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Teen Wants to Pierce Navel

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 14-year-old daughter wants her belly-button pieced. I said no and now she won't talk to me. I've been getting the silent treatment for two months. I'm hurt, but I don't want her body pierced everywhere. Should I give in?

A: Allowing your daughter to pierce her navel does not mean that she will soon be "pierced everywhere." Remember that, when you were a teen, it was not fashionable to get any other body parts pierced except your ears.

There are serious concerns regarding the safety and health hazards involved in body piercing, especially certain areas of the ear and tongue. If your daughter agrees to have her navel pierced under the hygienic conditions insisted upon by her doctor, and she understands what she must do to prevent that area from becoming infected, you should give her permission to pierce her navel.

Allowing her to pierce her navel does not mean that you are a permissive parent or that you gave in -- or will give in -- in the future because she stopped talking to you. It means that you gave careful consideration to a wish of hers and agreed to grant it after much thought and discussion with her regarding her responsibility in the matter. If she doesn't agree to have her navel pierced under safe medical conditions, I would refuse to allow it to be done.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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