Explaining Plastic Surgery to Kids

Posted: August 20, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives

In case you become addicted to plastic surgery and are concerned about how your children will react to your “new self,” don’t stress. There is a book called “My Beautiful Mommy” written by Floridian plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Salzhauer, that is “sure” to calm your child’s fears when you walk through the door looking like Kathy Griffin. If you couldn’t tell, I’m being 100 percent sarcastic. I guess I understand why some adult women would choose to get plastic surgery. Self-esteem is important for everyone, and if you can do something to fix broken self-esteem, by all means, have at it. I wouldn’t go under the knife myself, but I understand why another adult might, and I would never judge them for it unless they started to resemble Joan Rivers (becoming addicted and fixing anything and everything on their bodies), or bought “My Beautiful Mommy” to explain it to their children. I think the title of this book is what really bothers me. It seems like it’s teaching kids to idealize beauty–unnatural beauty. Aimed at children aged four to seven, it’s like saying “Honey, I don’t like my nose, so I’m fixing it. And you can do the same thing.”

Here is an actual passage from the book:

“Mom explains she’s going to have operations on her nose and tummy and may have to take it easy for a week or so. The girl asks if the operations will hurt, and mom replies, ‘Maybe a little,’ warning she’ll look different after the bandages come off,” writes Leanne Italie of the Associated Press.
The girl asks: ‘Why are you going to look different?’
Mom responds: ‘Not just different, my dear –prettier.’”

Would you really want to be teaching your four-year-old that if they think they have a funny bend in their nose that they can “fix it,” rather than tell them it’s beautiful the way it is? If your seven-year-old starts eating loads of junk food and doesn’t like how fat they’ve become, would you teach them they have the option of eventually getting a tummy tuck, or would you teach them healthy eating habits? I would never want to teach my kids, especially at such an impressionable age, to be self-critical. The goal of this book is to help children understand a change in the appearance of their mothers who choose to have plastic surgery. Obviously, plastic surgery means that mommy is going to be bandaged up for a while and not able to do much, leaving any child to wonder. So how do you explain such a surgery to your kids without simultaneously teaching them to pick themselves apart and question how to make them different? Well, I’m not a mother and would never consider plastic surgery for myself, but if I did put myself in that situation, I, first of all, wouldn’t go for a drastic surgery. I wouldn’t do anything to significantly alter my appearance. I would be more concerned with explaining the reason why I’m in a hospital and bandaged up. I wouldn’t want to lie to my kids, but I definitely think it’s more important for them to grow up without thinking that a quick fix to their appearance is the way to go about changing the way they look.

How would you explain it?

-Julia Fuino
  1. […] is aimed at kids aged 6-12. Really!? Kids, especially young girls, are extremely susceptible to body image issues, particularly when they are entering their teen years. Despite having good intentions, this book is […]

  2. […] Miami, Florida. Just the city’s name brings images of bikinis, sunshine, beaches and wild parties to mind. Nowadays, it also makes people think of plastic surgery. […]

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