I was the last of my friends to get our ears pierced some time in late elementary school, and to add insult to injury, my mom insisted on doing it at a doctor’s office rather than a fun jewelry store, the kind of place that all the characters in my favorite YA novels frequented for this rite of passage.
All I remember is that it hurt, a lot, but was thrilling–and when I was older and decided to get a second hole, I waltzed into a jewelry store by myself and felt like a badass.
Now that I’m a mom, I have realized that my mom had a point in waiting until I was older: Many Kveller readers responded to our question on Facebook, and waiting until kids are able both to ask for the procedure and take care of the pierced ears themselves was the most common refrain.
But that still could mean anything from age 4 or 5 up until the teen years–and some of you still swear by doing it in infancy, too.
So here are some of your (lightly edited) answers to the question of when and how to go get those first gold studs:
1. “Don’t go to the mall. Go to a tattoo and piercing studio. Much more sanitary and more professional. Don’t let the scary looking tattoo people frighten you. They are really nice and gentle, especially with kids.”
2. “I feel pretty strongly that my kids should be able to make decisions about their own bodies, so we decided to wait until they asked. My daughter just had hers done and is 5. We made it clear that it would be primarily her responsibility to care for them. She turns the studs on her own, but I do help her to apply the cleaner.”
3. “I was 6 when I got mine pierced. I had been asking since I was 4, but my mom held off since she was scared I’d get an ear infection like she did (she made me clean them three times a day and I wasn’t allowed to change out my earrings for a year to make sure the hole didn’t close. I still got an infection, but we took care of it quickly.)”
4. “There are merits to piercing their ears as babies, but I’m a big fan of waiting until they’re old enough to consent or ask.”
5. “[I will do it] when my daughter gets her period. It will be a celebration of her body and self and an initiation, acting as a positive among all the cultural negative messages girls get about menstruation. It will be a big deal, a day in the city, a mother-daughter spa day, a welcoming to the sisterhood.”
6. “Whenever it works out, but best before soccer starts.”
7. “I wanted to pierce my infant daughter while she was young enough for me to take of the healing process. Hubby was against, said wait ’til she asks. She begged at 3, but was not a joy with the care. Baby number two got pierced at 3 months. All good.”