Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nose ring

We were at the mall yesterday and saw a sign for getting a free beanie baby with your piercing. My husband thought that was crazy because they shouldn't be trying to attract children to get their ears pierced. But I pointed out that a lot of babies have their ears pierced. It's not like it's a big deal or something sexual.

This evolved into a conversation about when we should let our daughter get her ears pierced. I said that she could get it done anytime she wanted, but my husband said she should wait until 12 or 13.

Then I asked him about nose piercing or eyebrow piercing. He said the same, age 12 or 13. While I basically said that she wasn't getting it done under our roof, that she'd have to wait until college.

I basically feel that being a high school kid having your nose or eyebrow pierced is telling teachers and other students that you don't care about school. Maybe it's not true, but I don't think that's the first message you want to give to teachers. I suspect many of them are biased against students with nonconventional piercings.  I don't want her to walk into her classes with a strike against her.

My husband told me I was being silly.

What do you think?


  1. I'm a high school teacher and my bias is a little different. My first, unwilling, thought is that the student doesn't have anyone at home to tell them they shouldn't get a nose or eyebrow piercing. So I end up being judgy about the family, and work harder to give academic encouragement to the student. However, most of my students qualify for free or reduced lunch; the conclusion drawn by a teacher in a wealthier school would probably be different.

  2. So your side of the argument gets a paragraph and mine is summed up as "you're being silly" ?

    1. Feel free to present your side here.

    2. 1) Teenagers need to be allowed to experiment with dumb/silly things and to express themselves in order to develop into emotionally healthy, functional adults.

      2) Women and girls are already pressured a lot to conform their appearance to certain socially-acceptable standards. If our teenage daughter is inclined to wear a nose ring as a harmless act of defiance then I say that's a good, healthy thing. We shouldn't stop her from expressing herself for fear of some random judgmental conservative high school teacher. What's next? She can't have friends who wear a nose ring because teachers might not approve of her social circles? Those jerks shouldn't get to set the standards everyone else lives by, and high school kids shouldn't be expected to look and act like adult office workers.

      3) I don't think nose rings are as big a deal as you make them out to be, and anyone who's been teaching high school for a few years has probably seen much weirder shit.

    3. Mr. Fizzy:
      1) So should she be allowed to smoke pot, do coke, drink alcohol most weekends, have sex with whoever at 13/14 years of age and get pregnant, since that is expressing themselves?
      2) So when she goes for a management or like job after college, how many people do you think are going to hire her? Including McDonalds? Women are pressured to conform to putting Victoria's secret on teens. Those jerks who set THAT standard should be shot. As for office workers, no where do I see that she can't wear jeans or the like, and many adult office workers can't.
      3) Just wait ... my sister told her (now ex) husband to stop putting their daughter in biker shorts and the like at age 2. She ended up pregnant and had a custody battle with the boyfriend that the family had to pay for, before she met a guy and married him. It was harder because she had a kid tagging along that wasn't the guys.

      As my church teaches ... listen to your helpmeet. They were put here for a reason.

    4. I feel ridiculous pointing this out, but drugs and alcohol will physically and mentally impair you and can have serious long-term effects on a still-developing brain; getting pregnant is a major life-altering event; I wouldn't be ok with my 13 year old doing those things. In contrast, wearing a nose ring is... the same thing as wearing an ear ring, except a few inches forward on your face? And when she's ready for an adult job or realizes she's too old for nose rings she can... take the ring out? Let the hole close back up? It's not like I said she could put a giant tattoo on her face.

      I don't really understand the story about your sister but I hope things are working out for her now. I agree with you 100% on the Victoria's secret thing.

  3. I look at things a little differently. If it's permanent or leaves a visible scar, it's not happening until the kid's an adult and I can't do anything about it. Most anything else goes. Shave your head, color your hair, pierce your ears/nose... fine. Childhood is a time where you are experimenting and discovering who you are, and how you present yourself to the world through style is part of that. Of course I believe that there is appropriate attire for certain locations (you wouldn't show your underwear in church, for example), but there is a lot to choose from in this world without making it permanent.

    Eyebrow, belly button, lips, or tongue would be a no-go, since I've seen some pretty gnarly scars from those. Tattoos, of course not. Gaging of any sort? Absolutely not. As a parent, my job is to allow my children to grow within set safety limits. In my mind, anything they can't take back and will wear forever is not something they should be experiencing in childhood.

    1. This is basically the exact perspective I was trying to convey, thanks.

      As far as scars, I would also insist any piercing is done by a professional in a proper environment who knows what they're doing. I suspect the weird piercing scars are mostly from idiots who decide to let their friends do the job because its easier and cheaper than going to a professional...

    2. Absolutely. It really just comes down to balance, doesn't it? Give them enough rope to fly, but not enough to hang themselves with.

      Professionals? Psh. All you need is an ice cube and a sewing needle, right? :)

  4. As mom to a 16 year old with highlighter orange hair (at the moment) my view tends to be the same as CloverMohr. If it's not going to scar/leave permanent marks, then why not? My teenage daughter is usually among the top of her class, and just chooses to exert her individuality by strange haircolors and clothes, that while covering completely, are things that I think are odd. I much prefer this expression of individuality than experimenting with drugs/alcohol/sex/etc. And - FYI, her dad is actually the one who helped her dye her hair...

  5. I would wait for my child to be able to take care of the piercing herself. I was 11 when my mother let me pierce my ears but I probably would have been fine at 9 or 10.

    I knew someone who got a nose piercing, refused to get pierced with the proper jewelry (you don't use a stud for initial nose piercing). It didn't allow for tissue swelling, and she got a massive infection that very nearly became systemic, and she was at serious risk for a brain infection. She was in college, and obviously nowhere near mature enough to get that kind of piercing. She finally got the stud switched for a ring even when the doctor was telling her she needs to switch it or remove it.

  6. Ear piercings done before the age of ten are less likely to react adversely according to my beautician. She's been piercing for years and said they're less likely to develop keloids or allergies. I got mine pierced at 13 and developed a severe nickel allergy - so I had my daughter's ears done at 9. Nose piercings, like tattoos, will receive judgement. Sorry, Mr. Fizz that's life.

  7. I've already pierced my two girls' ears and they are both 7 years old and under. I feel that if you are old enough to ask to have your ears pierced and you understand that it will be painful and what you are doing to yourself, go ahead. I figure they would have pierced ears eventually anyway. I wouldn't allow other body piercings until they are old enough to sign the consent form themselves probably, though I might allow an upper ear cartilage piercing at age 16.

  8. I really don't see the appeal of a nose ring, navel ring, eyebrow ring, or those huge disk things that stretch your earlobe. I suppose it's what is called "self expression" when you have one of those piercings. I guess it's fine when you're a teenager, but as an adult, yeah, not very mature.
    I think that teenagers should mature first before they full decide to permanently scar their skin with a piercing. I mean really think about why you want to. Are you doing it because it's the latest trend at school? And do you want that piercing to represent who you are? Because it is, people will think you are some oddball

    But then again I'm not here to change anyone's mind, and I could care less if another teenage girl like me wants to cover her body in piercings, tattoos,or whatever. I don't care. But for myself, I only have my ears pierced, and that is it.

  9. My daughter had her ears pierced at 9.5 with a needle at a piecing studio; not only did they toss an entire kit when it slid partway out of the sterile packaging when the tray got moved, but they also had two people cross-check her birth certificate / her yearbook picture showing her name and face / my driver's license as proof that I was a parent and not just an adult accomplice, as they do with everyone under 18.

    It took more than a year before she could wear anything but piercing studs, even for a few hours, without her ears getting crusty and gunky, and nearly two years before she could wear whatever she wanted without giving it any thought. If she'd been much younger, I think she would have given up. (It did not surprise me that she had issues; my ears never healed right and were a hot swollen mess until I finally gave up; my sister once had to have an earring removed by urgent care. It surprised me tremendously that after 18 months of heal / swap earrings / whoops / reheal / lather / rinse / repeat, on the last cycle she could suddenly wear cheap metal and heavy dangles and anything she liked the looks of.)

    So if she wanted to go through all that hassle for some other piercing, I'd have no problem with it. Your teens are the best time for temporary self-expression. Holes grow closed, lack of holes is no guarantee of lack of facial scarring, hair (hers is currently a mix of cotton candy blue / pink / purple) grows out, makeup washes, you buy new clothes.

    I wish heels were not part of socially-acceptable professional woman attire, because they have an ongoing risk of damage to your body, which a healed piercing doesn't.

  10. I support Mr. Fizzy's point of view. Experimentation is valuable as long as it's unlikely to be detrimental to her health or well-being. Why encourage anyone to curb his or her self-expression based on others' ideas of what is socially acceptable?

    Internalizing the misconception that you have to conform to others' appearance ideals in order to fit in is far more damaging than (most) nose piercings.

    On the other side of the coin, would your daughter be permitted to NOT alter her appearance if it's against social convention? Say she wanted to not shave her legs/underarms as a teenager - how would that go?

  11. My initial response was to agree with you, Dr. Fizzy. After all, how we dress tells people how we want to be perceived. However, your husband (no dummy) makes
    a very compelling argument to the contrary. So, how do we negotiate the two sides
    of the issue? I believe it's a balancing act. First and foremost, children need to
    feel safe. Arbitrary rules don't make children feel safe but boundaries do. Second,
    each child is different, and so their needs are different too. Lastly, you need to choose your battles wisely. As you rightfully pointed out in a previous thread,
    not having something can create a kind of "mystique." However, allowing your
    child to do as they choose can have negative consequences. Knowing your child
    will allow you to make the "right" call. At times, you'll need to rein them in. At
    other times, not so much so. Hopefully, as they grow older, they will begin to
    internalize the very good values their parents have demonstrated by their own
    actions and not just words. Without having met either yourself or Mr Fizzy, I
    can tell you're both very concerned and loving parents. That's it in a nutshell.
    - Paul

  12. My 60 year old, very professional and well-respected boss has a pierced nose and wears a small stud. I wear a small, gold stud in mine as well and have since I was 17. I like the look of it, and it is subtle enough many people don't really notice. IMO, nostril piercings haven't been in "rebellious teenager" territory for years - they're a fashion statement, like ear piercings.

    My kids can have piercings they care for. I will not permit anything dangerous or permanently scarring (punches, stretching) but if they want a bunch of piercings, I'll allow it so long as they demonstrate that they can care for them and save the money to have them done by a professional piercer. None of those mall boutique spots with the nasty guns that crush tissue instead of piercing cleanly.

    I find it interesting how so many commenters feel about nose piercings. I know many professional women who wear small nose studs and I honestly can't think of any other time I have heard judgement about them. Perhaps it's regional?

  13. I don't think there's anything necessary wrong with a baby having pierced ears, nor do I think teachers care about whether a child's ears are pierced (I'm not a teacher, but worked in an elementary school in a different capacity for over 5 years). I think nose and eyebrow piercings are much different though. I think teachers and school administrators do see those in an unflattering light. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules.

  14. As a teacher in a conservative school district, it is against our dress code to have those kinds of piercings. There are always a couple of girls that try to get away with it, though. I always catch them!

  15. I'm with you on the ear piercings (mine were done when I was an infant, as was the norm in the culture) but with Mr Fizzy on the rest. I was just telling my husband yesterday, after being served by a young woman with navy blue hair, that I wished I had done something fun & harmless like that as a kid. I was smart and conscientious and I don't think my teachers would've discounted all the hard work, polite behavior, and test scores for some dye in my hair. I would feel the same with piercings (though that isn't something that appeals to me)---its removable and its harmless. I'd rather my kids rebel with their appearance than with their actual health & safety. (I'd probably make a big deal out of it so they'd FEEL like they were getting away with something)

  16. I was a pretty good student in high school, a lot of my teachers liked me but this year (I graduated last year) I got my nose pierced. I like how it looks, I just have a simple ring in. I did honestly expect to be judged by it, I thought people would think I was a teen rebel or something but I don't think many people even notice it. I think nose rings are changing, they are kind of 'hipster' and more socially acceptable. I would never get any other piercing as I think many of them do still have some pretty scary connotations (not to mention can be fairly off-putting). I've gone back and seen many of my old teachers and none of them mentioned my nose ring, except for the one who has a nose ring herself.

  17. I'm 40. I have purple hair, a nose ring, multiple ear piercings, and visible tattoos. I also have a professional job that I have been at for years.

    I may have gotten all of this out of my system in my teen years had my parents not been so against it. Let her do it while she's young.

  18. I agree with everyone who supports letting their teens experiment, so long as their choices are not dangerous and not permanent. I was pretty much cool with my girls dying their hair blue, using ostentatious makeup, and most piercings, though neither one put any holes in their lips, nostrils, or eyebrows. I told my two girls that I was opposed to tattoos because they were pretty much permanent. If they HAD to get a tat, I suggested that they choose a site that did not show in a business suit or a wedding gown.

    Their dad did not agree with my approach at all. He and I divorced when the girls were 12 and 14, and I single-parented during those trying times. Their dad made his usually negative opinions known, though. He argued with them about blue hair and heavy eyeliner and with me about my lack of parenting skills. Eventually, every bad decision either one of them made became my fault.

    Today, the girls are in their early 30s. The most outrageous thing they do to their hair is have it subtly highlighted at the beauty parlor. They have let all of their piercings close, except one in each earlobe. The have tattoos that are tasteful and not immediately obvious to an observer.

    My girls and I are very, very close. Their relationship with their dad is distant and barely cordial. Tricia