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You've passed by them on the streets or at the mall and you have looked in curiosity and possibly turned away in disgust. You know what I mean--they are the teens of today--what used to be the fringe, the counterculture, who have now become more mainstream, the ones with the nose rings and pierced tongues. You silently wonder "how can they eat like that or blow their noses?" And then your 16-year-old daughter returns from school one day talking about her friend Mallory's new navel ring. She thinks it's cool and wants one. You are dead-set against the idea, but how do you handle this situation?

Some teens respond positively to "Not as long as your under my roof" and they wait until they move out or go to college. Other teens may say "Well then I'll just leave," and will move out. According to Woodinville, Washington, therapist, Elaine Pool, "You know your teen best." You should know what kind of limits work and what kind of limits don't. If your teen is one with whom you can reason, ask her to help you research the topic, and if after the research it still seems like a good idea, then you can negotiate.

Research the topic together and get all the facts, including sitting in on one someone else's procedure so you and your teen get a realistic picture of what happens. What exactly is body piercing? Body piercing is the creating of a hole, with a needle, in a part of the skin in order to wear a ring or stud through that part. This part of the skin may be the navel, eyebrow, nostril, septum, ear, nipple, tongue, etc. The holes created for body piercing are permanent, even if after the first year, the person never wears the body jewelry again.

In addition to the permanency, piercings are associated with dangerous health risks. Body piercings can become painfully infected. And, according to Dr. Absar H. Haaris, of St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia, getting a body piercing "increases one's risk for Hepatitis B and/or C" and HIV/AIDS. The increased risk is so great that the American Red Cross and regional blood banks have started to refuse blood donations from people with body piercings.


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