Just finished a post on kids and junk food, and looked up to see the teens and plastic surgery segment we ran in our 9:00 hour. Wow. A whole new level to the body-image crisis many teens face at some point or another.
I remember a game we used to play at sleepovers in middle school: go around the circle and describe the best and worst thing about how you look. Then everyone in the circle got to go around and tell you what she thought was your best and worst feature. In theory, this could have been a positive experience, but in reality every girl just clung onto the negatives and forgot any positives. Except that one girl who never went through an awkward phase and whose worst feature was the wrinkled skin on her elbows.
The idea that teens are now surgically altering their looks to get rid of these "worsts" is pretty astounding to me. I think a big part of growing up is learning to be comfortable in your own skin, and gaining confidence from within rather than the compliments someone else may pay you. The other thing I know is that I did not have any of that confidence in my own teen years and was constantly looking to that outer circle to tell me my bests and worsts. A major concern is that teens looking to have plastic surgery are reacting to feedback, be it from peers or pop-culture or anything that says to them that beauty is one certain feature or weight.
I know there are exceptions to every rule, and I am sure there are some cases where a plastic surgeon could change a deformity, which in turn could instill a high level of confidence in a teenager and help him or her have a healthy and normal life. Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and TODAY contributor, brought up the point that that new confidence may fade when something else seems to not look quite right, and the immediate response may be to go get another procedure done. Dr. Gold, a plastic surgeon, also stressed the importance of the child understanding all of the risks and results of the procedure requested. He also mentioned that he has seen young teens that are more emotionally mature than many adult patients.