Different countries, different cultures, different rules?

c/o SuiciDeaDoll, these piercings are on a six year old, by Sylvahnna in Bikini Tattoo in Fuenlabrada (Madrid, Spain). If you had a child, what age would you permit them to get a piercing at if they seriously wanted it? At what age can they make the decision?

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

65 thoughts on “Different countries, different cultures, different rules?

  1. I plan to let my kids get whatever piercings they want when they’re old enough to take care of it (which would vary by child) and can help pay for it. Maybe I’d pay for the piercing, and they’d buy the jewelry or something similar.

  2. i dont think piercing ages are as big a deal as tattoo ages, because piercings are impermanent, and tattoos are permanent. as long as proper cleaning procedures are gone over, i dont see what the problem is.

    id make the kid pay for it though.

  3. People get their kids’ ears pierced when they’re as young as three or four years (although I doubt the kids asked for it), so other relatively safe (that is, easily maintained) piercings don’t seem any worse.

  4. I think that since it could well involve a permanent scar it’s better to wait until the person is old enough to handle that responsibly.

  5. three things:

    a) The child shows understanding of risks by explaining them in her/his own words to parent or piercer.

    b) The child’s physical and mental ability to care for the piercing without parental reminders is shown for a month prior with a “fake” (clip ons, drawings, dots, whatever that doesn’t break the skin) piercing in the place wanting to be pierced.

    c) Piercing will not interfere or potentially damage the child with the child’s regular/routine activities (sports, school, etc)

    d) The piercing will not grow out with child’s own growth or will not interfere with movement.

    e) Only “simple” and “low-risk” piercings such as earlobes, belly button, eyebrows and nostrils allowed.

    f) The child finds their own studio and piercer and is able to explain why they want them and show effective understanding of a “good” studio (autoclave and one-time use of needles, air filtration system, demonstration of aseptic techniques, etc) and a “good” piercer (i.e. portofolio characteristics and personal hygiene).

    Yeah, its alot to ask that from a kid, and I totally agree with helping them along to understanding and finding all these things, but unless they show all those abilities, my child will not be pierced until they are legally allowed. :D

    … and i’m still years away from even thinking of having a child. hahah

  6. IF I had kids, the rule would be 16 and they have to pay for it themselves. Anything younger than that and it doesn’t seem right.

  7. That’s a tricky question. The maturity of the child and the choice of piercing would be huge (and wildly varying) factors in the answer.

  8. It’s pretty amazing how aware a six year old can be.
    Although at that age I’d say the care of the piercing would be fully the parent’s responsibility.

  9. Well, I still think it would be the child’s responsibility to take care of the piercing, however, the parent should definitely keep a close eye on it as well (for obvious reasons). This way the child doesn’t have mommy or daddy doing it for them and can learn to take responsibility for themselves while knowing that a parent will step in if they need help. They need to learn somehow :)

  10. I agree with Amanda, granted the girl is WAY to young for the piercing, it looks super good on her.

  11. 13 at the least, due to maturing body.
    Even then, probably not until 16.

    I have reasons, you guys have heard them from eachother a thousand times.

    I’m 16 and I only have one set of gauged earlobe piercings, a septum ring, and a navel piercing.
    I want more, but I’m kinda glad my mom made me wait, ’cause I know a lot more about it, and I appreciate it more because it’s so hard to obtain.

  12. I wouldn’t let any of my kids have anything other than ears pierced until they were about 14 years of age.

  13. totally depends on the piercing and the child.. id probably do it similarly to the way my mom did, except a bit more lenient

    my mom decided to let me get a few piercings at various ages, all requireing different things for permission

    4/5- ear lobes
    12- 2nd holes
    13/14- cartlidge
    13/14- belly button
    14- tragus… sadly the dumb piercer said my ear was too small and she believed them over BME QOD, so i didnt get that one, but i had her permission before that
    15 (few months shy of 16)- nostril

    the main rule for all of them was it had to be something she thought was cute…i asked for a few others and got a big HELL NO THATS UGLY

    she handled it well except a few times she wouldnt believe facts even though i showed her a lot of proof

  14. She’s got two piercings, right? Madonna and eyebrow?

    I’d say too young, really… especially for oral piercings. Can she really be trusted to look after this? And kids get dirty, playing in mud and stuff, so I’d say her risks of infection are far higher than an adult.

    Kids that age rarely even look after pet goldfish, let alone themselves…

  15. Although its quite cute, I wouldn’t let my child be pierced at that age (including ear lobes, that every kid has). I want my kids to enjoy a carefree childhood, they can worry about big responsibilities like that and aesthetic qualities when theyre older. They can wear fake jewelery and temporary tattoos all they want, but it turns my stomach to see so many kids at my day camp with dyed/highlighted hair that something as extreme as a piercing would kill me.

    And to the people who say that something like a piercing isn’t permanent so its alright, ill gladly show the scars i have from an ear lobe piercing gone wrong and a migrating eyebrow piercing, you cant go into ANY mod without understanding that it MAY leave a mark for the rest of your life.

  16. I have always wondered about this myself

    When I think back to when I wanted my first non lobe piercing. And I was about 9ish? I think I would let my child have ear piercings and nothing more until about the age 12-14. I think then I would be happier about it. But I suppose it also depends on the child and how much they wanted it piercing and why they wanted it doing. If it’s to follow a fashion then I don’t know what I would think.

  17. Her madonna looks really cute on her.

    Regards to age I was 13 when I pierced my bottom lip, I didn’t get it done professionally which was stupid I admit about ten weeks ago I got my madonna pierced at 15.
    The thirteen year olds I know personally now I don’t think would really know how to manage a piercing or what to do if it infected. Three girls I know with their tounges pierced all got them at 14.
    LeaveThePoliticsToMadmen made some good points about the understanding.
    Its really up to the individual but really I think 16 is a good age, you can pay for it yourself and take the responsibility for it if it something goes unaccordingly.
    Roll on november for me.

  18. e) Only “simpleâ€? and “low-riskâ€? piercings such as earlobes, belly button, eyebrows and nostrils allowed.

    I had to remove my navel and nostril piercings. I don’t think they’re especially easy.

  19. i think if your able to pay for a modification,wholey or in part,by yourself that that’s when you are ready to get a modification.

    i only say this because it took me having a job to realize how hard it is to save money,and how much responsibility it takes to successfully balance your money between your wants and needs-maybe that was just my parents who let me learn that spending unwisely get you in some tough situations:/.but hey,my mom got my sister’s ears pierced when my sister was only a few months old,and let me get my ears pierced(at the mall!) at 12,so i guess it’s really up to what the parent thinks is cool for there children.

  20. I think as society (hopefully) matures, children will also mature at younger and younger ages. If a child is able to take on various other responsibilities such as caring for another human being (babysitting), I think that caring for a part of their own body (a piercing) is not completely unreasonable.

  21. I’m still undecided … I’m not sure if one should be at the ‘legal age’ stated under government law or what … I’ll get back to you. :)

  22. Well.. if they realllllllly wanted it and knew the risks and everything. I’d make them wait a bit to make sure and everything.

    But oh my god what a cutie she is!!

  23. I think some Childs are mucho more responsables and matures than any teenager…

  24. I was about 13/14 when I had my first non-lobe piercings, and had to take them out for school. However I’m glad, because I wouldn’t find them aesthetically pleasing anymore. They have left small scars. No regrets though. I think that since what children or even teenagers want or like changes dramatically, piercings are best left until a little older, or old enough to realise that there may be scars, and be ok with that.

    Also, for me at least, piercings can be very sexual, even simple labrets or belly buttons, so I would not allow a child of mine to have any until they were teenagers.

    Incidentally, I decided when I was seven to get my septum pierced one day, and waiting ten years made me appreciate it more.

  25. Aqui un pequeño ejemplo de lo que pasa en el mundo del piercing español, se antepone el dinero a la etica y a la salud de la gente.Piercers asi hacen que nuestro trabajo cada dia sea menos respetado, GRACIAS BIKINI……

  26. I am split on the whether I think this is right or not.

    On the the scar issue, I don’t think it is to big of a deal… most kids have bigger scars from fallign off thier bikes and out of trees and from running around being a kid. Scars are unpreventable they document your childhood very well.

    I think that if the kid is capable of taking care of the piercing then maybe. There are quite a few six year ods who are 20 times more mature then some people I know. I agree with whatLeaveThePoliticsToMadmen said they should be able to say and know about what they want. I don think there should be limitations on what is allowed to be done and as long it does not affect nature growth of the area.

    I do know that if I kid wants something bad enough they will find a way to get it no matter if its a new toy or a piercing.

  27. I have two boys who as toddlers got one ear done(husband’s restriction) but when my oldest turned 6 he got the other ear done. My youngest is 5 and still only has one ear done. He is waiting until we find a piercer who will pierce his ears the right way. My oldest wanted to stretch his lobes but after him doing his own research both on BME and other sites he changed his mind for now. He is 10 yrs old. It is damn hard to find a piercer who will pierce just their ears.
    It totally is an individual deal when it comes to age and child and doing piercings.
    Just remember what those who dont have kids say now can change dramatically once one does have kids.

  28. Emotionally mature and physically mature are two very different things. At six, a child still has so much growing to do. Physical growth spurts in a child can be hard to predict. Emotionally, kids need time to figure out who they are and what they want and that can often change.

    I guess it’s strange to me because I see mods as acts of self-expression, part of growing up. On kids so young it seems like it precedes growing up.

    Personally, I would make my child wait. I would be questioning why she really wants them. Kids learn from play and some little girls like to play dress-up. Does she want them for herself or is she trying to emulate someone? It would seem selfish of me to let my daughter get pierced if she only wanted them to look more like mommy. Maybe that’s not the case with this little girl; regardless, I hope both the child and parent understand proper care, risk of infection, and potential for scarring. Also, I’d be concerned about any type of oral piercing on a six-year-old. Isn’t six around the age when many start losing baby teeth, growing permanent ones and their gums are really tender? It might not have any impact at all I don’t know. It looks cute but six is too young. Why do kids want to grow up so fast?

  29. my veiw on letting children get piercings is whenever they are old enough to understand what the piercing involves, that they undertand they have to take care of it, ect.

    10 is about the age were I think most children can understand this.
    I know maney 9 -12 years olds who understand how to take care of things. If a 9 year old can care for a ear lobe piercing they can care for other piercings.

    Now what i dont like is parents piercing there girls ears when they are babys. I think they should wait untill the child wants the piercings instead off just doing it when they are little

    now this is just my opinion =)

  30. I was 13 years old, when I got my first proper piercing, a Labret… then at 14 years old I got my eyebrow pierced, 15 years old my right lip and then at 16 years old I got my tongue pierced..

    I paid for my own piercings, That was my mothers only request and also that I looked after it… I orginally wanted my tongue pierced at 13, but my mother didn’t think I was mature enough/old enough to get it done until I was 16. I got it pierced on my 16th Birthday.

    I don’t think that letting a 6 year old get body piercings is very good, but it isn’t really up to me

  31. Since I don’t know this child, or her parents, or her reasoning for getting them, I can’t judge her. If it were my daughter I would say no. At 9 I do not believe she is old enough or mature enough for a piercing. I have told her that if she were to want one when she is older then 16 we can talk. I might change my mind in two years from now, I might not. I think each person and each piercing is an individual thing and you can’t just take age into account.

  32. My mother made me wait until I was 18 before she wanted me to get a piercing. My friend had her ears pierced at about 3 months, and she ended up taking them out because she didn’t want them. I think that a child has to be mature enough to know the risks that they are taking with their body, and what the proper aftercare procedures are, etc. The age I would let my child get a piercing would be 16, provided that they can show information about the piercing and knowledge of aftercare. Any younger than that, I feel that kids won’t feel enough responsibilty to clean or care for the piercing. But this is just my opinion, and every child is different.

  33. i am 20 and still not “allowed” to be visibly pierced as long as i live with my parents. they have freaked out enough about my lobe piercings.

    that said, i think 18 is a good standby. legal adulthood in the USA. i know a lot of younger kids who are tattooed and pierced, but i guess i feel like with permanent decisions, it’s worth the wait. most underage kids i know who have gotten work done have had nightmarish experiences with poor quality ink, cheap jewelry, etc. if you really want something, the wait until you are 18 should be okay. if you still want it when you are legal, great.

    i wish my mother hadn’t let me get my ears “pierced” when i was 7– by a piercing gun at the mall. i wish i had been able to make that decision myself, as an adult with knowledge of my options.

  34. i would let them do it probably once they hit their teen years if they were really serious and not being dumb kids.though id more than likely wait until 16 or so no teachers call the cops and i get in trouble for being a bad parent blah blah blah.

  35. id like to add that if the law isnt there then they could probably get them as they hit teen years. I consider that a possibility because i am hoping to move out of the US in a year or two. (or three if i cant get my act together)

  36. This argument consistently brings to mind, well my mind, pictures and stories from ancient and indiginous cultures; those cultures where these rites began. In settings which are considerably less sterile, as well as considerably less resitrictive where modification is concerned, piercings of various ‘risks’ are performed at ages younger than the individual in the photo. My suspicion is that very few disasterous things have occured in these cases, and much is gained in the social and spiritual development of the child.

    Age of consent for modification is purely a (western) cultural phenomenon and as such we often forget that consent is often not elicited from children in most countries of the world, and this is not always a bad thing. If we resided in a society where modification is the norm and we were all raised being aware of the social and spiritual status of such practices, I’m not so sure this argument would be happening.

    Consent and care are the words repeated over and over in previous comments, but what I haven’t heard is any concern about (perhaps) what these piercings mean to the child in terms of self esteem and possibly self worth. Piercing a child is not disasterous and has historically been performed for centuries with great benefit.

  37. For me, ability of my child to care for the piercing, research, and know about it is the least of my concerns. A lot of children research, save money, and take care of the neighbor’s pet to show that they can handle a pet… and when they get it they enjoy it for the first week until something new comes up and mom takes care of it after that. Its really common.

    The biggest issue I see is how other people view this child. I really wouldn’t want my child to be considered more grown up, or like she is trying to be more grown up for the big things like getting raped, to the little things like having a lot of older friends who bring in things like sex and drugs when she is only six. I totally believe that kids need to know and understand these things, but I want to be the one to tell them and decide what they are mature enough to know and what not to know. They should just enjoy being kids while they can.

    I just think piercings bring to boys and girls attention that they don’t need at such a young age. They should still only be worried about playing, and not about their looks, not about being supercool. Once they get that piercing then what? everybody will say something, and they will be very very aware of their looks. They will get the “why did you do that to yourself?” and the “oh that is so cool”… neither of which they need. Theyre fucking kids.

    They have forever to be adult, but only a few years where people won’t judge them for not having their hair done and not having cool clothes.

  38. I’d wanted my nose pierced for a very long time, and my mom wouldn’t let me. So, when I was eleven years old I took the bus alone down to a jewellery shop in an incredibly bad part of town and got my nostril gunned.

    By my fifteenth birthday, I’d had over twenty piercings, about half done at THE WORST studio in town, because they were the only one that would pierce me. The other half; safety pins, sewing needles… you know the deal.

    So, which do you think is healthier?
    A kid to have parental consent and be able to go to a clean studio with good piercers…
    Or a kid without parental consent to be risking infections, nerve damage, (yes, that did come up in my early teenage experience) shattered cartilidge and hepatitis?

    I am living proof that if a kid wants something they can’t have badly enough, THEY WILL GET IT.

  39. Kids actually do judge based on looks and it starts early as young as elementary school with what I have seen. Of course it doesnt stop at kids judging each others looks adults will judge kids looks as well. Sad but true.

  40. In Spain they are way more lenient than in other places. The common norm for females is when you are 3 days old or such to get your lobes pierced with a sewing needle and thread. Usually an aunt or grandma or a family friend. It does not surpise me to see those piercings at such a young age in Spain. I don’t agree with it mainly in the sense that it could cause injuries when playing, etc. In regards to keeping it clean and healthy, its the same as the lobes – the mothers do it.

    But then again, I think that as tattoos/piercings have become more mainstream, the age will start to get younger and younger. A natural progression of things I recon.

  41. I decided to check back with this post and I read what Aliera said and I agreed.

    I was ALWAYS a shy child. I also remember getting my first piercing when i was in jr. high and that changing. It was a tongue piercing, and I felt great about it. I didn’t flaunt it, nor did I hide it. It was just part of me and if you saw it great if you didnt that was great to. This whole fact made me come out of my shell I hid in. My self confidence grew a ton. I would smile at strangers, compliment people, most importantly I would talk. If I wouldn’t have gotten that piercing back then I wouldn’t be who I am now. If a child has a self confidence issue like I did then yes with proper understanding of it the child should be allowed to get it if it is in a reasonable realm.

    I also agree with afk that if a child wants it they will do it. I have had many friends get piercings that didn’t turn out well because they did it themselves and had lack of knowledge. Mine always looked great, well placed etc. because my mom understood my self esteem problems and say the difference that one piece of metal made, so if I really wanted something, I had to research it and prove to her my knowledge on it by giving a mini report, then she would let me get it done. I would much rather have a child understand what they are doing to thier body, have it done professionally and not have to hide it from me, the to have it cheaply done with poor material, not knowing what the effects might be and them having to be all sneaky.

  42. the “if kids want it, they’ll get it” argument seems a bit silly to me. If a kid goes against their parents wishes, risks infection and all sorts of other damage by getting it done at a studio that doesn’t care, or just sticks a needle though themselves, then I doubt they have the maturity to take proper care of it or deal with the negative attention it might bring.

  43. from my point of view piercings and most forms of modification have something to do with feeling beautifull/atractiv/sexual atractiv and i think a six year old girl shouldnt worry about things like that.i think puberty brings sexuality brings modification and not earlier!

  44. I agree with many of the above about “when the kid can take care of it”.

    But using age alone as the rule doesn’t make sense. Other factors should include why the child wants it: their level of understanding of the modification; willingness to pay for it (even if I were to choose to not make them pay in the end); where they want it; and more.

    I had my first single ear lobe piercing when I was 13 or so… and at the time, it was still concidered odd for a boy. My dad’s air force buds gave him shit for it and I’m sure you can muster up some ideas of what others my age had to say… those who weren’t cool with it.

    I didn’t do my second left hole until I was 18 or 19 I think.

    On the cultural note, it’s most definitely not my place to comment on the mod practices of another culture. I believe I’m a more evolved american than that. :)

    But I don’t have a child yet… I don’t know what I’ll do for certain.

  45. My parents would not allow even an ear piercing until I turned 12. That was my birthday present. I was limited at only a few ear piercings until I turned 18. The age where I could legally sign for myself to get more modifications. I believe that my parents were truly reasonable with that. After the age of 18, I could not blame them later by saying, “why did you let me do something like that?!” By making me wait until I was 18, that made me and only me responsible.
    So, when and if I have kids, it will probably be the same deal.

  46. Pingback: Awesome body mods » laurganism.com > I Flail at Life [blogging since 1996]

  47. Man i want an eyebrow ring soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad but im scared itll migrate

  48. You gotta consider other cultures that pierce and tattoo young children as a rite of passage. I don’t consider it immoral or irresponsible, if the child understands the risks and responsibility involved.

  49. I don’t mind the idea that she has piercings, but to me and eyebrow and a monroe seem like bad ideas as a child. The eyebrow would probably reject as she grows and gets older, and well, an oral piercing when you’re six seems impossible to care for. But if I saw the parents and the child, I wouldn’t yell at them, I’d think it’s adorable. I’m not even sixteen yet and I’ve had about a dozen piercings. Seven lobe piercings at age 14; Five removed, two being stretched. And also at 14 my Lip twice, septum, and an antieyebrow. And 15 a labet. So I don’t think age is a big deal. As long as you know what you’re doing to your body, and know how to take care of it, it’s all fine and dandy. But I will stick with being six is far too young for those piercings.

  50. i think that kids sould be able to make their own decisions seeing as they will learn from their own mistakes. let them learn for themselves what they actually do and do not want. if they want a piercing. it is better to let them get it while their younger (15 years old) so they can get it out of their system and once they get older, they may not want it anymore or may not think that its cool anymore. and by then, they will have to get a job… i mean a job that will last them for the rest of their lives. and who cares. u could take the piercing out if u were going anywhere that important. i think that some parents just dont want to let their kids get a piercing because they are afraid of what their friends/co workers/family might say about it and will critisize you for it and make u look bad. thats rediculous. its not your body. its your childs. and like i said. i think thhat the kids should learn from their own mistakes.

  51. i think that kids sould be able to make their own decisions seeing as they will learn from their own mistakes. let them learn for themselves what they actually do and do not want. if they want a piercing. it is better to let them get it while their younger (15 years old) so they can get it out of their system and once they get older, they may not want it anymore or may not think that its cool anymore. and by then, they will have to get a job… i mean a job that will last them for the rest of their lives. and who cares. u could take the piercing out if u were going anywhere that important. i think that some parents just dont want to let their kids get a piercing because they are afraid of what their friends/co workers/family might say about it and will critisize you for it and make u look bad. thats rediculous. its not your body. its your childs. and like i said. i think thhat the kids should learn from their own mistakes.

  52. Lo mas interesante, es que esta chica(sylvahna) no posee un equilibrio adecuado de sus facultades mentales, por lo tanto la irresponsabilidad total viene de parte de los padres.
    Es mas esta chica tiene sida por lo que no se lo que hace trabajando en un estudio haciendo ciertos trabajos.

  53. Mira “Marta”, me parece muy estupido tu comentario, no se quien eres, y punto numero uno, lo del sida me parece que te lo has inventado, porque me hago la prueba cada año dos veces, tengo papeles que lo demuestran. Si me conoces acaso para decir algo sobre mi mente dime quien eres porque creo que no tienes ni idea y simplemente seras un intento de algo sin sentido. Esta niña, como toda su familia eran mis clientes habituales y estoy muy orgullosa de la foto como de mi trabajo. Espero tu respuesta “Marta”.

  54. I think the children needs freedom they can do every thing but under the parents restraction blew 18 year old

  55. I think piercings on kids are fine if they want it and are able to take care of the piercing. Having said that, I’d like to add my thoughts about safe piercings. I think for kids a larger gauge ear piercing (perhaps 12ga to 2 ga) is safer since it is less likely to get torn or ripped. I shudder at the thought of kids with hair-thin dangling wires in their ears which are prone to ripping.
    Also kids get dirty very quickly so piercings that are exposed to the surface are prone to infection. I think that ears and tongues (maybe even nipples and navels) are OK for younger kids but nostrils, eyebrows, and other facial piercings are not.

  56. i got my labret piercing when i was 12 but i wanted 1 when i was like 10 im 15 now and i have 5 piercings and 00 ears i think it all depends on maturity

  57. i am 18 years old, and i live in phoenix arizona. i my opinion i think that a child should be able to make decisions about their appearance as soon as they can do so rationally. whether it is about a peircing, down to the books they read and the style of clothes they wear. i persons personality dovelops based on their freedom and the things they are surrounded by. as for the opinion that a child will do what they want anyway, my parents came to terms with that when they found out i did my own prince albert at 16.

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