The practice of gauging the ears originates in Africa, where it indicated social status. The larger the hole, the higher on the social ladder a person was. Many teens in the United States are gauging their ears, much to the dismay of some parents. The process doesn't happen overnight, so unless you don't see your teen often, he probably won't be able to do it without your notice. Discussing all the issues surrounding gauged ears with your teen can help you make the best decision for his ears.
You might want to put your foot down and outlaw gauged ears until your teen is old enough to make his own decisions. For many teens, your adamant attitude to the idea might make it that much more appealing. Gauging the ears takes time and the hole made by the gauge must be slowly stretched. Understanding your teen's perspective can help you talk out the issue and come to a decision together, according to Psychologytoday.com. Your teen is probably trying to exert his growing independence and your calm reaction to gauged ears will keep him from getting frustrated with your resistance, allowing him to make a better choice.
Why Your Reaction Matters
In many states, laws require piercing studios that perform ear gauge procedures on minors to receive parental consent first, which lowers the chances he'll be able to do it without your knowledge. However, if you flat-out refuse to allow him to gauge his ears, he might be tempted to do it himself or let someone else do it for him, which increases the risk of an infection or disfigurement. Teens want to feel respect and love from their parents, but they also want it in return, according Psychologytoday.com. If you aren't willing to have a conversation debating the pros and cons of stretching his earlobes, your teen might be more likely to try and sneak it by you.
Maybe you envision your teen with giant gauges in his ears, stretching them down to his shoulders. He might be thinking on a much smaller scale, however. Because your teen is still a minor, compromise on how large he can go before he turns 18 and can make his own decisions about body art. Maybe you'll go for 10 mm, which still allows the hole to grow shut, Julie Howick, owner of Cold Steel piercing shop in London, told BBC News. If he wants to make the hole larger, he must wait until he's legally an adult. Your reaction of giving in a little helps keep your teen from becoming angry and lets you stay involved in the stretching.
Part of your reaction to your teen's request of gauged ears should include a discussion of what the consequences of the process can mean. If he wants to keep the hole fairly small, he can likely go back if he tires of the look. However, if he continues on and keeps stretching his earlobe, the consequences could be harsher. A large hole might need reconstructive surgery to repair and can leave visible scarring in the area, according to Dr. Barry Eppley, plastic and cosmetic surgeon. Keloid formation in the earlobes could require additional treatment with steroid shots or radiation. Calmly tell your teen about these risks before he begins the process, but once he's past age 18, accept his decision as his own and love him as he is.
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