A few weeks ago NBC’s The Today Show aired a segment on teenagers obtaining plastic surgery as a means to avoid being the target for bullying. Bullying is the new epidemic in the lives of our children and teenagers, with the consequences being deadly in some circumstances. For most children, however, it is a normal part of life and does not greatly affect them in the long term. Whether it is due to prevention of bullying, in reaction to bullying, or to improve their physical appearance, more teens are resorting to plastic surgery.
Although it may be beneficial for some teenagers, there are a few problems that I see with this trend. Bullying is a fact of life, there is probably no teenager that goes through school without being made fun of, talked about, or teased for one reason or another. If a teen were to get plastic surgery to change their appearance, it is likely they will only be made fun of for something else. One thing specifically that may still make them a target is the fact that they had plastic surgery. Since a lot of teasing is not even based on legitimate reasons, there is no guarantee that the name calling will end due to the surgery either. It is more important to teach our children skills on how to deal with bullies and to help them build their self-esteem, especially since as I stated before, chances are they will just get picked on for something else. Children need to be taught that self-esteem needs to come from within and that who you are on the inside is more important than appearance.
Another worry when children and teens are requesting plastic surgery is the possibility of a body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a disorder in which an individual sees nonexistent flaws with their physical appearance. So if your child insists they need rhinoplasty but everyone believes she’s got the cutest little nose, therapy may be in order. Individuals who have BDD tend to seek plastic surgery for their perceived flaws but are never satisfied afterwards. They find more and more “flaws” to have “fixed”.
Bottom line is that this is a decision that cannot be made in haste. Take time to think it out, weigh your options and really decide if there is more positives than negatives to obtaining plastic surgery.