HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

Teens & Body Piercings


Mark,

Could you please give me some advice on how to deal with my 14 year old daughter who continues to pierce herself. She has already pierced her own belly button, and then about 3 weeks ago pierced the top of her hand, Now today she self pierced her lip. I told her to take it out or she would be grounded from her cell phone. She did eventually take it out, but I need to know to better deal with this.

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Body piercings (not tattoos though) fall into the “pick-your-battles-carefully” category. I’m sure you have bigger fish to fry than worrying about a piercing. Save your energy for the more important issues. A body piercing is not really a behavioral issue per say (such as skipping school, violating curfew, drinking alcohol, etc.). As long as it is not done excessively (we can talk about what would be excessive some other time), a piercing should be allowed for a 14-year-old -- but it should be earned!

I know you can have the child take the ring or stud out of their skin – but this does not stop them from getting a piercing in the first place (they just don’t wear it when they are around the parent).

Don’t get into a power struggle that you cannot win.

Why permit a piercing but not a tattoo?

A child can simply remove the ring or stud if she does not want to wear it anymore (the scar heals up). But a tattoo is permanent. If a child wants a tattoo, she can get one when she turns 18.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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