Teens getting plastic surgery for graduation

Filed under: Just For Moms, Teens, Just For Dads, Health & Safety: Babies, Media, Day Care & Education

The class of 2007 is about to graduate and the announcements have starting filling my mailbox. I think cash is an appropriate gift for a new grad and that's what my friends' kids are getting from me. Who wouldn't want cash? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some new grads are putting something a little more personal at the top of their wish list: cosmetic surgery.

Currently, teens make up just 2% of cosmetic surgery patients in the U.S., but those numbers are growing as more kids are getting nose jobs, breast augmentations, teeth whitening and the like. When Courtney Powers graduated from high school last year, she was rewarded with a breast augmentation. Two days after her 18th birthday, she went from a 36AA to a D-cup. She earned half of the money herself, with mom and dad chipping in for the rest.

Should parents comply with their kid's desires to perfect their physical appearance? L. Kris Gowen, an adolescent developmental psychologist, says that teens aren't equipped to make this kind of decision. "Adolescents generally ground themselves in the here and now and in more concrete thinking," she says. "They don't tend to think of the long-term effects or risks of surgery but, rather, just the concrete result of 'I'll look better.'"

Believe it or not, teens getting plastic surgery is sometimes the result of pressure from the parents. A mom worried about marriage prospects may see getting a nose job as no different than having braces on your teeth and push for surgery. Dr. Brent Moelleken, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon says "Parents who have familiarity with plastic surgery will tend to have children who have more plastic surgery."

I am not a big fan of plastic surgery for adults, but for children I find the idea completely abhorrent. I would hate to think my gift of cash would be used for surgery to 'improve' the appearance of a child.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.