I’m a fairly open-minded person. But when my teenage daughter asked permission to get piercing, in addition to her earlobes, I got worried. Deep breathes, I told myself. Deep breaths!
My mind reeled for a bit as I wondered: What body part does she want pierced now … and what does she want to put in that piercing? Does she want to have a two-ounce fishing weight dangling from her nose?
I mean, I want her to feel free to express herself. But some of the large items some teens and some adults are choosing to display from their pierced body parts … well, it’s just too … uh, much … particularly for teenagers who are making uninformed decisions often based on fads and fashions.
Hearing that my daughter wanted to get a second piercing in each of her earlobes – and all she wanted were small stud earrings to wear there – was such a relief! I didn’t feel there was a reason to deny her reasonable and respectfully made request. She even saved up money from her part-time job in case I said yes. So, we are going together for her piercing and to shop for her new pair of earring studs in a few weeks.
But this whole thing had me thinking about the years to come. There are several years to go before my daughter turns 18 and can make these decisions herself. How am I going to manage her jewelry choices in the meantime?
I’ve got a few good things going for me: My daughter still cares what I think. She respects me and my opinions – yet she is her own person. We have a good relationship and we have fun together – yet she understands that I am her mother first and foremost. Given all that, we have an open line of communication. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good. Also, she apparently listened when her father and I talked with her about self-respect and decency.
With such a strong foundation in place, we can build on that when it comes to jewelry management. I came up with a few ideas for keeping a teenager’s jewelry choices in check.
1. Allow her jewelry some choices, with an eye on age-appropriateness. But set limits – especially if she’s in her early teens, when she could be much more susceptible to what others are doing and wanting to fit in with her peers. Allow her even more choices as she gets older, if she asks for more choices.
2. Be flexible. Times have changed and continue to change. There was a time when a second piercing in an earlobe was considered to be scandalous and downright un-ladylike. These days, I see grandmothers sporting several piercings and earrings in one ear. My point is that what was unacceptable when we mothers were teens is perfectly okay by society’s standards today.
If your daughter wants to know why you object to certain pieces of jewelry or piercings, explain your reasons to her. Yes, “because I said so” can be sufficient. But if you want her to talk to you about what’s going on with her, it would bode well for you to share some things with her. This will go a long way toward keeping the lines of communication as open as possible between mother and daughter. As a parent, you set the pace.
Plus, talking with your daughter about your reasons for objecting could encourage her to use critical thinking skills when it comes to decision-making.
3. If she insists on having a piece of jewelry or a piercing that is on your no-no list, have her do two things. First, she should do some research. Are there health issues, such as high probability for infections, associated with her choice? What is the cost of this? What has to be done to maintain the piercing or jewelry? Can she handle the pain? Then, have her present all of this to you, along with a summary of why she wants this.
4. Be fair, and make your decision from there. Unless you make are the sole decision-maker on these matters for your child, consult your daughter’s father. Seek advice from your mother, sister, friend, or other valued person in your life. Keep in mind that, in the end, the decision rests with the parent (or parents) of a minor.
5. Once you’ve found a middle ground on what she wants and what you will permit her to have, go shopping together. In fact, make jewelry shopping a thing you do together, as a mother-and-daughter sort of mini-tradition. That may be tough to do all the time. There will be times when you can’t be there, like when she’s shopping with her friends as she gets older. But what she experiences when you two shop together will likely stay with her when she’s shopping without you. She is likely to stick to your rules and may have grown an attraction to types of jewelry you deem to be age-appropriate.
Now, I just recently came up with these tips. So far, so good with me and my teenage daughter. I did talk to several mothers who have already been through this with their teens and they said I’m definitely on the right track. So, adjust these tips as necessary to fit your family situation.
Also, talk with your spouse, anyone who is helping you raise your daughter, to make sure you are all on the same page regarding jewelry choices and piercings, and take time to check out some age-appropriate jewelry choices from online sites like In Season Jewelry. For that matter, speak to any adult in your family whose opinions have some sway with your daughter. Yes, the parents make the final decision on things like this. But it couldn’t hurt to have some reinforcement help every now and then.
We could probably apply these tips to other thorny issues that our teen daughters may come up with … like tattoos. Wait? Did I just mention tattoos? Deep breaths! Deep breaths!