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104 replies

gladdycat · 07/04/2011 22:56

My 14 year old DD has become obsessed with piercings and alternative body art. She has her ears pierced (once), but is nagging to be allowed her nose pierced. My DP and I thought she meant her nostril.....but no she means her septum! We have obviously refused to entertain this, but she claims that when she is 16 she will be of age to get piercings without parental consent. Is she right? Now she is talking about getting her clavicle pierced, and also 'snake bites' (her lower lip). I find her desire to mutilate herself like this really upsetting as she is such a pretty girl. I was born with a facial birthmark, and would have done anything NOT to be disfigured. I hope I don't come over all uptight and middle class over this, but I would love some ideas on how to deal with this issue before she tries to do anything silly.

OP posts:

ZillionChocolate · 07/04/2011 22:59

I'd investigate how piercings heal, some of them you can take out and not be left with much evidence they were ever there. If you have tattoos and flesh tunnels then it's much harder to change your mind.

I suppose I'd look for a compromise.


hairylights · 07/04/2011 22:59

Until the age of consent she needs your signature (I think it's 16). just be very careful you don't push too hard against this .. She may go and do twice what she would have when she's older to be rebellious and make her point. The more it's forbidden the more shell want it.


pinkstinks · 07/04/2011 23:00

Broach the subject with her an talk about it sensibly
When i stretched my ears my mum marched me to the doctors who told me they would never stretch back! Lo and behold my ears now show no signs of their former glory. She came across as patronising and refused to believe she could be wrong.
My mum was pretty laid back but i was a devious witch
I wore a fake nose ring for six months until she bacame used to it, then i pierced it myself with a needle and an oven chip in my nostril.

It took half an hour.

I was lucky because nothing bad happened but it could have so easily gone wrong.

Please try to be understanding, if my mum had maybe explained her reasoning more clearly i wouldnt have needed to rebel so much, i pierced my ears myself 4 times too!

My lip ring was done by a professional when i was 17 :)

Good luck!


Flowerpotmummy · 07/04/2011 23:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Glitterandglue · 07/04/2011 23:13

Legally, there is no age you have to be to get most piercings. Most places, however, will say age 16 and over can consent themselves but below that age they need a parent or guardian's permission. To get a genital piercing or a female nipple piercing though, you legally have to be 16 as otherwise it can be classed as indecent assault to which the child cannot consent.

I do find your attitude slightly offensive actually, even if it's not meant to be, and I can see why your daughter would choose to rebel against it presented like that the moment she could. You are viewing facial piercings as disfigurement; she clearly sees them as enhancement. Neither of you is right or wrong but if you try to insist that your view is correct, it's a) unlikely to change hers and b) likely to make her even more determined to do the opposite of what you'd like.


Bunbaker · 07/04/2011 23:13

What is the policy about piercings at her school?


upyourdiva · 07/04/2011 23:17

I was obsessed with piercings when I was 14, I wanted my naval, eyebrow, tongue, lip etc all done my heart was completely set on it so my mum took me to get my naval done when we were abroad (and they don't numb it).

I can assure you I never got anything else done because it was so bloody painful! I am 24 now and I took the piercing out when I was PG in 2006 and still have a weird hole where it was as it stretched and will never fully heal. I am just thankful that it can be hidden away.

A couple of my friends were 'lucky' that their mums would let them have any piercings they want. One had to get her tongue sliced open because it swoll up so bad she almost choked and they could'nt remove the bar, the other has got what looks like chicken pox scars where her septum had been pierced and she also has a chunk missing from her eyebrow where that was done.

Listen to your DD and try to explain to her about what it is like to have a facial disfigurement deliberate or not, it affects all aspects of your life career, relationships and of course self confidence!

A piercing may seem cool now but in future it will do more harm than good, but I guess you could compramise and say nothing on the face.


IronOrchid · 07/04/2011 23:24

Septum may look more unusual, but it'll be less noticable when she (inevitably) takes the stud/ring out - all my ex-nostril pierced friends now look like they have a permanant blackhead!

Sounds like she wants a more 'edgy' piercing - how about compromising with a tragus or other ear placement (rook, conch, anti-tragus, etc.)? In fact, why not toss a few of those piercing terms at her - no doubt mum knowing them will make them seem desperately uncool = problem solved!

In seriousness, I know it seems like deliberate disfiguration but piercings really can look stunning - one of the most beautiful girls I've known has snakebites and dermal anchors (and pink hair - glorious). They complement her look and it's really striking.

In short, your teen is finding ways to express herself in a reassuringly normal and healthy way, not mutilating herself. Hope it all works out :)


Nanny0gg · 07/04/2011 23:35

Does she have any idea what she wants to do when she grows up?
Not all employers think that facial piercings are enhancements.
Nor might her school.


Glitterandglue · 07/04/2011 23:36

Actually that's an interesting point upyourdiva has raised. I had one eyebrow pierced and had to keep taking the bar in and out for school when I was 16 - because it wasn't fully healed at the time (despite it having been done at the start of the six weeks' holiday) it ended up coming out in a big chunk of dead skin and now I have a chunk missing. I got the other done instead... And I consider that missing chunk to actually make my face look a bit more interesting. It hadn't occurred to me to consider it a disfigurement; it's just part of my life story worn on my body.


theoldtrout01876 · 08/04/2011 00:11

my 14 year old dd has her nostril and lip pierced,she also has 7 holes in 1 ear,8 plus her industrial in the other.I think it looks really cute.She is on a mission to get surface piercing/dermals and her clavicle done.I may allow the surface piercings as I think they look great and would have them myself if I was younger. My 18 year old son has snake bites and 3/4 inch gauges in his ears. I hate the gauges but dont mind the snake bites. My 17 year old son has his septum pierced plus the cartridge in 1 ear and 1 inch gauges in both ears.

The septum "horseshoe" gets poked up his nose so its invisible at work and the snake bites get removed and a clear spacer put in when hes at work,the ears you can do nothing with.Dd is at school and they have no rules on piercing tattoos etc

I think they need to express themselves to some extent so let them do as they will.I did say that if they need surgery to fix their ears I would not be paying for it though. I was duped into the gauges and by the time I realized what they were doing( they had very long hair) the damage was done


FabbyChic · 08/04/2011 00:17

I think it restricts their job prospects and would try as hard as possible to deter her, but in a go lightly basis.

Just tell her when she is 16 and hopefully by then she will have forgotton about it or decided on a tattoo which can be hidden for job interviews later on.

Certain peircings do scar, my niece has scarring she went thru a phase at 16 and now regrets it.


LDNmummy · 08/04/2011 00:17

There is no age of consent though genitals or nipples on girls cannot be pierced before the age of 16 or it becomes a case of sexual assault I think. But piercing and tattoo parlours generally don't like to pierce you unless you are at least 16. But that is only if the place is reputable. I had my nose pierced last September after just turning 24 and the guy at th counter was not happy to do it till he saw some ID showing that I was 18 or over for instance, but this a very good place in Camden where there are lots of professional piercing parlours. She should be fully aware of the risks of piercing as some piercings can have serious medical side effects if they go wrong or are not done properly, and it should always be done with a needle, not a piercing gun which can be very harmful.


TwiztidStardust13 · 08/04/2011 00:33

Tbh if you are going to give in to her getting even one piercing then the septum would actually be the best.
As said before it can be completely hidden without being taken out, has pretty good healing times and will never leave a noticable scar. Also for most people this is an extremely painful piercing so she might just decide not to have any more done.

When I was 14 I asked for my septum pierced and was refused. I ended up doing it myself with a safety pin and flipping the jewelery up my nose. This could have ended really badly but luckily it didn't. If she really is determined to get pierced, she will find a way to do it. Probably better to allow her under your conditions and take her to a very reputable studio where you know there is minimal chance of risks.


Goodynuff · 08/04/2011 05:02

I have a beautiful, thoughtful, well behaved good student daughter...who also has her nose pierced, and her lower lip. Smile
People will make judgements, and I am not certain she was expecting that side of it. In her mind, it really wasn't that "far out", but she had a number of friends who gave her a really hard time about it. Most of them have accepted it now. She also gets comments from adults, saying things like "Why would you wreck your pretty face with those awful metal bits?!"
I have explained to her that if you want to step out of the mainstream, you have to be prepared for a bit of a battering. She does take them out every week, as she is in army cadets, and they have a no facial piercing policy. She also knows it will make it harder to get a job.
The piercings were done at a shop where we know the owner, we were there to make sure all saftey procedures were followed, and if she changes her mind down the road, she can remove them, and they will grow over.
As permenant as they seem, they really aren't.


AKissIsNotAContract · 08/04/2011 05:45

At 14 I really wouldn't worry about it restricting job prospects. I had about 30 piercings by 18 and a huge tattoo by 22. I have a highly professional job and it hasn't held me back (I have long since removed the piercings but still have marks where they were and i stretched my ear lobes so much that they will never go back completely). I have other colleagues with tattoos also. The septum piercing is good as it can be hidden easily and it won't notice if she removes it one day. She probably will, at 14 I thought I'd have all my piercings forever, now at nearly 30 I don't even wear one pair of earrings.


AKissIsNotAContract · 08/04/2011 05:56

Thinking about it more, if she was my daughter I think I would allow the septum piercing now. It is so easy to hide and leaves no visible mark and it might just stop her from doing DIY piercings with safety pins.

Also, expanding on the comments about jobs - in some ways the more senior you are the less people judge you for tattoos and piercings. I know a very senior lawyer who still wears all his piercings now.


Karia · 08/04/2011 06:30

She'll be lucky to find someone who can perform a clavicle piercing, never mind would actually do it. The piercing goes behind the bone, it's horrendous, you can read about it here. Urgh!

Unless she's talking about a clavicle surface piercing. Which I hope she is Confused.


aviation · 08/04/2011 06:40

Agree, an intellectual approach, highlighting good and bad points of piercings, but just dont go on about the 'bad' ones too much! IMO one 'edgy' piercing can look great if it suits the face, lots can look a bit 'trying to hard' (it is after all, all about image!), perhaps a tack you could try??
Further issues to gently make her aware of - lots of my friends who had snake bite/tongue piercings formed habits of playing with their piercings with their tongue / chew inside of mouth etc. which IMO doesn't look very nice.
My DP was quite facially pierced when I met him - nose, eyebrow, ears, tongue. Tongue one he removed when the ball came loose and he swallowed it! but shortly after he was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in damage to his mouth, his tongue also got damaged and severley swelled up, (couldnt talk/eat properly for months)I shudder to think what might of happened had the piercing still been there. Made me aware its such an important part of you that you could be messing with...
I have a belly piercing and what I didnt realise at the time of piercing (which I do now!) is that piercings do 'travel' slightly if you have had them in a while, my belly piercing has a 5mm scar above it where it has sort of dropped down. DP has the same on his eyebrow - when you are young you don't see this as all your young friends haven't had their piercings long enough for a scar to develop.
Not all piercings 'take' , the body rejects some, so can be left with a scar which she might/might not mind.
Sorry if this doesnt help you feel much better but might be worth chatting about with her.
Please don't go down the 'mutilation' route though, its a sure fire way to wind her up as she doesn't see it that way.


BeeMyBaby · 08/04/2011 06:48

I agree with others that you don't need consent, I got my belly button pierced when I was 15 with no problems, and then pierced my ears 6 more times myself. My bf at the time, who was also 15, got his nipple done no problem. I doubt she would have any problem getting them done professionally if she really wanted, without your consent.


onceamai · 08/04/2011 07:00

Thank goodness my children go to schools where none of this would be allowed and none of their peers or their peers' parents have piercings, would want piercings or would ever approve of piercings. DD had her ears pierced at 10 and that was regarded as very avant garde by many of her friends and their parents at junior school. My children are aware they would be disinherited if they were to do any of the above and they also know it would restrict careers in law, banking, medicine and mainstream journalism and wouldn't in all probability go down too well at Russell Group University interviews.

I wouldn't allow a member of staff to come to work with anything other than earrings and a discreet nose stud and no staff are allowed to wear the sorts of piercings described above.

I feel for you OP and hope your daughter doesn't do this - certainly hope the NHS won't be picking up the bill for any individual who requires medical treatment as a result of infected piercings either. Wouldn't mind knowing what the infection rate is tbh.


KBlatherskite · 08/04/2011 07:14

I had my Belly button pierced, then my ears, tounge, eyebrow, tragus and labret - I loved them all but only have my ears and tragus now as I have removed the rest over the years.

The only scars I have are a permanent 'blackhead' in my lower lip from my labret and a stretched hole above my bellybutton due to the huge amount of stretching that occured during my pregnancies - but as the rest of my tummy streched too, that area doesn't get shown anymore so no-one ever sees. My eyebrow piercing 'travelled' (which I why I removed it) but none of the others ever did - and my belly button piercing was in for 13 years! None of them ever held me back in my professional career either!!

I'm so glad I chose piercings over tattoos. I cringe whenever I see a grown woman with Winnie the Pooh permanently grinning from her shoulder. At least with piercings, once you're done, they can removed leaving at worst a tiny scar.

Why not let her get something fairly unnoticable? - like the spetum piercing or tounge/tragus? - she might find the pain too much, it might reject and put her off...or she might love it and want more. Either way, it's ultimately her body and her choice. You'd be better off supporting her now so that she feels she can come to you in the future - so you can steer her away from the more damaging things eg stretching or dodgy piercers - otherwise she's going to end up doing it anyway but behind your back


Grumpla · 08/04/2011 07:23

Gosh, what a fuss!
I had my ears pierced at 13, couple more ear piercings at 14, nose at 15, tongue and small tattoo at 16.
I took out the top ear piercings as fed up with hairdressers snagging it, still have all the rest.

I do now wear a very small nose stud instead of a ring, mainly to prevent DS hoicking it out of nose.

I don't feel that anyone has ever 'judged' me for having a few extra bits of metal in my head and I have never had any health problems as a result.

It is your daughter's body to do with as she wishes, and I think the more you turn this into a control issue the more she will want to piss you off!

You can however encourage her to be responsible looking after all her piercings etc (and having them done at a reputable place!), why not arrange to go on a 'fact-finding' trip to parlor of her choice to research cost, supplies for cleaning etc. If you've already bandied terms like 'mutilation' about then a bit of damage control would be useful & prevent her from trying DIY / hiding it from you and not cleaning it properly. You might well find that she goes off the idea once it is less about her versus the world - or you might not, but at least she won't get septicemia!

If it makes you feel any better my mum has by now gotten used to my appearance, in fact she has decided that my sparkly nose stud "is quite pretty" now Smile


Bubbaluv · 08/04/2011 07:43

God, I dread having teenagers.
Good luck!


Meglet · 08/04/2011 07:59

Not while she's at school. A septum piercing can be well hidden though, I have a few friends who flick their piercing up inside their nostrils to hide it.

I chipped a tooth on my tongue stud and my navel and lip piercing holes have been out for years and haven't fully healed over.

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