If you are a parent and have decided to have plastic surgery, you may be nervous about talking about it with your kids. Many parents want to be honest, but are unsure of how to start the conversation or answer questions in an age-appropriate manner. A lot of parents are also concerned that their children will then seek out plastic surgery themselves.
Your children look up to you, and what you tell them can leave an impression on the way they understand the world around them and their self-confidence. Thus, many patients feel this conversation with their kids is one of the most difficult. While every family is different, there are some things to keep in mind as you get ready to talk to your children about your plastic surgery.
Here are some tips that will hopefully help make the discussion easier:
1. For young children, don’t create a mystery.
Some parents decide to conceal the plastic surgery from their young children, hiding the operation and even sending their children away until they’ve fully recovered. However, many parents and surgeons advise against this. Children are perceptive, often more so than we give them credit for, and they’ll understand that something is going on. Seeing your bandages or wondering why you are going to the doctor so often may cause them to make their own assumptions, leading to feelings of fear and anxiety.
2. Instead, practice effective communication.
Some parents may go into a state of denial or ignore their young children’s questions completely. Most surgeons recommend openly communicating to children instead. This doesn’t mean you have to go into great detail, but you should convey that you are having surgery not because you are sick or in pain, but because you want to feel good. If you make the conversation positive, then your child is likely to respond similarly.
3. If you have teenagers, you will probably need a more in-depth conversation.
If your kids are older, they may react very personally to your plastic surgery. They may feel guilty or think they are the reason you don’t feel confident about your body. Or they may think there is something wrong with them and that they, too, need plastic surgery. If you are a parent of older children, you’ll have to make sure that you have an open discussion with your teenagers.
4. Emphasize positive body image to your children:
You may be concerned about your children’s own self-esteem and body image after you decide to get plastic surgery, particularly if your children are older. The best way to frame the discussion is to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with them, just like there is nothing wrong with you. Tell your children they are beautiful the way they are, and that their bodies are still changing and forming. Convey that inner beauty and confidence is the most meaningful form of beauty. Explain that you have had years to get to know your body, and that you are getting plastic surgery to enhance your inner beauty by restoring the physical body you once had.
5. Start the conversation sooner, rather than later.
Plastic surgery appears on TV, the Internet, and the media, so your children may already have preconceived notions about plastic surgery. The sooner that you talk to them, the sooner they’ll really be able to understand what is going on, without resorting to their imagination or referencing portrayals in the media. Children are naturally adaptable, so telling them sooner rather than later is best.
Plastic surgery is a tough subject to discuss with your family, and especially tricky to navigate when talking to your children. But just as parents love their children, your children love you. Assure your children that although you may look different, you are still the same person. In the long run, you’ll appreciate having been open and honest with them.
Still deciding on whether or not you’d like to have plastic surgery? Interested in learning more? Chat with one of our world-class plastic surgeons today.