Is a picture book the best way to teach children about cosmetic surgery?

Posted on the 22 November 2011 at 09:30

As more and more people go under the knife, cosmetic surgery is becoming widely acceptable in society.  Of course, this is something that people will forever argue the toss over, but putting the facts and figures to one side for a second, it’s interesting to think about how education about surgery can be woven into the way people raise their children.

If it’s true that most people will know someone – family, friends, work colleague – who’s had surgery these days, surely this means that educating youngsters about cosmetic surgery is a natural step.

This isn’t about selling surgery to children, it’s about giving them the facts to allow them to make an informed choice should the subject be raised when their older. Just as teenagers are taught about sex, relationships, drugs and alcohol in their PSHE lessons in schools.

A couple of years ago, Newsweek reported on the case of Gabriela Acosta, a US mum who went under the knife for a tummy tuck to rid herself of the flabby skin left behind by weight loss. She spoke to her surgeon, Dr Michael Salzhauer about the best way to broach the subject with her young son. He suggested giving him 'My Beautiful Mommy' , a picture book he had produced for this very purpose.

The book tells the tale of a mum who’s having a nose job and tummy tuck and how she broaches the subject with her daughter. The happy tale concludes by explaining that having surgery will make mum “even more” beautiful than before. After reading the book to Junior, Ms Acosta said that her son felt reassured. “I didn't want him to think [the surgery] was because I was hurting. It was to make me feel good,” she commented.

Although the book is likely to have provoked uproar in some quarters, this case study proves that it certainly could have its worth. Rather than doling the book out to every child, it could be kept in reserve for those whose parents are to go under the knife. Rather than promote the idea that plastic surgery is something everyone can do it, could be used to get the facts clear and straight.

Cosmetic surgery is now a fact of life for many people – and isn’t it the job of parents and teachers to make the facts of life as accessible, relevant and easy to understand for the next generation?

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