After their children graduate from high schools, parents often like to reward them with a gift to celebrate their success and achievements.
If the family can afford it, many teens and young adults get expensive gifts intended to enhance the next stage of their life. A new car, for example, will help them go where they need to go and give them a sense of independence. A trip backpacking around Europe with some buddies would give them a cultural experience and teach life lessons.
But what about a new set of boobs? Or a little liposuction so your daughter looks stellar in her grad dress? Maybe a nose job would be in order after all, no one in the new city she’s headed to knows how she looked before it’s the opportune moment.
Sound a little scary to be putting a 17 or 18 year-old under the knife? Many graduates don’t think so. In fact, it’s one of the top items on their wish lists for grad, along with teeth whitening and skin resurfacing.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 244,124 U.S. teens (between 13 and 19 years old) had cosmetic surgery last year. That’s nearly double what it was in 2002. In 2006, 47,000 nose jobs and 9,000 breast augmentations were performed on those who had yet to celebrate their 20th birthdays.
ASPS president, Dr. Roxanne Guy says that TV shows about plastic surgery (Extreme Makeover, The Swan, Nip Tuck) help boost their desires. Our society is becoming increasingly accepting of plastic surgery. Julio Iglesias admitted that he had surgery. He also acknowledged his deep regret for doing so. He also said he would consider surgery again, as long as it was performed by a more competent doctor.
Ashlee Simpson had her nose reconstructed. Tara Reid had breast augmentation. Gene Simmons had work done on his face. In Lebanon, banks are offering loans for those looking to have plastic surgery done. Procedures are becoming more affordable, less painful and more possible to attain Canada even offers a 5 Minute Nosejob.
It’s become accepted in our society. But should parents comply when their young teen, who is not yet fully developed, expresses a desire to surgically alter their appearance? What does this teach them about self-acceptance? Parents want their teens to have confidence, but by endorsing procedures that alter their child’s appearance, parents are, in a sense, telling them that they are not OK how they are.
Graduation is a time of transition and self-discovery; young adults face the world both with excitement and fear. When leaving an old life behind, the most important thing you can take with you is a good sense of self. Those who are insecure often fall prey to peer pressure. This confusing time can lead to identity issues and partying, drinking and drugs often make it easier for them to feel comfortable in their skin.
Letting a child step into the world with a new body or face may seem to give them confidence, but it is not real. Whether or not a parent supports cosmetic surgery is up to their discretion. If a teenager is that unhappy with their image though, they will still want the surgery in five years. Offer to pay for it then. At 17 or 18 years old, the majority of people are not yet fully developed.
And what do they know what they want at that point? Do you they know what they want to study after school? Know what career path they would like to follow? Most girls can’t even figure out what to wear to their prom.
Any parent would love to help their child achieve confidence, but if they decide to support surgery, it is crucial to realize that deep down, they will never like who they are. Who is your daughter? Is she the huge set of knockers? Those Angelina lips? Or is she the woman underneath? The intelligent one comfortable with who she is, who knows she can rely on herself, and that who she is in her natural state is more than good enough.
Jane Fonda agrees, according to the Malaysia Sun. She said she dreads going to Hollywood because she hates seeing all the young women who had had cosmetic procedures done. The star admits to having work done in the past but says she won’t be doing anymore. She wants to spread a positive message to young women, “We’ve got to show young girls that you can grow old and still live and have sex, and be erotic, and have fun - and have wrinkles,”
Photo: Plastic Surgery Associates of New York