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By Rena Graham
If you look at the news nowadays, well especially those concerning beauty, you might have observed that it has become a trend that parents are giving their children cosmetic surgery gift certificates as presents. In my time I was contented with just a toy or maybe a new dress for a gift, I did not know children are becoming more concerned with how they look, or do we blame the parents? Or maybe the media has a hand to play in this.
Just recently a report released by CNN showed how Madison Landis, a 18-year-old went under the knife for breast augmentation as a graduation gift from her parents. This was preceded by another incident where British mom, Sarah Burge, gave her 7-year-old daughter a gift certificate for breast implants. Naturally this would always raise some eyebrows on whether these parents have gone too far with cosmetic surgeries.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons advised that cosmetic surgery should only be done for those who are 18 and above. For Madison, she is in the clear, but it sends a message that some parents are pushing or condoning their children to feel unsatisfied with the way they look. That is how psychotherapist Susie Orbach felt and criticized that this leads their children to become reliant on cosmetic surgery.
The reason for the criticisms came from the expectation that parents should be the one who should protect the children from invasive and simply elective procedures. They are expected to be the people who should help build up the confidence of a child instead of pushing them to be unsatisfied with their bodies.
Looking at it from the perspective of the medical profession, it is important that before any procedure is done it must be established that the patient must have a good understanding and a realistic expectation. So it is a given that anyone who goes under the knife is not only physically prepared but emotionally and psychologically as well.
For some teenagers, they want to go through with the procedure because they want to gain more confidence. They want to improve a part of their bodies, especially if this has repeatedly brought them relentless teasing and ridicule. A flat chest, a pair of protruding ears, or an awkward nose, can trample a teenager’s self-esteem and being presented with a possible way out of the dilemma through surgical means seems to be a very promising solution.
For younger teens, being introduced to the idea of cosmetic surgery being an answer to the dissatisfaction with their bodies are not a good idea. Although sometimes there may be medical reasons leading them or their parents towards such methods, for instance to correct a deviated septum or to pin back protruding ears; but this should not be introduced as the only way to feel better about themselves.
Although no one can ever dictate what enhancements that an adult can do to his or her body, this is not the same with children. Their vulnerable minds should not be opened to the thought that they can depend solely on cosmetic surgery to feel better about themselves. Even if later on in life they find it necessary to make some enhancements, they should not hinge their self-esteem on the results of a cosmetic surgery. This might lead to a tendency to spiral downwards from there to addiction.
Everyone of age has the right to any cosmetic surgery they want done, but giving this as a present to young individuals send the wrong message. It somehow validates their thinking that they are inadequate or unattractive. As parents or guardians it is important that they build the children’s confidence. This is also a way for them to make more rational decisions later on, should they consider any cosmetic surgery in the future.
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