Child Advocacy in Public

The other day, I took my daughters to a local shop that sells jewelry and accessories. There was a young family there and the parents were talking in a threatening tone to their very young daughter. I walked closer to them to see if I could get a sense of what was going on. They were attempting to coerce her into getting her ears pierced. The young girl cried saying over and over again, “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!” An older woman standing nearby was then coercing the parents into forcing their daughter to do it. She was giving parenting tips on how to take away the child’s new toy and not give it back unless she did as she was told.

cute+little+girl+crying+wallpapers_largephoto by Jill Greenberg

My heart raced. I started sweating. I took a deep breath and walking over and said, “Excuse me. Would you be open to hearing an alternative opinion on this?” The parents looked at me and said, “Yes.” I shared with them that Ivy and Tiff decided when to get their ears pierced at ages 6 and 8 and that it was a special rite of passage, that they chose. I shared about the girls autonomy and how the connection between them would be hurt if they didn’t respect her choice. I also said that the trust that she has for them may be affected if they forced her against her will.

The father said, “Yes! I agree with that.” The Mom looked disappointed. I then went on to say that I realized it was a personal decision and that it was for them alone to decide. I shared that I couldn’t let them go on in what was happening without offering my view, so that they could make a truly informed decision.

They walked out of the store. They were still on the fence, but I was so glad that I spoke up. It isn’t an easy thing to do, especially when you have the opposing energy present trying to convince them otherwise. My daughters were very proud of me tonight and thanked me for, “helping that little girl.”

Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see injustice! You can do it in such a way that is peaceful, non-intrusive and respectful. Be brave. Be kind and speak your truth. The example you set for your children and for others when they witness peaceful communication is desperately needed in our culture. You can help shift the world towards more peace and the lives you touch will cause ripples that never end.

Peace & Love, Dayna

Comments

  1. Beautiful! I am glad you spoke up as well!! My plan for my daughter is the same as yours…I want to wait for her to ask & then make a special day out of it…just mommy daughter time, she might not even want to get them pierced…but it’s her choice 🙂

    • well done, I will remember that opening remark for future reference. I would have been harsher with my words as what you are saying you witnessed is legal child abuse.

  2. Thank you so much for what you are doing and for inspiring others to do the same!
    Happy New Year and many blessings, Satyanna.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I work a part-time job in retail over the holidays and I witness so many squabbles within families…when they finally arrive at the register I guide them into a conversation that includes something positive about each other–it’s a small seed, but it is a seed. I love the affirmation that you provide here with your experience. I am so glad you took the time to share your perspective with the family and with us!

  4. That was a great story. I was 14 when I decided to have my ears pierced. Mom never forced me to have them done even though it is very typical in the country she is from to have the babies’ ears pierced when they are born or soon after I’m not sure if it was because she had mostly boys and just forgot to pierce my ears, but I’m glad I got to choose because I was a tomboy and didn’t like jewelry until about that age. So it worked out 🙂

  5. HUGE kudos to you for speaking up. You did a really important thing.

  6. As I started to read this my immediate thought was dread. I thought attempting to speak to them would be disastrous, however I must say, you worded yourself beautifully. So many people share their opinions in such a way that the other feels attacked and immediately goes into defensive mode. I am impressed!

    When my daughter was born I was shocked at all the people around me insisting I get her ears pierced. The reasoning was.. “how would they know she is a girl?” Seriously? I was appalled and so glad that i stood firm in decision not to. Especially when a few years later i witnessed a young child screaming as she got her ears pierced. I stood there in tears. My daughter decided at 10 years old that she wanted her ears pierced. I am proud to say she made that decision on her own when she was ready.

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