Teenagers and piercing

The majority of customers in a piercing facility have not yet celebrated their twentieth birthday. Their interest in a body piercing underlines the connection between the teenage mentality and the drive to exhibit out-of-the-ordinary behavior. Any effort to address the topic of “teenagers and piercing” should begin with an examination of that connection.

Often a teen who wants to have a body piercing has expressed a need for greater self-esteem. Such a teen might lack self confidence. He or she might hope that the ability to display a pierced body part would earn the teenager some degree of admiration.

Yet not every teen who wants a piercing lacks self-confidence. Sometimes a teenager looks at a piercing as a way to regain a lost competence. Such a teen generally feels that he or she has not found a way to make a contribution to the larger society. If a teen can not feel a part of society, then he or she will look for a “group” to join. That could cause a teen to “join” the others who have agreed to a body piercing.

Parents who care to dissuade a teen from getting a body piercing should seek to increase his or her self-esteem. One way to accomplish that goal is by cautioning the teen against the use of self-putdowns. In other words, any parent who dislikes piercing should cringe at under-the-breath comments such as, “You klutz.”

A teenager who hears a great many disparaging comments from relatives, friends and teachers might also suffer from low self esteem. Parents who do not want to be told about a body piercing might therefore temper their remarks. They should seek to give their son or daughter plenty of constructive criticism.

A teenager who hears constructive, rather than disparaging, criticism stands a better chance of developing a strong self-esteem. Such a teen is more apt to become aware of his or her strengths. Because the teen does not focus on his or her weaknesses, that youth therefore feels less motivated to go after a body piercing.

A lack of self esteem can not explain all efforts by teens to obtain a body piercing. Sometimes a teen wants to increase his or her attractiveness. In that way, the request for a piercing could be seen as a venturing into the realm of sexual exploration. Many teenagers venture into that realm.

If a parent sees that a teen equates a piercing with personal attractiveness, then that parent might want to introduce the teen to customs in the far corners of the world. Among some African tribes, a boy or girl with a stick through the nostril would be considered attractive. In some regions of Asia, a person with a blotched face would be termed, “more attractive.”
After tackling the psychology that might drive a youth to seek a piercing, a parent needs to warn the teen about the health hazards of piercing.

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Comments (8 comments)

Who wrote this? Clearly not a teen with piercings. While there may be an “underlining connection” between low self-esteem and piercings, there is probably an even bigger connection between the teen thinking a piercing looks cool, and then getting one. A piercing isnt the same as a cut wrist or some other plea for attention or help- it’s jewellery. Do you think it’s bad that someone has their ears pierced? Probably not. But if it’s an eyebrow or bellybutton or tounge (shock!) pierce then all of a sudden the teen has issues with self-esteem and confidence? Piercings are more than anything a faze..they’re not even permanent, so let your kid explore and get through that cycle alone before you start going psycho with “constructive critism”. Whoever wrote this doesn’t seem to be any sort of qualified psychologist and if you are -go back to the 1950’s. Seriously, don’t send other parents messages that reinforce stereotypes and make them worry about the emotional stability of their kids. On that note, maybe go get a piercing yourself, see if you like it, and then do some reflecting. They’re really as bad or scary as you were probably made to believe when you were a kid.

G / April 17th, 2007, 9:31 am / #

I am afraid that the medical community lacks enough good psychologists. I had no psychologist guiding me when I needed to start college with a bald head. Inside that head was a plastic tube. That tube drained fluid from my skull to my heart. Life with such a tube has not been easy. I have had problems with infection and with malfunction of that same tube. 🙂

Once anyone has encountered the trials that can come from having a foreign object inside their body, then that individual naturally finds it hard not to question the wisdom of any youth who gets a body piercing. If you feel that I am wrong, then you might want to get the opinion of a qualified psychologist.

admin / April 27th, 2007, 1:19 am / #

I’m a teenager and i’ve never felt the need to get piercings to improve my self-esteem when i’m feeling down. But upon reflection i realise how some teens might find that piercings are an easy ‘quick-fix’ (like retail therapy) to make them feel better – whether this idea lasts for the long or short run depends upon how well they are accepted by their old friends and also into new groups of friends (with piercings).

But let me answer the MOST IMPORTANT question that needs to be considered:
When do teens feel good about themselves?
A: They feel good when they perceive themselves as ‘cool’ and believe themselves to be (OR that they would be) wholly accepted by a group of people which in turn they think are ‘cool.’

This has many meanings and is obviously different for every teen out there but we all know that there is at least 1 thing that makes us feel good; something that makes us feel proud of ourselves and therefore because of it we feel good. And if this something happens to be a piercing or two (and all the social implications that come with it) then i think its fine as long as it doesn’t lead to further depression or things like drugs (you might be thinking of emos, goths, or metal fans).

All in all it was an informative article but it should have at least brushed upon the aforementioned groups of stereotypical teenagers.

Anonymous / May 4th, 2007, 10:45 pm / #

this isn’t true in any degree. im a teen and i absolutley love piercings. and its not becuase i lack self confidense or whatever your trying to say cause my life is great and i have no social problems nor am i trying to get attention. for example im getting my belly button done in 4 days and its not for attention or whatever its because i like the way it looks and i always wanted one. so really everyone needs to stop critisizing teens and realise that not everything they do is a cry out for attention as you may think

anonymous / May 16th, 2007, 4:47 am / #

I am a fifteen yr old wit good self esteem n i hav 6 lobe mods n 2 cartilage. I am hopefuly getin my nose done cos i like piercings NOT because of low self esteem!!I am my own person n each piercing has been a personal decision. If piercings r so bad, then ban ear piercings as WELL, not just others, cos thats being a hypocrite!!!

jayne / September 9th, 2007, 9:40 pm / #

Can’t a teenage (I am sixteen years old) get a piercing without being hounded and put under a microscope “Dr. Phil” style? because maybe she doesn’t have self esteem problems? or hates her body? Or thinks she needs to join a group or fit in? Cant she simply get it becasue she thinks it is a beautiful addition to her body, the same way you pick out that blue sweater because it makes your eyes ‘pop’? the same reason you do your makeup? because she thinks it will enhance her body? i think people should step back, and realise that with the correct procedure of securing a piercing, branding, scarification or what have you, it is generally safe. there is complications in WHATEVER you do. we need to remember that. they can ass ornate and beautiful value, and they do make you feel even more beautiful. i have my tongue frenulum, 2x tragus’, 2x nipples, navel, inverse navel, my ears are stretched to 5/8″, and i have my hips pierced. and am an honour student, healthy amount of friends. i do not smoke crack or party into the wee hours of the nihgt. so put your sterotypes to rest. for once, and for all.

katy / December 21st, 2007, 8:06 am / #

Apparently, the person who wrote this is looking too deep into this. Why does there need to be some underlying reason to getting a piercing? I have snake bites, and I just got them because I like them, not because I’m starved for attention or lacking self esteem. Most people really don’t understand the complexness of a creative mind.

Usagi / October 11th, 2008, 8:54 am / #

i think this artical has some relations(comming from a 15 year old) i think how a teens act out, and how many piercing and, where they get them have more to do with it. if they get piercing on the private spots or tongue there not only doing it for their satisfaction but there partner also.

Samantha / April 30th, 2009, 8:58 am / #

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