Some adults might deal with body image concerns, but you may not think young children experience this. The sad truth is that this is drastically changing. Recent surveys around the world, including one in the UK, found that kids as young as three years of age are worried about their bodies and image. This is the reason why kids are becoming interested in plastic surgery, but the question boils down to whether a parent should allow it or not.
What Drives Kids to Plastic Surgery?
There are many factors that might lead children to plastic surgery like the following:
Media promoting unrealistic beauty goals
Peers may be bullying a child
Not highlighting a child's good features or skills, which could build self-esteem
You can do something about these issues to help ensure that your child does not seek out such a drastic solution.
Why Should a Child's Body Image be Taken Seriously?
It is easy to dismiss your child's body image issues as a phase or something that your child will simply outgrow. Sure, many children outgrow their body image issues, but that does not mean this is promised.
A disturbing study shows that kids with body image problems have a higher risk of becoming depressed, anxious, and suicidal. All of these outcomes are serious, making it important that parents take action.
You can have honest conversations with your children regarding their image, or have your children visit a trained psychologist should your child's issues require one.
A parent can also get involved in a child's physical growth. This could mean going to the gym together or taking up similar activities that might boost your child's body image.
Understanding Underage Plastic Surgery
The truth is that you can try to discourage your child from wanting plastic surgery, but it may not help. It is good to know the kind of surgery that your child is interested in, as it may help focus on the underlying issue. The following are just some of the most common surgeries that kids are interesting in, according to this article:
Liposuction, which helps reduce fat
Breast adjustments, which could mean that your child wants to go bigger or smaller
Rhinoplasty, meaning that your child is unhappy with his or her nose
Genioplasty to reshape the chin
Octoplasty to reshape the ears
You should keep in mind that your child is particularly vulnerable at this stage in development. Children have an unyielding desire to fit in more than adults. Valuing your own uniqueness is something that usually happens when you mature, which is the reason why most children lack this virtue.
A child that does want to get the procedure needs to understand what it means. For one, the changes made today might affect your child later on in life. You should talk to the plastic surgeon to find out how the changes might affect your child in the future.
You should remember that your child's mental health and capabilities will be evaluated before surgery is allowed. Of course, some children do not pass this evaluation and still get the procedure because the parents allow it. Keep in mind that you are given the right to opt for the procedure only if you prove that you are acting in your child's best interest.
There is no doubt that this is a heavy subject to tackle and one that brings up a lot of ethical questions. The key is to be open, and learn how to talk to your children so that you are always aware of your child's thoughts and feelings.