ONE IN ten mothers said they would happily allow their child to undergo cosmetic surgery to stop them feeling insecure.
Interestingly, the survey of 2,000 parents by Clinic Compare showed fathers were more likely to give permission for surgery. 14% of dads saying they’d let their offspring go under the knife.
The most common reason given for allowing surgery was to help their child address insecurities surrounding their child’s appearance. Just under half of the pro-surgery parents said they would let their child have cosmetic surgery to avoid bullying or harassment.
Consultant Plastic Surgeon and BAAPS member Nilesh Sojitra said in the 11 years he had been practising he had noticed a rapid increase in the number of under 18s coming in for cosmetic surgery.
He said: “Currently ear pinning is quite common. Parents often want their children to have it before they start school so they are not picked on, but it is not really recommended by us for them to have it so young. When parents bring four or five year olds we try and discourage it as the child should be able to have a say in it.”
He added by the age six, 85% of ear has grown, meaning the operation will not affect future growth.
Mr Sojitra added: “In the last few years I have also seen a lot of girls aged between 17-20 getting labiaplasty [vaginal shaping] something we have never seen before. Though this is probably less to do with bullying and more to do with fashion and feeling self-conscious.
“Lots of girls come to us wanting operations on their breasts, but again we try and wait because they are still developing.”
However, despite an increase in acceptance of teen surgery, most parents agreed young people should not consider surgery until they were over 18 (87%).
A visualisation of some of the responses parents gave to the question “Why wouldn’t you consider allowing your child to undergo cosmetic surgery?”.
Six per cent of parents said 16-18 year olds should be allowed to decide, and 7.2% said it was fine for under 16s to have that choice, though somewhat shockingly 2% of those said pre-teens should be allowed to make the decision.
Though it seems there is an ever increasing acceptance for children to undergo surgery for cosmetic reasons, a lot of the parents gave good reasons why they wouldn’t let their child undergo the knife.
When asked why they wouldn’t consider such an option some said they did not think it was a good idea while the body was still growing, and some were worried that a child could not be trusted with making such a big decision. Clearly some parents think their children are beautiful the way they are, but are willing to let them undergo surgery to make them feel better about themselves.