DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter, who is in the seventh grade, says she wants to get a nose stud. A couple of her friends at school have gotten their noses pierced, and she wants to do it too. I am completely against this. She is too young, in my estimation, to make a decision that could affect her livelihood. I can say no, but I want her to understand that I don’t think this is a smart idea at this point in her life. What can I say? -- No Nose Piercing
DEAR NO NOSE PIERCING: Your ongoing job as a parent is to teach your child the values that you hold dear. This includes regularly talking about what is important to you and why. Cause and effect figure prominently in this dialogue. When you do X, it could mean Y. In the case of a nose piercing, ask her what the implications of that might be on her life down the line. Talk to her about her hopes and dreams. Have her think about people who have jobs that she considers interesting and consider how those people present themselves. Helping her to develop a vision for her future based on what she is learning should help her to see that a nose piercing could be limiting.
In a job interview, a pierced nose will be noticeable and potentially off-putting for many professional pursuits. Let her know that when she becomes an adult, at age 18, she will have the right to make this choice if she likes. Hopefully by then she will have enough tools and insights to make an informed decision. Right now is too early.