Young kids with pierced ears: a middle class taboo?

by admin on March 4, 2013

Infant ear piercing, culture,


When I was growing up my mother wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced because getting your ears pierced when you’re young is frowned upon by the middle classes in the UK. (It could also have been because she didn’t have hers done as she doesn’t like pain).

I pestered her incessantly for years until she finally gave into pressure. I still remember the day I got my ears pierced. We were staying with friends in Southsea. I was 14. My friend was the same age as me and had already had hers done. I can only assume cajoled my mother into letting me have it done. We found a chemist that offered ear-piercing and that was that. Within seconds I had 2 brand new gold studs in my ears. They’d used a gun so it was pretty painless (as I remember) and I walked out of the chemist feeling like I ruled the world. Funny!

Now, my 5 year old wants her ears pierced. Absolutely NO WAY! Perhaps it’s down to my middle class roots and my mother’s influence, but I just don’t think it looks good on children at all, and definitely not on babies.

If I was Indian or Chinese, Spanish or Latin American it would be a whole different story. Both my girls would already have their ears pierced. In these societies and others, ear-piercing is an integral part of their culture. In India, nearly all girls and some boys get their ears pierced before they are around 5. In places like China, Spain and Latin America girls often have their ears pierced at birth.

As expats in Singapore, we are surrounded by families from all over the world. Trying to explain to Miss C that it’s not the done thing to have your ears pierced at the age if 5 where we come from, when all around her are babies with gold studs in their ears, is not easy.

I’ve told her she has to wait until she’s 16, mainly because she can’t even grasp how far that is, just that it’s a very, very long way away. I’ve also told her it hurts to put her off a bit. In reality I think I’d be happy to wait until she’s the same age as I was.

For now she uses stick on gems, but one day (hopefully never when she’s much, much older), she may come home with multiple holes in her ears, a pierced belly button and a tattoo (just like someone else I know, ahem!).

When would you let your children (girls and boys) have their ears pierced?