In a nutshell: Over 12 is when most people said they’d let their child get their ears pierced (we polled 1,427 parents).
Here at MFM we know that the topic of children and ear piercings is one seriously HOT potato.
We shared the story of a mum who started a petition to get ear piercings for babies banned – and one about a mum who felt she had to defend a viral video of her 4-month old getting pierced.
But here, we’re thinking a bit beyond the baby stage – about deciding when to let your children get their ears pierced if they weren’t done as a baby.
We shared a story a few years ago based on a survey which suggested the average age kids get their ears pierced in the UK is 7.
Some kids have no interest in getting it done (especially if they’ve heard it hurts!) but we also know those who really want their ears pierced – because Mummy (or whoever) has them done and they like the look of them.
So we decided to ask 1,427 parents at what age they’d let their children get their ears pierced. The most common answers were:
- Over 12 years (24%)
- 10 (13%)
- Not sure (11%)
When we probed a bit further on this topic, quite a few parents said they’d consider letting their children do it only when they were old enough to look after the piercings once they’d been done.
Others mentioned that their children’s schools weren’t keen on pupils wearing earrings. Quite a few said they’d be happy to let their child do it whenever they said they wanted to, but would need them to understand that the process can hurt.
One mum said: “My daughter was always told when she asked, she would be allowed. She asked at 5, just in the summer holidays before starting school. I wouldn’t have allowed her to do it any younger if I’m honest.”
Though others were less keen, with one person saying: “I am against piercing but accept it would be a personal choice at 16 years old or over.”
What does the expert say?
We asked educational psychologist Naomi Burgess about this one, who advised that even if you come under siege from an ‘I want my ears pierced’ child, her advice is to hold off until you feel they can make a considered and independent decision.
“In Scotland your permission would be needed if your child was under 16,” she adds. “Pierced ears need looking after. The earrings might need removing for sleeping, or for school. They can be risky to wear, getting caught if you are sporty, or even catching in your clothing.
“Take the opportunity to begin discussing why they want to make a physical alteration to their body, because this discussion will run and run – whether it be about other types of piercings or tattoos.
“So, if it is really only for decoration, then stick-on gems, or little clip-ons will do; there is much more choice and they are cheaper.”
Here are some of the key words that came up when we asked parents about letting their kids get their ears pierced…