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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Grapple With Promise to Let Daughter Get Pierced

DEAR ABBY: Our otherwise responsible 15-year-old daughter, "Marie," is upset with her father and me because we won't allow her to have her belly button pierced. She's a good kid, and we originally told her she could get it pierced if she improved her grades. However, after thinking it over, we changed our minds and told her so.

Marie couldn't believe we'd changed our minds. She worked hard and brought her grades up to A's and B's. Now she is in tears because we won't let her have the piercing.

At what age do you and your readers consider belly button piercing appropriate? -- UPSET IN COLLEGEVILLE, PA.

DEAR UPSET: I see navel piercing as a fad that has gone mainstream. Discuss it with your family physician or a dermatologist to determine what the risks are. Be sure your daughter is present so she is aware of them, too. (As long as the procedure is done hygienically, it shouldn't cause any damage.) And in the future, I advise you to think carefully before making any more promises to your daughter.