Under the knife: Plastic surgery and your teen

So your teen wants to have plastic surgery. Now what? The decision to go under the knife is a tough one at any age, so here are a few tips to help handle the situation.

teenage plastic surgery

Continue to be a good role model

It may sound trite, but it’s true: Your teen is still watching and listening. At this age they are likely influenced by many things, but you are still their parent, and how you view the world will help mould them into the grown-ups they are becoming. In your heart you know your teen and other children are beautiful as individuals, regardless of the shapes of their noses, size of their breasts and whether they have protruding ears, so make sure you’re sending out the right message, and your teen might become more accepting of themselves and others during this crucial phase of their development.

Discuss the decision

Many teens just want to fit in and look “normal,” so they might think having a cosmetic procedure is the answer to their problems. But surgery doesn’t come without some risks, and it’s important your teen wants to have a procedure for themselves, not because they’ve been swayed by the expectations of others. Regardless of the surgical procedure they want to have, take the time to discuss the pros and cons of all the options, including both the physical and mental tolls of the procedure. Your child should be mature enough to have the right outlook regarding the procedure and not have unreasonable expectations of the result.

Not all procedures are alike

Sometimes plastic surgery can be the right choice from a health standpoint. There are situations where surgery might improve the physical well-being of your child, such as a breast reduction to alleviate back pain or rhinoplasty to help correct a breathing problem, but it’s not always black or white. What about their mental well-being? In this grey area there’s room to argue that some procedures that appear to be only cosmetic in nature (such as pinning back the ears) could help your child with self-esteem issues and promote better mental health.

Talk to a specialist, and make the decision together

Consulting with a reputable plastic surgeon will help you and your teen determine whether there are potential health benefits to having the procedure or if cosmetic surgery is even appropriate for your teen considering their age and maturity level. While the choice to allow your teen to have a procedure is ultimately yours as the parent of a minor, it’s important to respect your teenager and come to the decision together.

More on parenting teens

Tips for setting rules with teens
Fun ways to connect with teens
4 Ways to talk so your teen listens

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