6-year-old’s ear-piercing experience at American Girl store turns into powerful lesson in consent

 6-year-old’s ear-piercing experience at American Girl store turns into powerful lesson in consent

Inthe Know

Kimberly Corban is used to sharing deeply personal experiences with strangers. As a public speaker, podcaster, and victim advocate, she frequently discusses her experience as a survivor of sexual assault and supports others who faced similar challenges.

A tape from Corban’s podcast, however, is becoming popular on TikTok for a totally different reason: she is sharing a personal experience she recently had with her daughter that other parents may benefit from. According to Corban, her family planned a trip to Chicago, where her then-6-year-old daughter was really thrilled about getting her ears pierced.

“And not just get her ears pierced,” Corban clarified. “She wanted to get her ears pierced at the American Girl doll store.” “I always wanted to make sure that any kind of ear piercing was always her choice,” the mother explained.

But, given that this was all her 6-year-old daughter could talk about for months, she was convinced that she wanted it. Her child was overwhelmed with joy when they came. The family walked to the ear-piercing station as she bounced happily around the store with her American Girl doll under one arm.

Corban’s normally bubbly 6-year-old, however, was silent after selecting the earrings she wished for. “You just sort of see her start to stare off and check out,” Corban said, which caused her to lean over and ask her daughter if everything was OK.

“I’m just really nervous,” the 6-year-old replied. Her mom reassured her that it was OK to be nervous and to ask any questions she had that might settle her fears. “I don’t know,” her daughter admitted. “I don’t know if I want to do it now.”

Corban could have convinced her daughter that she’d feel better after the piercing was over, or she could have reminded her that they’d come all this way for something she’d particularly asked. But instead, she leaned over and said, “Honey, you can say no at any time.”

“But you already paid,” her daughter replied. “Doesn’t matter — I will crumple this paper up right now and get rid of it,” Corban told her. That’s when Corban’s husband stepped in to back her up. “You know what?” he told their daughter. “It’s really brave to get your ears pierced, but it’s also really brave to say that you don’t wanna get your ears pierced.”

Corban’s daughter immediately welled up with tears and told her parents, “I don’t think I want to.” “I’m like, ‘OK, that’s great!’” the podcaster said before they left the ear-piercing station to walk around the store. She could see that her young girl’s worry and anxiety disappeared after they had done so. The experience was a learning opportunity for both her kid and Corban.

“She needed someone to give her permission to have her voice,” Corban shared. “And it’s over her own body.”
“It was one of those parenting moments where I’m like, ‘We’ve been doing something right,’” Corban recalled, adding that her daughter’s decision not to get her ears pierced was “such a win” in her book.

“I have been so so proud of her speaking up for herself in that way ever since,” the mom shared. After a year, Corban’s daughter warmed up to the notion of getting her ears pierced again, owing to the fact that many of her friends were doing the same.

So they scheduled another appointment, went to Chicago, and assured the little girl that she may change her mind at any time.

“I cannot think of a better way to reinforce what consent is than that sort of story,” Corban told her listeners. “It’s not just ear piercing, it can be anything — anything at all. If you put that power of making that choice in their hands, it’s going to matter a whole hell of a lot more when they’re older and when it’s potentially dangerous to their bodies.”

Related post