Body image and weight are sensitive topics for teens. With all the hormonal changes they are experiencing, their mental and emotional health becomes unstable, making them easy to trigger when bringing up their weight and other bodily changes related to puberty. But sometimes, it’s the teens themselves who bring up these conversations and seek their parents’ validation or approval.
If your teen often complains about their weight and considers cosmetic surgery, try not to be quick to judge or disapprove. They want to feel good about themselves, hence their hasty decisions. Not to mention the media influences them that thin is beautiful.
While there’s nothing wrong with getting cosmetic surgeries, a teen’s body is still changing. Their growth may affect the procedures’ results. Plus, a teen’s weight typically fluctuates, so they may find it easier to lose weight naturally.
If your teen insists on getting a procedure regardless, here’s how to approach their weight issues healthily:
1. Do Your Research
Though it can be reasonable to say no right away, do your research first, considering surgery costs. Some cosmetic surgeries are safe for teens. In addition, no law prevents them from getting cosmetic surgery. However, if they are under 18, their surgeon may require your consent.
The common cosmetic surgeries teens get regarding their weight are breast reduction and liposuction. Girls and boys may get a breast reduction. It helps relieve girls’ back pain due to their overlarge chest. In boys, the procedure helps treat gynecomastia, which causes excessive breast tissue in males.
Hence, if your teen complains about their overlarge chest, find out if they can get rid of it with diet and exercise. If they have already tried everything and still don’t see results, research how safe breast reduction is for their age.
About liposuction, it carries greater risks than diet and weight loss. Hence, doctors typically perform this surgery only in extreme cases. If your teen is morbidly obese, their doctor may recommend gastric bypass instead. The procedure would reduce the size of their stomach and intestine to help your teen stop overeating. However, gastric bypass is also risky. It doesn’t guarantee that your teen will permanently stop overeating. They might relapse after a few years and bounce back to their old weight.
2. Consider Non-surgical Procedures
Cosmetic surgery isn’t only expensive and risky. It also requires extensive physical and mental preparation. A teen may not process this reality yet while thinking of getting surgery. They are more focused on the results than the operation.
Moreover, doctors may not recommend surgery because a teen’s body hasn’t fully grown yet. So, ask your teen to consider non-surgical procedures. For instance, laser lipo can be an excellent non-surgical alternative to traditional liposuction. Research found that it has shown more promising results and fewer risks than other weight loss procedures.
However, laser lipo isn’t an instant solution to obesity. Your teen should be in a healthy weight before getting it. Encourage them to exercise and feed them nutritious meals so that you won’t contribute to their weight problems.
3. Don’t Give Cosmetic Surgery as a Gift
Some parents give teens cosmetic surgery as an eighteenth birthday or graduation present. Try to avoid doing the same. Treating cosmetic surgery as a gift can plant a dangerous mindset in a teen.
When teens see cosmetic surgery as a reward, it may enable their insecurities and make them think it is the only way to feel attractive. They may carry this mindset until adulthood and develop unrealistic beauty standards. For this reason, parents should first give guidance before encouragement to a teen who considers cosmetic surgery. Besides, surgeons won’t operate easily on a teen. They need teens and parents to fully understand the benefits and risks, particularly if the procedure results in a permanent change.
4. Encourage Healthy Eating and Routines
Whether you’d let your teen get a procedure done or not, encourage healthy eating and routines. You might be responsible for their weight issues, after all. If you often feed your teen junk food or sweets, you might’ve caused them to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Thankfully, it’s not yet too late to change that.
Join your teen as they start the journey toward a healthy lifestyle. It would make the process enjoyable instead of feeling like a punishment. You can also try different healthy recipes with your teen. Let them know that they are in control of their health and that their weight doesn’t define their beauty.
But note that it’s not going to be easy to convince your teen that they are beautiful despite their weight issues. Social media tends to convince them otherwise. Hence, be patient and avoid commenting on your teen’s weight, even if it’s a positive one. Focus on making them happy, comfortable, and confident.