If you have a child, specifically, a preteen or teenager, there is a likelihood that your kid is going to find body piercings fascinating; if your child does take a liking to body jewelry, you can bet that you're going to face a barrage of requests to allow him/her to get pierced.
From a parents 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 beginning of the end? . . . etc.
Parents, this article will help put your mind at ease. I have been on both sides of the spectrum so I understand both points of view. The first thing to consider is that your child is going through that “rebellious" stage (and don't lie to yourself, in some degree or another, you went through it too). In an effort to distinguish themselves as individuals, children seem to have an uncanny ability to use the things that irk you the most to achieve their goals of “independence". Your child is also part of 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 want to use their bodies as forms of self-expression. Instead of painting peace signs on their cheeks (as you may have done in the ‘60s), teens might now have nostril piercings to stand apart 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 more thing to add: at this stage, your child is also trying to “take" some power away from you - that is, they are tying 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 go out and get it done anyway. In their mind, they have just trumped your rule and therefore you are bit by bit 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 we want to shelter and protect our children from the injustices of the world, 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 pay for a car, they might have to take it out. They are then faced with a choice: they can either keep the piercing and be poor, or they can remove the piercing and be rich. Life is full of difficult decisions - and body piercings are a pretty reasonable way to illustrate that point.
Here's a way to come to a happy medium. Let's pretend your 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. You and your child should address those questions and concerns swirling around in your head (if you want to better educate yourself on body piercings, check out any of my other articles - I address a myriad of issues and aspects of body piercings). You should also lay out in clear and no uncertain terms who is going to pay for it. If you want your child to pay for the piercing, he or she will gain greater understanding about the true value of money - i. e, they will have to work to get what they want. If the child pays for the piercing, they will also be more invested in taking care of the piercing, which will teach them more about personal health responsibility and hygiene.
If you want to pay for the piercing, perhaps you can make your child work for it. A very 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 get a piercing as a reward.
Just between us adults - as far as employment goes, body piercings do not affect employment like they used to. Google, and other entrepreneurial business, for instance, do not have a dress code policy - which includes tattoos and piercings. In some of these large and corporate businesses, body piercings are not an issue. In fact, more and more business 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 that they can be removed. For temporary removal, a “retainer" can be purchased (it's clear and it slides into the piercing so that the hole will not close up); it's impossible to see and the piercing can still be worn outside of the job. Unlike tattoos, piercings are not permanent. If a piercing is removed, no one will see the old hole. This could be a very viable option for your child!
Taking your child to a professional piercing parlor will greatly minimize the chance of disease and infection - put it this way, if your child wanted to have 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 child 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 a very compelling reason to allow for a body piercing - if it's going to 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 in a way, 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! A lot of 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 everyday I see children and parents in the same situation - it's funny how some things always remain the same. 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 want 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 a lot of misconceptions on the internet, so choose your sources wisely). In a nutshell - piercing is quite safe, not permanent, and not something people get ostracized for. It can foster a great relationship between you and your child; it can teach sacrifice, work ethic, financial responsibility, personal health responsibility, and it can be an enlightening experience for everyone involved.
Do you want to know more about body piercings?. . .
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