Should I Allow My Teen To Get a Nose Piercing?

How Parents Can Talk Their Teen Out of Body Piercings

teen with nose piercing
Danni Ribeiro - Brazil/Moment Open/Getty Images

Teenagers want to be individuals. As they begin to explore their unique identity, parents face some difficult decisions. One of those may be whether or not to give your teen permission to get a body piercing.

Should you let your 15-year-old daughter get a nose piercing? Is it okay for your teen son to get a plug in his ear? What about a tongue, lip or eyebrow piercings? These are all tricky questions and ones that parents need to consider and approach carefully.

At What Age Can My Teen Get a Piercing?

In many states, piercing a minor is illegal or a parent's permission (and sometimes presence) is required. The age limits for piercing vary by state (and sometimes municipality) be sure to check on your local laws.

You can also call a reputable piercing parlor in your area and ask them. They will be happy to tell you what your teen can and cannot do and often have great respect for the permanency of their artform.

Why Do Teens Want Body Piercings?

There are many reasons why teenagers may come to you asking if they can get a nose piercing or some other piercing on their body.

  • They may think it is cool.
  • Their friends have a piercing.
  • They feel it represents their identity.
  • They want to express their individual style.

No matter which way you are leaning on this decision, it is important to know why your teen wants a piercing. This will help you in your argument against it or explain to them why it might not be a good idea.

Reasons Why Teens Should Not Get Piercings

Teenagers are still developing and what they like today may not be what they are into tomorrow. This is the fundamental reason why most parents are against piercings.

Most piercings are not as permanent as other body art. Tattoos are forever, as are brandings, scarrings, and other skin body modifications.

However, depending on the piercing, it can leave a permanent mark.

  • Nose and eyebrow piercings tend to leave a small mark, even after the hole closes up. Some piercing holes never close.
  • Earplugs will stretch the ear lobe and permanently disfigure the ear (it is not the same as an ear piercing, no matter how small the gauge!).
  • Tongue and lip piercings can not only cause permanent holes but are also more prone to infections that can lead to lasting scars.

Parent Tip: What is a Gauge or Earplug? 

An ear plug is an alternative to the traditional ear piercing. It inserts a small cylinder into the piercing hole that stretches the earlobe. Plugs come in different sizes called 'gauges' and can be very small or very large. Unlike a standard piercing, the stretched lobe will not close over time and will require surgery to correct. It is as permanent as a tattoo.

It's a Permanent Change

Teens are not known for their ability to make sound decisions and do not see the long-term effects of their actions. This is why parents are there to help guide them through these important choices.

Any body modification, piercings included, is a permanent decision and one that the person needs to be ready to live with for their entire life. It is a decision that should not be taken lightly or made on a whim. Even adults who are considering tattoos have to consider the consequences of their choices.

Teens need to understand this reality. It is not the same as dying your hair blue, it is forever! Explain this to your teen.

Also, if you are considering giving them permission, think about whether this is just another fad or phase they are going through. Will they be over it tomorrow or next month? In all likelihood, they will.

Future Job Prospects

One of the biggest concerns for anyone considering body piercings or modifications is their future in the job market. Tattoos and piercings are becoming more widely accepted but that does not mean that every employer accepts it.

Many employers still consider visible piercings and tattoos when they are looking for new employees. They may pass up a well-qualified candidate on this fact alone. That is another reality that your teen needs to realize.

It may not affect their chances at getting an after school job. It could affect their hiring potential when they enter the job market after college.

How To Talk Your Teen Out of a Body Piercing

You may have your mind made up and decided not to give your teen permission to get that piercing they are asking for. The issue now is how to tell your teen without the discussion exploding into an argument.

  • Sit down and have a calm conversation with your teen.
  • Begin by asking why they want the piercing and listen to them.
  • Tell them that you understand their desire.
  • Calmly explain why you feel it is not in their best interest and use some of the points above to make your case.
  • Include your concern over their future without blatantly saying "There is no way I am going to let you get a piercing!"
  • Tell them that while you understand that this is what they want now, you know they will change their mind. 
  • Use an example of a decision you made (or didn't) as a teen and why you are now happy that your parents stopped you. Laugh about it!
  • Be sure to tell them that if they still want the piercing when they are an adult, they can make that choice and that you hope they will always remember this conversation.

Not every teen is going to be receptive to this approach and they may be angry with you for days. The important part is that you laid out the case for saying no and, hopefully, have saved them from a life choice they will regret.

Give Them an Alternative

Another good approach for the teen that wants to explore their individuality is to get them involved in an activity that lets them do that. Art classes, music lessons, anything that allows them to be creative and expressive is a healthier option.

Continue Reading