When should girls get their ears pierced?

I got my ears pierced at the ripe-old age of 12. It, or the piercing, happened on my birthday and was a big deal. My mom told me about the big plan the night before, so I remember waking up that morning and feeling like I was crossing into something BIG. Womanhood? Hmm. Yeah, maybe that was it. Or, maybe it was the next step from womanhood, or young womanhood. I don’t know. I just knew that getting my ears pierced at 12 was not to be taken lightly.

I remembered my “piercing” day, years later, when a woman at Target asked me if I had plans to get my, then, seven week old daughter’s ears pierced.

“Umm, I hadn’t thought about it,” I said. And, really, I hadn’t thought about ear piercings along with the hundreds of other things on my brain as a new mom.

“Oh, well, I got my daughter’s ears pierced at four weeks old,” she said. I had to because everyone thought she was a boy.” She laughed then and continued to say that I didn’t need to worry about earrings for my girl because she was “pretty.”

I think I said “Uh. OK.”

I didn’t get my daughters ears pierced then and, now at two, she doesn’t have her ears pierced. Neither does her younger sister, who is six months.

My decision to not get their ears pierced is somehow strange to most. Since the woman I first met in Target, I’ve been asked over and over and over again about ear piercings for my girls.

Ear piercings, I guess, are not a big deal. And they are, in the bigger picture of it all, not a big deal. They are what many think little girls should do to embark upon girlhood properly. But, I don’t know, to me, ear piercings are kind of a big deal. At this point in their lives, I have other things on my brain, or managing mealtime messes and potty training.  Oh, and I really don’t want to have to care for their piercings on top of everything else that comes with the territory of motherhood. I’m not ready yet and neither are they. I get “this,” now it’s just getting everyone else to get “this.”

 What do you think about girls and ear piercings? When is the right age to get a first piercing? Or, is there a right age?

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Jessica lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband and two girls. Once upon a time, pre-motherhood, she did many things as a “serious-looking” woman who managed to successfully balance a reality TV addiction with a career and academic pursuits. She's now a serious-acting woman whose primary job is raising her children. She writes, reads, fantasizes about minivans, and takes midday naps. She enjoys (among many other things) dancing to 80s music, photography, laughing out loud (at, usually, inappropriate moments), and writing about writing, being a writer, and becoming fearless on her blog Jessica F. Hinton

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23 Comments on "When should girls get their ears pierced?"

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Angie Tune
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Jessica, I was searching for my GF’s blog and came across your interesting one with the perverbial questino when to pierce little girl’s ears? I guess the answer is who you ask given that it is a personal decision. Admittedly, there are many overriding cultural, tradition and religious reasons for infant ear piercing. However, after the question is much debated, the end result is babies and little girls look adorable with earrings. It usually signals their gender identity of femaleness and feminininity. Yes, as you said, ear piercings are a big deal. To little girls ages 2-5 whose friends already… Read more »
Sarah
Guest
My mom’s rule for my sister and I, was that we could get our ears pierced when we had taken over caring for our hair on our own, which was around age nine. I wish that I had waited even longer though, because my ears are very prone to infection and growing closed. I’ve had to have them repierced three times, and currently can’t wear earrings at all. One of my earring holes developed a small cyst from being pierced so many times and I would have to see a general surgeon to have it removed, which just isn’t real… Read more »
mari
Guest
I grew up believing it was very “mexican” to pierce babies’ ears. To be called “mexican” back then and where I grew up, was equivalent to maybe a step or two above white trash. It’s funny, though, because we had MANY friends who were Mexican, but we never thought of them as “mexican,” if that makes any sense at all. I have since learned that it’s actually a cultural thing, and I guess it spans into the Latino, Hispanic, and South American cultures? I have also learned that although it’s not something I would choose to do to my babies,… Read more »
Sherri
Guest

I had my daughter’s ears pierced at her doctor’s office by a pediatrician. She was about a month old. We had to wait until after her first set of shots, doctor’s rule. It wasn’t a big deal. In my family every girl has her ears pierced as a baby.
She is now 5 yrs old and has a best friend who doesn’t have pierced ears. I never noticed until her mom asked me when I got my daughter’s ears pierced. It’s an individual decision whether you do or don’t.

Sherri
Guest

I had my daughter’s ears pierced at her doctor’s office by a pediatrician. She was about a month old. We had to wait until after her first set of shots, doctor’s rule. It wasn’t a big deal. In my family every girl has her ears pierced as a baby.

Sybilla F.
Guest

I also remember it being a big deal to get my ears pierced. It felt like I was growing up. I think when my daughter is ready to handle the pain and most importantly when she can actually take care of the cleaning herself, then I have no problem having her ears pierced. It was something special that my mom and I did together and I want it to be something special for her and I as well.

Dereka
Guest

Our daughter is two and does not have hers done. I didn’t want to deal with infected, healing ears when she was a baby! My husband and I want to wait until she asks for it, so she can remember how much it hurts and hopefully won’t grow up to put all sorts of other holes all over her face, lol.

Jen B
Guest
Arghhhh… I was just arguing with my mother about this yesterday! She’s currently on a cruise and called me from St. Thomas to tell me she’d purchased a pair of emerald earrings for my daughter (who will be two next month). These emeralds are in addition to the small (small) diamonds and pearls that she already has purchased. My daughter’s ears are not pierced! I’m in no hurry to do so — I’m on the thought process that when she’s ready, she’ll ask. And I totally understand not wanting one more thing for me to worry about (the cleaning, possible… Read more »
Michelle
Guest
We won’t let our daughter get her ears pierced until she is old enough to care for them herself. Like you said, there’s lots of other things to worry about/do when they are young, so why add one more thing that isn’t necessary? So, when my daughter gets older and she asks if she can have her ears pierced we’ll sit down and talk about. Then if her dad and I agree that she’s responsible enough to care for them with little supervision from us then we’ll do it. If not, then she’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
Danae T
Guest
I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was in my 20’s my mom said if I would have asked more than the one time she would have let me but I guess I just wasn’t that interested. Now I have two girls age 22 months and 7 months and I have no intention of letting them get their ears pierced until at least 12 years old. My friend had her daughters ears pierced at a very young age because she had basically no hair and was tired of people asking if she was a boy. In my case my… Read more »
Tania
Guest

Pediatricians recommend to do it after the two months vaccines.
I think it’s better to do it as babies as they don’t hurt as much as the cleaning and maintenance
Is easier and faster healing.

Elizabeth
Guest

I got mine done when I was younger, I don’t even rem when but I know I asked to get them done. I did the same thing with my daughter, she asked, so for her 4th birthday thats what she got. She has done grat with them, and even reminded me (when they were new) to clean them.

Amanda
Guest

I too had mine done around age 12 and it was a big deal. I had been asking for a long time, but my parents felt it was necessary for me to be able to care for them myself and make sure I really wanted it done. Now I rarely wear earrings, just for special occasions and my holes never seem to close up. I have three sons and I am very traditional so I hope none of them ask for it. If I had a daughter, I would make her wait also.

Jessica
Guest
I had mine done around the age of 6, then they hurt too bad and I took them out. We re-pierced them at 8, same story. The cycle continued until I was about 12. I envied the girls who got their ears pierced when they were babies! It was a pretty traumatic chain of events for me and even now my holes close up if I don’t wear earrings constantly. Although, I really can’t say that if I had a daughter i’d pierce her ears right away, but I’d think about it. Like you said, I wouldn’t want to add… Read more »
Kim
Guest

I my self have have 10 ear peircing, and have a 18 month old so I get asked this alot too. I got my first ear piercing for my 10th birthday. I plan on waiting till 10 for my daughter, possible a little sooner if she askes about it and will be able to take care of them her self.

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