It’s no secret, parenting is tough. There are so many things to consider and amongst them being what is the right age to allow them certain freedoms. When to get their ears pierced. When they can wear makeup. When can you leave them home alone? What age can they start dating? This is just to name a few of the what age is right?
So I’m going to try to answer that question for you. Basically it boils down to there’s no one right answer. Every child is different after all. But it’s more complicated than that and each has its own thing to take into consideration.
When To Allow Piercings
I know some people just do this when their daughter is a baby. And some people completely disagree with that. I’m one of them, but I have plenty of friends and family who feel that it’s best to do it as a baby. It makes them look more girly or what have you. And that’s completely fine.
My feeling is (and this might be because this was how it was done for me) is it takes responsibility to take care of earrings. There’s enough to do with a newborn I didn’t want to add in the care of freshly pierced ears. Quite frankly with my daughters I just never wanted to deal with it at all. So the rule in our house is when you can show us you can handle the responsibility you can have your ears pierced.
My oldest got her ears pierced as part of her 9th birthday. That also happened to be the same age I was when I got my ears pierced. I had it done a few weeks before her birthday so the starter earrings could come out on her birthday and everyone got her earrings for her birthday that year.
However, my middle daughter still does not have her ears pierced. She’s 10. She had been saying that she didn’t even want her ears pierced, but I wasn’t going to allow it anyways because she loses everything. She also needs constant reminding to do basic personal care like brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, and taking her asthma medication. If she can’t do that without constant reminding, then how will she take care of earrings and not lose every pair she has. Now she’s starting to want her ears pierced though so she’s trying harder to show me that she can handle the responsibility. Perhaps this will be something she gets for her 11th birthday. We’ll see.
Now I just want to say this is my opinion on basic ear piercings. I don’t think we should allow anything more than that until about 16. I was discussing consenting for tattoos and piercings before the age of 18. There is no way no matter how mature my children are I will consent to a tattoo. Yes, I have tattoos, yes my husband has tattoos. This isn’t about being a hypocrite. Both of us had to wait until we were of legal age to get tattoos. If my 16 year old wants a tattoo at 16, then waiting 2 years shouldn’t be that big of a deal. My kids all want tattoos and they all know they are welcome to get them once they are 18 and no longer need parental consent, that they are fine with.
Body piercings is a little different though. That’s not permanent. And it can be removed for certain occasions. I would rather my children come to me about a piercing than go and do it on their own. But any extra holes besides the typical one earring in each ear will be discussed first and there will be conditions on my signing for them. If I don’t want that nose ring worn for the family portrait or at the family wedding, then they need to respect that and remove it for the day. If they can’t agree to that, then they aren’t ready for that piercing.
The Right Age For Makeup
I actually haven’t allowed my girls to wear makeup yet aside from for recitals or dress up around the house. I hadn’t even given much thought to when I would allow that to happen. I have been putting a little eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss on my girls since they were little just for fun. But daily makeup wearing hasn’t even come up in our house.
That might be because I don’t wear makeup. Seriously, I never wear makeup it’s only for special occasions. A friend whom I have known since our oldest daughters were babies (both born in 1999) allows both of her daughters to wear makeup already. Her oldest isn’t even 13 yet and her second just turned 11. I must admit I’m always taken aback when I see pictures of her beautiful daughters in makeup. They just look so grown up. Our daughters are around the same age.
For this one I actually took to my Facebook fan page to ask others what they thought about girls wearing makeup. For the most part everyone’s feelings were 13 and older for makeup and there were a few good suggestions on there. Hiring someone to come and show your young teenage daughter how to apply makeup to look natural. I like that idea and I seriously think I will do that for my girls when the time comes.
My thirteen year old has not asked to wear makeup yet. I will not be pushing that either. When she begins to show an interest in makeup we will talk about it and I will make sure that she learns how to properly apply it so she looks her age and not older. If my 10 year old starts asking to wear makeup at this point in time I will probably tell her that we’ll have to wait a few years and revisit it then.
Leaving Them Home Alone
I have been doing this with my 13 year old for a few years now. When she started middle school we got her her own key so she could get in if for some reason I was not home when she got home from school. It’s not for long, maybe an hour at most. I have left my oldest home with her 10 year old sister and 4 year old brother before too. Once she was left with her baby sister for an hour.
This one you need to check your state laws for. It was relatively vague here from what I remember. Kind of a you need to decide if your child is responsible enough to handle being left home alone. We gave her rules like don’t answer the door for anyone. Do not touch the stove. Do not leave the house. Homework is to be done before TV is turned on. And we of course went over safety numbers and who to call if there’s an emergency.
I honestly wouldn’t do it before 11. I know I was 10 when my parents gave me a key to the house, but I also had an older brother. So he was home when I got home. My 10 year old daughter’s best friend does let herself into the house by herself though. I am sure her parents took plenty of precautions and she’s a good girl anyways. So you just have to look at your circumstances. The things your child can handle. If you have someone close by who can check in on your child if you are going to be leaving him alone for more than say an hour.
While my oldest is old enough to babysit I have never left her with her 3 younger siblings at once. I feel that’s too much for her to handle. One maybe two of them at a time, but that has only been within the last few months and it’s never for more than an hour.
Here’s another one that hasn’t come up in our house just yet. However, my oldest has friends who have boyfriends so I’m a little surprised that she hasn’t started to show more of an interest in boys. I’ll take it though. My husband was telling me that someone he works with, who’s very down on her luck right now, has a 12 year old daughter who has a boyfriend. She doesn’t even want to be home, she prefers being with her boyfriend.
I can’t get rid of my kids half the time. So there’s no dating going on in my house yet. I went on my 1st date when I was in 3rd grade. Okay, I considered it a date. It was really very innocent, but it was just me and this boy (his name was Randy) at the movies. We saw Spaceballs together. His mom had brought us and she didn’t even sit with us. She sat in the back of the theater. I remember Randy was so dreamy too. Like all the girls liked him. I didn’t really “date” again until highschool though.
I haven’t really given this too much thought for my own children though. I mean my husband has always joked that his girls aren’t dating until they are 90. Then when we had our son I said the same thing about him, but now it’s something that’s becoming a little more real and something that we need to consider.
Again, it boils down to maturity. Honestly, at this age it’s not like kids can get anywhere without a parent driving them. So I guess it’s not much of dating anyways. I’m thinking for now if my daughter is interested in “dating” a boy it can be here at the house or with a group of friends. But mostly I think it’s something you have to sit down and talk about. Getting to know what it is your child likes about this particular boy or girl. Keeping the communication open.
When I asked on my Facebook page though the general consensus was 16 is the age. I think that makes sense considering 16 is the age when in most states children can begin to drive. It’s kind of hard to date I guess if you have to have someone drive you everywhere. But it’s also important to always know what’s going on in your children’s lives which is why before the magic dating age if you communicate with your children about the boy or girl they like, then they will be more likely to come to you when you’re ready to begin sending them out on their own and date in a one on one sort of way.
Basically all this all boils down to is maturity and communication. No one can tell us what is the right age for something for our child. There might be some general age guidelines you want to follow before you consider allowing your child to do something, but what’s good for one of your children might not be good for another one. That has certainly come to pass in our house.
So at what age is right for you?