Jillian Michaels’ 4-Year-Old Son Gets His Ears Pierced: ‘I Wasn’t About to Say That’s for Girls’

08/18/2016 at 12:00 PM ET

Jillian Michaels Son Phoenix Ears Pierced
Source: Jillian Michaels/Instagram

Jillian Michaels isn’t about to let societal gender roles dictate how she raises her children.

“The little man works on his selfie skills. And yes, he got his ears pierced,” the fitness guru and television personality, 42, captioned a selfie she posted to Instagram on Aug. 6, which features her 4-year-old son Phoenix smiling excitedly for the camera.

Her reasoning behind allowing her only son to have the procedure done?

“His sister got hers pierced and he wanted his done. I wasn’t about to say ‘that’s for girls,’ ” she adds.

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Michaels and her fiancée Heidi Rhoades — whom Michaels proposed to during an episode of her E! reality show Just Jillian — are also parents to daughter Lukensia, 6.

“Start em young,” Michaels wrote next to a Tuesday video of Phoenix doing one-armed push-ups while Lukensia does a cartwheel into the shot. “Who else’s kids think they’re Olympians?”

Start em young 😁 who else's kids think they're Olympians?

A post shared by Jillian (Motha F*ckn) Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on

In fact, Michaels’ kids are all about athletics and playing in the great outdoors — because that’s how it should be, she believes.

“Kids shouldn’t be working out or having workout programs and we do that by limiting their screen time,” the author of the upcoming book Yeah Baby! The Modern Mama’s Breakthrough Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever, told PEOPLE in March.

“They get a half hour of screen time a day and the rest of the time, they’re outdoors playing. … That’s how it’s supposed to be for kids.”

Jen Juneau

FILED UNDER: Jillian Michaels , Kids , News

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Showing 80 comments

Gia on

Well I certainly tell my boys if something is meant for a girl. Good grief!

Izzie on

Brilliant parenting. Must say, no problem with piercings, but age four? Give me a break.

PrinccesssssKate on

Meh. Kids should be playing and having fun. That’s their job

Unreal on

Are you kidding me? “I wasn’t about to say ”that’s for girls'”!!! Why the he’ll not!!!!!!!!

Ellie on

Ridiculous. The kid is 4 yrs old! Who lets a 4 year old decide about piercing anything???? She is a fool.

Captain Howdy on

Gia – Would you tell Harrison Ford that his ear piercing is wrong? How about Johnny Depp? Can you please cite your source that says piercing a male is inappropriate? I have never read any rulebook that states such a thing.

Anonymous on

Oh yes! Absolutely! Don’t dare tell the kid NO! Let him have and do anything he wants. Good luck with that when he finds out about real life.

landc's mom on

i’m with the comments about the 4 year old getting their ears pierced and the comments about it’s okay to say no. My daughter is almost 9 and still doesn’t have her ears pierced. She has complained because all of her friends do but I remind her that her friends all have different parents.

Ginger on

Captain Howdy: those are grown men, pretty sure their mother didn’t pierce their ears at age 4.

Bonnie on

Izzie – “Brilliant parenting. Must say, no problem with piercings, but age four? Give me a break.”

Worse things happen to newborn boys and they don’t get to have a say in the matter…

MsMandi on

The made for girls, not made for girls, for boys only thing doesn’t fly with me either but at four years of age I don’t think he should be left to make the choice to pierce his ears all by himself. What is next, a tattoo?

Susie Q on

My son would see me and my daughter painting our nails. He wanted his nails painted too! He was about 4 years old. I painted his nails black a few times. He is now six and has not asked again. Getting your ears pierced is not something permanent and I’m sure they will soon be off.

Poppy on

Oh FFS. Yes, some things ARE just for girls, just like some things are just for boys! WTF happened to my generation in raising their kids?

BarbarA on


J on

So if her son asks about wearing tampons is she going to say the same thing? Some things are meant for girls and some things are meant for boys. Get over it.

Roze on

What’s wrong with saying “that’s for girls” ??? This crazy b*tch is what’s wrong with this country.

Kathy on

Gia, why do that to your children? So you are telling them girls and boys are not equal?


She’s such a flake! She’s the LAST person I would take parenting advice from!

guest on

Plenty of people pierce their baby’s ears. Beauty of this, he decides he wants them pierced, he can always take them out. While I would never let my kid do it, i don’t see the huge problem. Plenty of girls get their ears pierced.

bugsforever on

“Worse things happen to newborn boys and they don’t get to have a say in the matter…”
I take it you’re referring to circumcision. Like ear-piercing there may be cultural reasons for infant circumcision. Unlike ear-piercing there are also health reasons for having a circumcision performed and many more regulations about the qualifications of the person performing it. I’ve assisted with circumcisions and it’s about as traumatic as ear-piercing.

Jess on

Good grief. Does this mean when he wants to wear pantyhose or heels, she won’t say anything then either? Too many parents nowadays are so afraid to say no to anything. Their children run the show.

Callie on

Hey Parents – it’s OK to tell your kids NO!!!!!

vons on

Well we don’t want to upset our children by not letting them something they shouldn’t be doing if they are a boy. Way to go! Encourage him to be a homosexual just like you.

Callie on

Gia – I’m with you!!!! The person comparing your comment to Harrison Ford is an I D I O T!!! Harrison is 80 and this kid is 4. They are what’s wrong with the world today. Have a nice day

Anonymous on

No 4-year old child, boy or girl, has the maturity to make a decision to alter their bodies, and shame on the “parents” for letting this child dictate to them. Weak, irresponsible parenting.

Tracys38 on

But she could’ve said “No you’re too young” Just another entitled kid in the making. Way to go Jillian

Diana on

No 4-year old child, boy or girl, has the maturity to make a decision to alter their bodies, and shame on the “parents” for letting this child dictate to them. What’s next, tattoos of Superman? Weak, irresponsible parenting.

Guest on

Why not say that’s for girls? Are you going to buy him a dress too? Wow! As a parent, you teach! It’s not whatever feels good!!

Kate on

I love how people are bashing her for letting him get his ears pierced at 4, but they probably don’t care that people pierce baby girl’s ears regularly. Babies as young as 6 months have their ears pierced. I personally don’t have my pierced. Never have, never will. I would not mind if my child wanted their ears pierced. Boy or girl. They’d have to be at least middle school aged before I would agree to it though. It’s just messed up that people seem to only care that he’s getting it done at 4 because he’s a boy. They don’t care that his sister had her ears pierced. He’s not wearing a dress. He isn’t dancing in a tutu. Males actually, historically wore earrings since the ancient times. It’s not really a gender thing. That being said, I absolutely hate earrings on males. I would not want him to get pierced ears, but if he was old enough, I’d let him. It’s his body. 4 is too young for male or female, but it’s her kid. Her decision.

person on

@vons – nothing wrong with a boy getting his ears pierced, and definitely nothing wrong with being a homosexual. don’t degrade other people just because you don’t agree with their life choices.

Charlie on

As a Chahta, I would point out that men in my culture have been piercing their ears — and other things — for thousands of years.

However, I’m sure that people who are too stupid to understand that gender roles/behaviors are socialized are stupid enough to be proud that they are racist trash.

asaintedsinner on

I had my ears pierced at 4. It was absolutely my decision and I helped to take care of them – I cleaned them every night and rotated them like I was supposed to. The only thing I really needed help with was getting the backs off when hair would get caught around the post – the backs were made to fit into the little groove on the end of the post and I couldn’t pull the back off.

Anonymous on

“They get a half hour of screen time a day and the rest of the time, they’re outdoors playing.” Does not sound like a parent that does not know how to say no to me.

Lol on

In latin culture, we pierce our children’s ears (boy or girl) when they are asleep as babies so they have no recollection of the pain and they don’t mess with them. Mom does it herself with a needle, thread, and gold studs. I did it to my daughter at 4mos and my son at 5. It was done to me, my mother, grandmother, great gma, and even my great great gma whom I’m fortunate to have known.

Tradition for some is crazy to others. Know what I wasn’t allowed to do til I was 17? Cut my hair. My son and daughter have long hair and I won’t cut it til they are teenagers either. I see little girls with pixies and bobs all the time. You don’t see me throwing a hissy fit about it. Not my kid so idc.

To each their own. Piercings have been a unisex right of passage, style, and expression since the dawn of human kind. Be thankful wearing sticks through our noses wasn’t the fad that stuck and move on.

Wow on

Her son is happy and smiling not crying. That’s all that matters. That mom and child are ultimately healthy and happy. He obviously is loving his pierced ears. So what if he turns out gay in the future? His ears will have nothing to do with his sexual preference. I’m appalled at some of your “homosexual” and sexist commentary. Most of you grown women aren’t even mature enough to be raising children if you’re shoving all this simple minded, outdated, and sexist mind frames upon your children. It’s the 21st century smh you can think as archaic as you want but I hope most of you have the sense to keep it to yourselves in real life because the day someone makes my son cry because he loves to cook or likes to wear pink, I will show you the meaning of barbaric when I whoop your arse like a man.

Sarah on

Some things just are for girls just like some things just are for boys. Bathrooms for instance….. Why are we trying to make kids lives more complicated than they already are. Especially when they are raised by two women or two men.

Rachel on

So stupid. My 5 year old likes to joke around. The other day, he said, he wanted boobies like a girl. I told him, boobies are for girls. He then said, then I want to be a girl. So, am I supposed to run out and by him a dress because he wants to be a girl now. He since has not even ask again, because again, they are kids and they change their mind from one minute to the next. I am open to most things, but this is ridiculous. Another example, of the kid being the boss.

Aeol on

I had my ears pierced as a baby. I turned out just fine. My husband didn’t want to pierce our baby’s ears despite it being common in my family; I didn’t care either way, so I deferred to his wishes. Now she’s 2.5 and asking for earrings, and I just laugh because I told him this was his wish, so he’s going to have to be the one to decide to take her and deal with the tears lol.
FWIW, I often get annoyed when he says things like “pink is for girls,” etc. It really is time we get over these stereotypes. My daughter likes to play “construction” just as much as she likes to play “princess.” Sometimes things are just things. I don’t know what my reaction would be if a son asked for pierced ears, but I hope I would handle it maturely and respectfully.

Robin on

So when his sister gets a bra will he get one too?

When he goes back to school the kids will make fun of him and hopefully the earings will come out.

Charlie on


LMAO You think he’ll be made fun of?! Have you been under a rock?!

Oh, of course you have, with the rest of your friends here — under a rock watching Fox. F*cking worthless bitch.

Jo on

Comparing wearing a bra or tampon to wearing EARRINGS?! Are you kidding me?! Both men and women have their ears pierced, if you see that as just a female thing then you must be living in the past. It isn’t like the kid is wearing hoop earings, but if he wants to when he gets older, who cares?! People have their babies get their ears pierced, so what is wrong with a 4 year old? We ask my daughter if she wants it done yet and she says no. When she is ready,we will let her. People are so stuck up anymore. There is nothing wrong with boys getting their ears pierced.

Jo on

@Robin, so you wish a boy to be bullied so that you can be satisfied that he doesn’t have earrings in? That is really really nice. I hope that you don’t have kids because I’m sure you’re teaching them well, that people who are different should be put down.

Anonymous on

If I have a son and he wants his ears pierced I’ll take him. My boyfriend and I discussed both before our daughter was born. He has his done, so why would we have a problem with piercing our sons ears?

seriously?? on

it’s not about boy/girl thing. a dang small child like that shouldn’t have their ears pierced. my son wanted his done. i said not until he’s 18. and guess what? that was all. he’s now almost 19 and got his ears pierced. it’s tacky, but he’s an adult

Nicole Brown on

Oh my god, people… they’re earrings. Ear piercing is not gender specific, so who the hell cares? I’m so sick of every thing being boy or girl. As the mom of a girl who prefers superheroes to princesses, am I supposed to tell her that she can’t play with her beloved Captain America because he’s “for boys.” She also almost always chooses the “boy” toy at McDonald’s. She loves race cars and dirt. But she loves dresses and pretty things too. I’m not about to ruin anything for her by saying it’s “for boys.

He’s not your kid. Get over it.

joan on

She could have said, wait until you are 6 like your sister, but it doesn’t matter. If he changes his mind, she takes them out, and the holes go away. If he doesn’t wear earrings, no one will likely realize his are pierced. My daughter wanted to play football and baseball, on boys’ teams and I let her. should I have said no, because its a boy thing?

Wississippi on

Ear piercing isn’t just for girls, that’s not the problem. The issue is that he’s only 4 years old! I can’t stand when I see infants/toddlers with pierced ears. It’s definitely more about the parent than the child in those instances.

ginger on

I try not to judge, but piercing this boys ears was just ridiculous. You don’t give your kid everything they ask for. As a parent, you use discretion. So sad, that is what this story is…

Em on

I always find it odd when people say 4 (or even as far as teenage years) are too young to pierce ears. In Hispanic culture, most children have their ears pierced when they are babies. And they do just fine. Different strokes I guess…

ThisIsCrazy on

She’s an idiot. First, four is too young for any child to get their ears pierced. Second, he is too young to make such a decision regarding an issue like this that is clearly gender related. It is, whether people want to admit it or not. When he’s older, that cans be his choice. Now, it just looks like his Mom wants attention four herself.

I have seen Mom bloggers dress their boys as girls, paint their nails, etc. This is not OK. Do I think some kids are transgender and will need help navigating that issue, yes. Do I think some wants want attention and just make their child something their not solely for their own purpose, yes.

Parents need to guide, advise, etc. Let kids be kids and not make them billboards for our own political views.

Jen on

I have to laugh at some of the OTT comments on this thread. As if Jillian was trying to give you – whomever from BF, Ohio – parenting advice. As if she cares what you think. As if she cares what *I* think!

Regardless, I could GAF whether this pic was of her son or her daughter (and you know if it was her daughter, no one would bat an eyelid). Still, getting kids’ ears’ pierced is not a good idea. I worked at Claire’s during university, and kids would regularly come in with terrible infections, or their ears would grow over, etc.

The look on babies’ faces when we’d pierce their ears still makes me flinch to this day. The instant tears. The look of betrayal. It just isn’t for kids. It was ALWAYS the parents who truly wanted it done, not the kids. My Mum made me wait until I was 13 and I ended up waiting – on my own steam – until I was 19.

It’s not for kids, end of.

Denise on

While I don’t have an issue with a boy getting an ear piercing, etc., I feel like four is not a wise age to just go and take him when he asks. Granted, they can grow back, but then what about the scars if he doesn’t want them? I wanted to dye my hair blue at four, and yes, that is a temporary procedure as well, but I’m glad my parents didn’t go for it. I think maybe when he is a bit older and more mature, THEN this should be okay. But give the kid a chance to see the real world more and to make a better choice, whatever that may be.

Milena on

And this is why everybody else outside America hates Americans, they do not know about restrictions or discipline

Guest on

There is this fabulous word to use with a four year old….NO!!
It has nothing to do with what’s for girls and what’s for boys. I can’t stand her even more now.

Guest on

There is this fabulous word that’s extremely effective with four year olds….. NO!
Can’t stand her even more now! Total idiot.

K on

She may not tell him it’s for girls but the kids at school will. Then she will be mad about that.

myopinion on

She is a complete moron. I’m so sick of the political correctness of everyone. A four year old shouldn’t have that kind of decision making power, but she is a narcissist and will do anything to stay relevent.

funnygirl on

Love her and I love that she is supporting her child instead of worrying about the small minded, fearful sheep out there. ‘When You Open Your Mind, You Open Your Heart’.

Pat on

This is just ear piercing, folks. If and when he decides he doesn’t want it anymore, he can take the earrings out and the holes will close up. Nothing permanent. Good for her for having the courage to face the backlash she knew she would get by doing right by her son. Too many of us make decisions based on the opinions and judgments of strangers and people who don’t matter.

Debbe on

Gia, good for you but you did not need to the GOOD GRIEF part. I respect your choice but you should be gracious enough to respect other mom’s choices. My son wanted a dress at age 3. I said WAAA? No, that is for girls. He was such a good boy and would not ask for nothing else, just that for weeks and weeks. I gave in, got him the Disney dress. Clerk said she would not buy that for HER son. Anyway, my boo played in it for months and then he was done. He forgot he ever did that.

Debbe on

My brother’s played with my girl toys at times and I played with their toys all the time. What is the big deal, if you tell a child they cannot have something because of a gender issue, they will grow up to be like Peewee herman and sneak around stealing women’s pantys. Let them be themselves, it won’t change who they are. They will be gay, or they won’t, a BAD heart and a fearful mom is worse than who they will love oneday.

Debbe on

Bonnie is right, worse things happen to baby boys (circumcision) that many WOMEN choose for them (and have you seen how painful that is, they do no sedate, google it). I did not get my son circumcised because that is his choice not mine. Can you imagine if we cut girl’s koochis? Anyway, all the people on here that has an issue with a 4 year old BOY having pieced ears, well then get mad at girls too because I see many 4 year old girls with their ears pierced. You guys are too judgmental.

Debbe on

Bugsforever. No you are wrong. Circumsisms are not easy as ear piercings and I would never choose that for my son. That is something he can choose on his own as an adult. Men do NOT have issues with the extra skin when they wash and keep down there clean. My brother and my adult son were not circumsized, along with the entire Japanese male population and they turned out fine.

Kevinity on

Gender roles helped control society after the Great Depression nearly destroyed the American way of life. Once everyone realized how oppressive they were, the 60s began a revolution that expanded in the 70s and came to a head in the 80s. HIV halted gender revolution, and the Conservatives swooped down raining judgement. We’re just now getting back to the reality that gender means absolutely nothing. Good for Jillian for raising her son to voice his opinion and to support it when it is reasonable.

Veve on

Making some popcorn and getting ready to read the comments… This should be interesting.

Best mother ever on

My 4-year-old just got a tattoo! A real tattoo, not a fake one. She asked for it and I didn’t want to say no. Now she has Ella from Frozen on her butt cheek. She’s so happy!

Best mother ever on

Btw “Pat”, the holes will not close up, they are permanent. How do you not know that?

Karyl Wood on

She’s letting the kid run the household at age 4? Boy, is she in for trouble.

WhiteDevil.. on

OK, well if he tells you he wants to wear panties instead of boys underwear, will you tell him then? When he gets picked on at school for wearing ear rings will you tell him then? Get those ear rings off of that kid, and hand him a Tonka Truck and push him out into the back yard to play in the dirt..Like a Boy!

Nancy on

that’s when middle-aged lesbos have kids!! Shudder!!


Let’s allow a 4 year old to make decisions and rule the house. GEEZZZZ

Shannon on

What happens when his friends tell him it’s for girls? My son wrote his J’s backwards when he was little and I didn’t correct him because I thought it was cute and I knew he would soon learn the correct way. He was mortified when a kid pointed it out and he very plainly said to me, “My J’s are right, aren’t they Mommy?” Complete Mommy guilt for me!

Guest on

I don’t think it’s a male/female thing anymore and hasn’t been for a long time. It’s more about letting your child be old enough to decide if they want to permanently perforate their body. Age 4 isn’t old enough.

Jinc on

Maybe he can get a Tattoo next !

Cee on

Bugsforever you are high. Circumcisions are not even close to the same category as ear piercing. Thousands of Valuable nerve endings are sliced off before this baby has ANY say in his own body. There is absolutely NO healthy reason behind it. As far as asthetics give me a break!!! Hey females how would you feel being told gd made your vagina is less than perfect at birth and you need to be altered in order to fit the mold. It would never fly. But for baby boys sure, lets strap you down on a table after birth, shine blindingly bright lights on you and cut the tip of your penis off because some people think this look is more appealing. So wrong!!!

sally on

SO is it REALLY SO BAD to have things that are for GIRLS and things that are for BOYS??? What is so wrong with it?? We ARE different. Is she going to get him a BRA & TAMPONS when his sisters get those at age 12??? What a bunch of hogwash. Her HUSBAND must be a major wimp because there is NO way my husband would of let me pierce my sons ears!!!

Lisa on

C’mon Jillian, he is 4…way too young for boys OR girls to get piercings…good grief…there is a word “No” in parent’s vocabulary!

sally on

Talk about SPOILING the sh*t out of her kid! He’s not at an age to decide whether he needs his ears pierced or not. Get ready, because one day he is going to tell you what a moron you are for listening to him at age 4! Be the mom and say NO. I promise it will not scar him for life. He is NOT a girl. He will figure it out in a few short years, trust me.

Cinders on

Really?!?!?!? People are griping because a 4 year old boy got his ears pierced? The world is bigger than YOUR culture, just FYI. Maybe he likes pirates! You do realize if he decides to stop wearing earrings because of, I dunno, bullies, you all fit the bill? It’s not like they won’t close if he changes his mind.
Exactly, Bonnie!

Tina on

Uh, excuse me but who’s the parent here? Since when do you let a 4 year old decide on what he/she wants? I told my son’s when they were little that the only ones who were going to have a ponytail and earrings in our family were their sister and me (their mother). So when he’s 10 are you going to allow him to wear a bra?