you don’t need nothing else you’re very handsome child don’t try to be like everybody else be your own person and if that’s not good enough for anybody and they’re not good enough for you

  15. oh I forgot to say one more thing it’s good to express yourself but don’t express yourself because of something someone else is doing or because of something someone else is wearing well because of something someone else does. Be a leader not a followeranyway I have 3 kids as I said before none of my children have earrings and none of them have ever asked for earrings except for my oldest one but like I said I told you that situation anyway again I cannot stress it enough don’t want something because of something someone else has want it because you want it

  16. Elisa says:

    I’m so glad I found this page. My son is 11 years old and asked to get both ears pierced. It was so unexpected since he’s a bit shy and doesn’t like getting attention. I told him to think about it for a couple of months to make sure it was something he really wanted. We talked about how he would respond or feel if kids made negative comments. I made it harder for him by requiring that if he got them pierced, they had to be done at a tattoo and piercing shop. Not at the mall. I thought for sure he’d back out in the end.
    He’s had them pieced for about 4 months now. His friends were surprised but moved on after a few minutes. Occasionally, others have asked him if he’s gay, if he’s a girl, etc.
    He’s considering taking them off and I told him its up to him
    but if they close and he decides he wants them again, he’ll have to wait until he’s 18.
    My brother who we haven’t seen for a while and lives in another country sent me a message to say my son was very handsome but to tell him to take out the earrings.
    I don’t know how to respond which is why I was searching the Internet.

  1. January 21, 2013

    [...] Palter wrote about whether or not he should let his 10-year-old son get an earring. Reminds me of when I foisted such style choices upon my parents (except I did it without [...]

  2. April 7, 2013

    [...] BufferPin ItA few months back, I wrote about the great earring debate in our home. My son wanted to get his ears pierced and we were trying to figure out how to handle [...]

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