When Meagan Black posted an innocent TikTok video of her 9-year-old daughter, she probably wasn’t expecting to start the next major online parenting debate. But right away followers noticed something unique about Black’s daughter: she has a nose piercing. Her comments were flooded with questions — and a huge dose of mom-shaming. Now, Black is speaking out about her daughter’s piercing and why she thinks other parents should mind their business.
In Black’s original video, she and her daughter are playing a game via their doorbell camera in which the 9-year-old acts like a silly stranger and asks her mom to open the door. A small piercing is clearly visible on one side of the little girl’s nose.
In the comments on the video, many people ignored the content and jumped straight to questioning the mom about her daughter’s jewelry. “OMG is she 9 or 19?” one person writes. “Why would you get her nose pierced?”
“You’re a bad mom for letting your 9-year-old have a nose piercing,” another person adds.
The comments continued to pile up as Black’s video racked up more than 26 million views. Eventually, the mom decided to address some of the critics in a follow-up post with her daughter.
“Yes, her nose ring is real,” Black explains. “I let her get her nose pierced because she does not like earrings. She says they’re ugly and all she wanted was her nose pierced.”
At one point, Black’s 9-year-old chimes in to defend herself as well. “Nice people can say something about [my piercing], but if you’re going to say something mean about it, just don’t say anything,” she says.
Can kids even legally get a nose piercing?
Laws about body piercing vary by state and the type of piercing, according to the Association of Professional Piercers. Tattoo and piercing shops in each state can also set their own age limits and other requirements. Black explains in her second post that in Illinois, where she and her family live, “a minor can get a piercing with parent consent and there is no age restriction.”
Not everyone was satisfied with Black’s explanation or the legality of her decision. In the comments on her video, some accused her of being too relaxed in parenting her daughter.
“You’ll see why it’s a bad idea when she gets older,” one person writes. “Trying to be a friend first instead of a parent. Live and learn.”
“So, you’re going to let her do what she wants when she wants? The biggest issue I see is that she will be doing all of these things so young,” another person adds. “There isn’t anything for her to look forward to doing. She wears makeup, has piercings, next a tattoo?”
But others applauded Black for letting her daughter express herself and said it’s no different than getting a child’s ears pierced.
“Why are the ears acceptable but not the nose? People even pierce baby’s ears,” one person writes.
“I got my first nose piercing when I was 10, and six years later I still have it,” another person says. “[I also got] three more facial ones. Thank you for letting her express herself. I’m always glad my parents let me.”
The bottom line on piercings for kids
When it comes to body piercings, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that infections and complications are always a possibility, but they don’t specify certain ages when kids should or should not be allowed to get piercings. They encourage parents and kids to have open conversations about piercing and to go to a reputable piercer or even a doctor, since some pediatricians do ear piercing. They also note that one in four teenagers has a piercing somewhere other than their ear lobes.
Ultimately, any kind of piercing—including ear piercing—is a deeply personal decision that can have ties to people’s culture, religion, personal ethics and self expression. Some people get their baby’s ears pierced. Others plan to wait until their kids are 14, 15, 16 or even older.
Black’s decision to let her daughter get a piercing was one they made together, with her daughter’s health and wellbeing in mind. Ultimately, health and safety are what matter most, even if parents may fall on very different sides of the piercing debate.