In our eyes, our children are perfect. They are these God-given creatures that have no malice, no imperfections, and zero insecurities. But this blindness to what our kids’ go through every single day is also the reason why we get surprised when they blurt out during dinner that they hate the way they look. They want a cosmetic surgery procedure as a birthday gift. For graduation, they want to undergo augmentation mammoplasty. Another kid pipes up; he wants to have a liposuction procedure.
Where are these thoughts coming from? Why does your 13-year-old want a lip filler? Why is your nine-year-old looking at how much it costs to get a nose job? What is wrong with the world? Unfortunately, even if the hashtag “#loveyourself” trends every so often on Twitter, celebrities and influencers aren’t walking the talk. They continue to present themselves as these near-to-perfect beings with flawless skin and well-toned abs on Instagram.
Whom Do You Blame?
That isn’t their fault, of course. That’s not even social media’s fault. It’s not the fault of companies that create these photo filters to make social media photos look as unnatural as possible. Somehow, even amid all the hullaballoo, it falls on your lap. When children grow up as insecure teenagers, ask yourself this question: what did you miss?
Amid all the piano and ballet lessons, did you even ask your kids if they have friends in school? While you’re busy meeting with clients at night, did you find time before bedtime to tell your kids they are beautiful. These reinforcements of love and praise are so important in the growing-up years. With peer pressure alone, it will be so difficult for teenagers to tell themselves they are enough. You don’t tell them to love themselves and they automatically do. They have to love themselves way before their turbulent teenage years get the better of them.
And you have to be there. As a parent, you have to be present in their lives even if you barely sleep at night. You have to know every nitty bitty about their life—how they feel about themselves, how they socialize, how well they are doing in school, etc.
Don’t Freak Out
It’s normal to feel a sense of panic when your teenage kids suddenly tell you they want to undergo the knife. You get tempted to shout “no!” However, remember to listen to why they want it in the first place. Do not underestimate your kids. For all you know, they have done their research. They are sure about what they want. They think this is the best choice for them given the circumstances.
You cannot force your kids to accept their flaws (even though these are not flaws in your eyes). Educate yourself about why it could be beneficial for them to go under the knife. Old beliefs and traditions don’t work anymore. These kids must be heard. If they are sure about their decision, take them to a therapist or counselor. Make sure they are mentally prepared for the procedure and what it will mean to them after.
It is easy to shake off your kids’ feelings of inadequacy. What do they know, right? They haven’t gone through half of what you’ve gone through, so why should their feelings matter? Times are different now. These kids are facing the most technologically advanced society you will ever know. They have access to more information in ways that you can’t even begin to understand. Listen to them. Their concerns, worries, and issues are all valid.