The teen years are a time of great promise and hope – as well as newfound independence. But they can also be fraught with confusion and insecurity, especially as your teen’s body changes from a child’s to an adult. While most teens take these changes in stride eventually, some may feel that these insecurities never go away – or worse, increase. If your teen suffers from a poor self-image, it can impact his or her entire life. From plummeting grades to shying away from social events, a teen’s low self-esteem can wreak havoc on their life. But what happens when your teen comes to you and asks for plastic surgery to help change their features? Here’s a parent guide to talking to teens about plastic surgery.
“Mom, I need a nose job!”
Imagine your teen coming to you in tears saying she needs a nose job. There are several questions you should ask yourself before addressing your teen.
First, does she have a point? Is her nose large, or does it have a bump or odd shape? Or is she just panicking because she’s having a moment of insecurity. If it’s the latter, reassure your teen that her nose is beautiful and tell her if she still doesn’t like it when she turns 18 she’s welcome to get a rhinoplasty then.
If her nose is big or has a bump or other aspect to it that might be considered unappealing, discuss what she would change about it if she could. Are those changes realistic? Is she looking for her nose, minus the bump, or is she looking for something completely different – and impossible to create? If her request is reasonable and she is at least 16, schedule a consultation with Dr. Chau to discuss her options. She may change her mind – or you may change yours.
“My ears stick out.”
Some kids are born with bigger ears than others. This is easier to hide in young women, because there are a variety of hairstyles they can choose from that will help disguise the size or positioning of their ears. Unfortunately, some ears still stick out regardless of how much hair they have. And for young men, hiding ears behind hair isn’t always an option.
If your teen is unhappy with the size or positioning of his or her ears, there is a procedure that can correct this and help your teen like what they see when they look in the mirror. The procedure has been performed on children as young as 11 and can make a big impact in your teen’s self-esteem.
“Can I get breast implants?”
Breast augmentation is typically not performed on teens. In fact, in most places the minimum age is 18 for saline implants and 21 for silicone. If your teen is unhappy with her breast shape or size because of a deformity, speak to her doctor about your options for correcting this problem. Sometimes special exceptions can be made under some circumstances.
On the other hand, if your teen is just unhappy with the size of her breasts, let her know she cannot have surgery until she is older, and try to help her appreciate her body the way it is in the meantime.
Before you call …
Before you call Dr. Chau to schedule your consultation, make sure your teen is requesting plastic surgery for the right reasons. Does she want bigger breasts because her boyfriend said she needs them? Is she trying to look like a friend who is shaped differently? Is she feeling momentarily insecure because prom is coming? Whatever his or her motivation, remind your teen that plastic surgery is usually permanent – and if it’s reversible, it will not only cost a lot, but will also require a second recovery period. Furthermore, if your teen participates in sports – from track to basketball, ballet to cheer – surgery may not only interrupt their sports schedule, but may also affect their ability to play once they’ve recovered.
If you’re ready to schedule a consultation for you and your teen to discuss his or her plastic surgery options, please give Dr. Chau a call at 888-966-9471.