Ask Kari: Should I allow my 15-year-old daughter to get a piercing?

Dear Kari,

My teenage daughter and I are fighting about her desire to get her ear cartilage pierced. She is 15 and feels that she can make her own decisions about her appearance, but I do not agree.  I feel that she needs to wait until she is 18 and an adult before doing something to her body that she may regret. Her 16th birthday is coming up and she is constantly asking me if I will allow her to pierce her ear as a birthday present. What do you think I should do?

Fearful Momma

Dear Fearful Momma,

This is a hard question to answer without having more information about your daughter, and your relationship with each other. Is she a child who frequently asks for things, then changes her mind, or has she only asked for the ear piercing and remained focused on this one request? If she frequently asks for things and moves on, I would recommend that you inform her that she will have to wait until she is 18 to get her cartilage pierced. Her frequent changing requests demonstrates a lack of maturity. If she has been requesting the same ear piercing for the past year and is a responsible young adult (does her homework, chores, is respectful), then I recommend that you allow your daughter to get the piercing done. Include in your conversation with her the expectation that she will properly care for her ear piercing moving forward, demonstrating that she is a responsible person.


As published in the June 2016 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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