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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Parents, Adults and Teens » My Beautiful Mommy

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Author Topic: My Beautiful Mommy
SnailShells
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http://www.mybeautifulmommy.com/

"Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a renowned plastic surgeon, wrote My Beautiful Mommy to help patients explain their transformation to their children. The story guides children through Mommy's surgery and healing process in a friendly, nonthreatening way."


I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of trying to justify plastic surgery to kids. What do you think?

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“I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” --John Waters

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orca
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I've wondered about that for a long time. How do kids, especially young kids, get used to their parents looking different?

My father had a beard for the longest time, and then one day decided to shave it off. My older brother was really young at the time (probably only 4 years old) and started crying when he saw our father because he didn't recognize him and couldn't understand what happened to his daddy. Now, facial hair is one thing, but an entirely different face? How are children supposed to understand that?

You could also think about what kind of an impact it will have on children when they get older. Will they then be more likely to have body image issues? Will they be more likely to get plastic surgery themselves? I think it definitely shouldn't be taken lightly the kind of impact plastic surgery can have on a family and their dynamics.

Great topic, by the way!

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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SnailShells
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Definately. I still can't imagine trying to explain to a kid why you need breast implants. I don' know...children are highly impressionable, and I think it's a bit much to be telling them what is beautiful and what is not and therefore must be changed.
My friend was terrible; she saw this and said, "Oh, they left out the whole title. It's My Beautiful Mommy: Planting the Seeds of Deep-Rooted Body Image Issues In the Next Generation."

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“I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” --John Waters

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hs123
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My mom had a mastectomy when I was 7. She did it for medical reasons (both my grandmother and my aunt had breast cancer, and she didn't want to get it) but I didn't know it at the time.

I don't really think that that influenced my self-esteem or, much else, because there are so many other factors that more strongly influence self-esteem.
Maybe I didn't understand why she did it at the time, and I was scared out of my mind when I knew that she was having surgery that as far as I knew "she didn't need." In fact, when she had the surgery I didn't go to school, and I didn't go to school every time she went to the doctor about it because I was so scared, but with me, I thought more about my mom than I did about how it affected me. In my mind, her breast size didn't affect my life at all- heh, that sounds funny.

Sorry, I forgot to add- maybe my case was different because my parents most definitely did not play it off as a beauty issue, or a self-esteem issue. They didn't tell me why, so I just felt it was unneccesary, but they didn't even try to explain "mommy wants to be prettier" or "mommy wants to feel better about herself"
Maybe if this was the case, and they had explained it this way, I would've had more issues with it.

[ 04-21-2008, 04:01 AM: Message edited by: hs123 ]

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Stephanie_1
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You know, looking at this topic and having read through some additional information about Dr. Salzhauer’s book – I can’t help but wonder what the teen years would be like. I remember back to some of the difficult moments of body image issues in my teens and can distinctly remember my parents always telling me how beautiful I was, and what a wonderful person I was. It was an amazing thing to always feel like they were telling the truth.

I don’t know that if my mother chose to have plastic surgery and it wasn’t something like hs123 is describing above where it’s needed for medical reasons that I could believe their telling me that I should love me as I am. If a mother wasn’t happy being herself – isn’t it then okay for her children to be unhappy being themselves? I think it very well could lead to increased body image issues.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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hs123
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I really do disagree, and maybe I'm biased because my mom had plastic surgery, but I really do believe that if explained correctly, though a child may not neccesarily understand it completely, that it will not have such a great impact on a child- at least not on their self-esteem, and self-image.

There are just so many more factors that influence a persons self-esteem, be it culture, media, peers, that I think may be more influencial than someone having surgery.
Especially if someone has a good relationship with their parents, I don't believe that the fact that their parent had cosmetic surgery would influence if they believed their parents when they said that their child was beautiful.

I had more body image issues from looking at abercrombie and fitch models who fit into size 00s, or from my classmates who were obsessed with their diets.

But then again, i guess it all depends on the child, and the parents. It's pretty individual I guess.

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JamsessionVT
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I think it also has to do with what other decisions the parents make in that line of thinking.

My parents always told me I was beautiful, but they also emphasized other characteristics: my fierce need for independence, my spirit, my sense of humor, and my intelligence, things that really made me who I am, and things they deemed as important to embrace and recognize. If parents don't reinforce these ideas, and only toute on looks, then I think cosmetic surgery might have a greater effect. It might alter what that child sees as "beautiful" if they only view beauty in the physical sense.

Same thing goes for mothers or fathers (and I know plenty who do this) who are passive-aggressive about how they approach body issues. Comments like "You're eating THAT?" and "Those jeans/that shirt looks a little tight on you", even if not meant to be critical, can make children ashamed of themselves and their bodies, and having parents alter their physical state for the sake of looks can only reinforce those feelings.

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acgal
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I wonder if our world will end up like a Twilight Zone episode I watched once.

Once the girls turned 16 they had "The Operation" when they had two perfect images to choose from. They would choose the image they liked and they would go through a procedure that would make the girl look like that. So basically the society looked all alike.

This book just scares me. Is plastic surgery so prevelant in our society that we need to have children's books about it?

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Heather
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I think it is that prevalent, acgal, particularly in middle-to-upper class culture. Take a look here.

While the approach of this book isn't something that, looking at the website, looks like what I'd get on board with (after all, Mommy was beautiful before she went under the knife, too, and you don't have to tell a little kid that), particularly considering the developing body image of children and how children can tend to think and process things, certainly children with parents getting these procedures are going to need something to try and understand why their mother has bandages on her face or body, and why she's likely to be in a lot of pain while she heals. Healing from cosmetic surgery is no cakewalk, and it's got to be tough for a kid to try and understand why a parent not only is in that pain, but that they chose to be in such pain for cosmetic reasons. Since kids don't think like adults when it comes to appearance, and will tend to think their parents are beautiful, explaining this can't be easy. (Again, this is about elective cosmetic surgery, from what I can gather, not surgery due to health conditions.)

As well, having your parent suddenly look very different to you has got to be a tough thing to handle.

Heck, I know even just growing up with a mother who, even when we barely had enough to eat already, was pretty chronically obsessed with dieting, and who cut down her own appearance all the time was confusing. I just didn't get it, and remember full well trying to figure out what my beautiful mother was seeing when she looked in the mirror, since it clearly wasn't what I was when I saw her. I also remember the point at which everything she thought about herself and I heard for years clearly started to get under my skin and be something I applied to myself, so.

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ausam
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While I think that book is kinda hillarious, lol. I have to say, that I have nothing at all against parents having plastic surgery, but that may be because I have had plastic surgery myself. I had my ears tucked back and a nose job. Two plastic surgeries. Yes. People ar thrown off when they find out. But I really am a normal person and I am much much much more confident now that i've had the surgery and I plan, in my future, to have "nose job funds" set up for my children. My mother totally supported my desire for a nosejob and even paid for more than half of it, so I will be ever so supportive of my children if they also want their ears tucked or a nose job. I will also not hide the fact that I had it done. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of. I tell anybody who bashes plastic surgery about my nose and ears, because all people see if the vanity side of plastic surgery. I do not beleive in breast implnts for the sake of having huge boobs, but I do think breast lifts/reductions, tummy tucks, nose jobs, and ear pinning can be very useful surgeries in helping a person's self-confidence.

That being said. I dont think that a book like that is truly right in what it is saying. You should not explain to your children that surgery will make you prettier, because seriously, that is exploiting the vanity side of plastic surgery, which just seems wrong to tell a child in my opinion. I would never tell my kids "I got a nose job so I wouldnt be so effin ugly" haha. I kinda just wanna burn that book haha.

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DaisyMazy
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Just out of curiosity, by "nose job fund" do you mean something like a college fund, you would set up when your child was young, in case they want plastic surgery, or just helping them pay for it when they want it. Not judging, just trying to figure that out. I haven't had plastic surgery, but in most cases, be it for yourself or others approval, isn't the underlying cause not being happy with your physical appearance? jw.
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ausam
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Yea something like a college fund, that if when they were older they did not want a nose job, it would just be put into their college fund. And yes, it does have to do with not liking you appearance, but also what comes with that. I think of my nose job as the exact same thing as braces. Both my sisters had braces because their teeth were unappealing appearance-wise, not because their crooked teeth were actually harming them physically. I had a nose job because my nose was unappealing appearance-wise, not because it was harming me physically [though both crooked teeth and a large nose can cause emotional harm]. I wouldn't want me kids to have to endure emotional harm they dont have to. I look at is as exactly the same as braces. I know many people dont share this view, but it's for sure my opinion on it, and how I explain my choices to most people.
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