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Pet Peeve #84

I tend to dislike parents who pierce their infant's ears.

Explain to me why they can't allow their child to have some say-so over his, or, in most cases, her, body? Maybe he or she doesn't want pierced ears. What on earth would it hurt to wait until the child is old enough to make an autonomous decision? Even if the individual opts to let them heal over, there's still scar tissue there that didn't have to exist.

Outside of the ethical issues, why open your child up to the possibility of contact dermatitis, keloid formation, or possibly swallowing the earring? Don't babies have enough stuff to get through already? And I've read that infants have greater risk because their immune systems aren't fully developed yet.

I'm aware of the Hindu tradition on this, but on this one, I think practicality and the well-being of the child should take precedence over religious belief. Just because an action is steeped in tradition does not make it a just action. Sometimes tradition needs a swift kick in the butt with the boot of informed consent.

I say this as someone who made the conscious decision to get her ears pierced at around age 14 or so. The other immediate female members of my family do not have pierced ears. I think my mother was very wise to make me wait.

Comments

epicureanangel
Oct. 13th, 2005 01:38 am (UTC)
I got my ears pierced around the same age as you, and it was also my choice.

The only other reason that I've heard for doing it for a child was to spare them the pain of it when they're an adult. I did throw up after the procedure from a reaction to the pain, but it really wasn't so permanently traumatic that it required performing the procedure on a child who may not want it as an adult.
sailormur
Oct. 13th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC)
I think there are a lot of reasons. Kids, while having weaker immune systems, heal a LOT faster when they're babies. It's astonishing. Again, it's a pain they're not going to remember. I had mine done with I was 12, and my mom refused to go to a place with a gun so she asked my very bemused pediatrician to do it with syringe needles. I needed to lie down halfway through because the pain was making me faint. (My friend had to leave the room cause she didn't like seeing me with needles through my ears.) Also, there's the reason why people dress their children in designer clothes that the kids are going to ruin or grow out of, the reason they do their hair in a 'do that the kid will pull out immediately, and the reason they put babies in dresses. They think it looks good.

note that I haven't pierced my daughter's ears.
pointedview
Oct. 13th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC)
Okay, they heal faster, but why inflict something they have to heal from at all? And the hairdo and designer dresses don't generally pose a risk of infection or draw blood (unless the dress happens to be one of Jean-Paul Gaultier's spikier creations).

I just . . . if I had a child, I would respect his or her right to choose enough to outweigh my own preferences about appearance on something like that.
sailormur
Oct. 13th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC)
oh I'm not on their side, I'm with you. It's all her choice. There are people who do things, or don't do things, to their kids that I just don't understand. But lots of people are concerned - very concerned - with how their kids look. A VP at my former company would have his wife come by and show off how their infant son wore the same clothes as daddy. I wondered where they shopped and if it would be OK if I firebombed the place.
pointedview
Oct. 13th, 2005 02:19 am (UTC)
*laughs!* If you do firebomb the place, I promise I won't report ya. :)

Speaking of kids, did you read this?

Maybe they misunderstood the whole "It takes a village" concept and decided that it meant they needed to create a village of their own. :)

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