Monday, December 15, 2014

Why I Let My 15 Year Old Pierce Her Nose

Yes, I allowed my 15 year old to get her nose pierced.

I most appreciate those people who look shocked and disdained and incredulous and ask if I would let her get a tattoo if she wanted one, because they let me explain WHY we allowed our 15 year old to get her nose pierced.  And no, I would not allow her to get a tattoo--that is something she will have to wait until she is an adult if she wants because they are permanent and difficult to remove if you change your mind.

Five years ago, when we first started homeschooling, we met another homeschool family and the mom had her nose pierced and Allie thought it was THE COOLEST thing.  She talked about it constantly.  She loved the way it looked.  She liked that it was different.  She felt, at ten, that this set a person apart: everyone could have their ears pierced, she said, but having your nose pierced told the world that you were different, you saw things differently, you didn't follow what everyone was doing, you did your own thing.

It was not right away, but eventually she asked when she could get her nose pierced.  At the time she was ten and five years was half her lifetime and it seemed pretty darn far away.  So, I said 15.  I really didn't give it much thought at all.  I don't know at the time if I thought she would forget about it, but she did not forget about it.  She talked about it quite often for the last FIVE YEARS.  She talked about what she would wear in her nose: a small stud or a hoop.  She researched nose piercings online.  She watched youtube videos on the care of nose piercings.  She learned all about all the different styles of nose piercing jewelry.  When she was about thirteen, she started saying, "Just two more years!"  Starting last summer, she started a countdown until she got her nose pierced.

I will be honest, Jason was not thrilled with my having told her she could do this when she was fifteen.  He thought I should have said 18, when she was an adult.  It was definitely something I should have discussed with him PRIOR to saying any age to her.  Sorry, honey.

But, as I told people on facebook who questioned why I allowed this, Allie is a good kid.  She hardly asks for anything.  This is something she has wanted for five years.  I had plenty of friends who had piercings when they were young and when they got serious jobs, they took the piercings out and over time the piercings closed up--it's not permanent, like a tattoo.

Also, and this is my biggest reason, my Nauna always said that if parents keep TOO CLOSE a reign on their kids, the kids get out in the world and go crazy.  My parents ALWAYS respected my brother and I.  They allowed us freedom and we knew that if we abused that freedom, we would lose their respect and the freedom, so we took it seriously because we respected our parents and we didn't want to lose their trust and respect.  My feeling is that I will allow this, because I have weighed the pros and cons and in the grand scheme, it's not that bad; I would rather a pierced nose than smoking cigarettes or drinking or using drugs or dressing in provocative clothing.  My belief, knowing my daughter as I do, is that if I were to say NO to something, she would respect that.

Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Stages, adolescence go through a period where they transition to adults, becoming more independent. Children NEED to make their own decisions and feel separate from their parents.  Pressuring an adolescent into an identity because it is what the parent desires establishes negative identity, unhappiness and rebellion.

Would I have chosen a nose piercing for Allie?  No.  And she knows that.  But my parenting style has always been Authoritative , establishing rules, but also listening to my girls thoughts and opinions about things because I feel that allowing them a say in things helps them to develop healthy decision making skills.  I have always been an assertive parent, but tried to not be intrusive and to allow my girls the freedom to express themselves separate from me because I think that will build the strongest relationship with them.

I am not trying to be a cool mom and while I do want to have a good relationship with my kids, I am not after trying to be their friend.  They respect me and I respect them.  I allowed Allie to get her nose pierced, but there are several things that her friends are permitted to do that I will not give her permission to do.  All of our kids are unique and individual and part of the job of a parent is to help the child make decisions that are best for them, not follow the crowd.