The quest for beautiful children

By Chen Ximeng Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-14 18:08:02

Parents want kids to have plastic surgery

Some parents want their young children to have plastic surgery in pursuit of a more beautiful face, but experts are advising against this, saying it could cause both physical and mental harm to their children. Photo: IC

"Doctor, can you make my daughter a pair of dimples just like Li Zi (a famous Hong Kong actress)?" That was the request of a 29-year-old mother surnamed Liang from Wuhan, Hubei Province, when she recently took her five-year-old daughter to Wuhan Women and Children Medical Care Center.

But the doctor refused, saying that such a young girl whose body and mind are far from reaching maturity, is not of an appropriate age to undergo plastic surgery, the Wuhan-based Chutian Golden News reported in May.

This report once again cast the spotlight on an increasingly new phenomenon - that of parents wanting their little children to have a better appearance and they think plastic surgery is a quick fix. In 2012, a Chongqing mother went so far as to take her one-year-old daughter for double eyelid surgery, the Chongqing Evening News reported. 

Han Xuefeng, associate chief physician of plastic surgery at Beijing's Plastic Surgery Hospital,  told Metropolitan that over the past two years younger and younger people have been receiving plastic surgery.

"Even a twelve-year-old girl was brought by her parents to my hospital, wanting to have double eyelid surgery," said Han.

Most parents Han said, want their children to have nose jobs or double eyelid surgery.

"Adults usually compare themselves to celebrities and stars who they want to model themselves on, but usually there are no models for children," he said.

Han said most plastic surgeons in China, won't agree to do plastic surgery on young children and those under 16 years of age. But there have been some exceptions where doctors acted against acceptable professional conduct. Faced with much resistance from doctors in China, some parents even travel to South Korea for their children to have plastic surgery.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a staff member from a plastic surgery hospital in South Korea who also didn't want to name the hospital she works at, said usually the hospital wouldn't do bone-related surgery on children because they are still growing. But doctors would consider doing double eyelid or other minor surgeries on children. This hospital has seen several Chinese parents bringing their young children for plastic surgery over the past two years, she said.

Still, Han believes that whether it is bone-related surgery or more minor procedures, children are not recommended for plastic surgery.

"For instance, a child's nose will develop considerably between the ages of 14 and 16 years. If you change the physical shape of the body through surgery, it is pointless and will pose great problems for their development," said Han.

But Han said there are some special cases in which plastic surgery will be considered for children. These include those with congenital malformations such as cleft lip and palate or scars caused by accidents. The sooner children undergo these surgeries, the better.

Liu Zhenhua, a psychologist who specializes in children education, pointed out that the reason for parents wanting their children to have plastic surgery is because of the influence of TV shows and entertainment programs.

"Some parents think that if their children can enter the entertainment world [because they are beautiful], they can be saved from the hardships of studies. More concerning is that some of these parents expect fame and fortune for themselves, if their children become famous," said Liu.

Liu warns that such behavior could also have a negative psychological effect on children, making them believe that they are not beautiful and accepted by their parents.

"There are many sad cases of people who are not even ugly but still they are obsessed by plastic surgery and this can be attributed to their parents who did not accept their appearance when they were younger," said Liu, adding that parents should properly understand their children's growth and development.

Posted in: Metro Beijing

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