For her eighth birthday, we let our daughter get her ears pierced. It has been a family tradition and it makes sense. They’re old enough to take responsibility and ownership. Now that we’re in the middle of it, I think we should have waited. I’m sure I’d say that about any time I did it, but lets face it, at eight, they still need so much reminding, especially if its scary. She’s been avoiding changing her earrings because she just knows its going to hurt. The paradox I see as a much older adult is that the fear and avoidance are really what make the pain. By putting off something painful, you make it twice as painful, because you don’t clean them out as often or change them. I notice a similarity in changing earrings in newly-pierced ears and changing underclothing. It’s a MUST. Also, when this eight-year-old is afraid, she jerks and pulls away, causing much much much more pain.And I see the spiral creating even more fear for next time.
And then I think about being an adult. Is it really that different? It’s not earrings anymore. But there’s always that phone call that needs made, that goal that needs kick-started, or that progress to gain. Maybe eight is the perfect age to learn about fear and how to overcome it. How much better is it to learn fear by a pair of earrings than it is through turning in a college application or applying for a job? I guess that makes me glad we did this now. She’s getting a head start in a world full of fear.