NEW YORK, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- "A girl I know was looking in the mirror
and she asked her mother if her nose was big," says Jean, a seventeen-year-old
from New Jersey. "Her mom's response was, 'You could get a nose job the summer
after your senior year. No one would know when you got to college.'"
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In the August issue of Teen Vogue, Kara Jesella, beauty and health editor,
writes about the harsh criticism teens face from their own parents. ("Parent
Trap," page 178). Jesella notes that you know your parents are going to nag
you about your reckless driving or your less-than-stellar English grade or
your sullen boyfriend. But, it hurts to have your mom and dad appraise your
looks the same way they would a car or a stereo.
Virginia Blum, author of Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery
who at age 18 was pressured by her own parents to get rhinoplasty, which led
to a botched nose job and a preoccupation with body image states, "The parent
is supposed to protect the child against the anxiety. The parent isn't
supposed to be a teenager, too."
Jesella speaks to personal trainers, plastic surgeons and teens who tell
her that this is a growing problem between teens and their parents -- one that
may be spiraling out of control. Oz Garcia, head of health and nutritional
services at Equinox Health Clubs in New York City, has had mothers bring in
their daughters, aspiring ballerinas, "They're sixteen, seventeen, eighteen,
and as thin as they're going to get, and Mom wants them to take off five more
pounds so they'll get into the ballet corps." Or there's the mother who
marched into his office with her arms crossed and outed her daughter's secret
bingeing by asking, "Did she tell you about the candy wrappers behind the bed
and in the closet?"
Jesella speaks to a plastic surgeon who met with a girl to discuss getting
a mole removed. "The mother started worrying about the scar, then asked, 'What
about getting her chin liposuctioned?' The daughter was so embarrassed."
"Parents don't realize the role they are playing in destroying the self
image of their teen when they criticize their looks or what they are eating,"
Jesella explains, "Teens are fighting so hard to establish a positive self
image and parents need to help reinforce positive beauty messages to their
Carrie, a sixteen-year-old from Rye, New York shares the story of her
friend Jennifer who gained a couple of pounds in college, nothing to raise an
eyebrow over. But, Jennifer's mom did more than raise an eyebrow when she saw
her daughter at the end of her first semester away. Her mom pointed to
different parts of Jennifer's body -- her thighs, her hips, her tummy -- and
indicated exactly what kind of damage had been done. "She'd say, three pounds
there, five pounds there, three pounds there."
Jesella observes that some mothers may get upset when their daughter is
overweight-feeling as though she is not representing the parent correctly.
They may fear being judged as being a bad parent. Parents may feel like they
are doing it out of love for their child or their comments may be fueled from
their own struggles with their looks and weight. And some just simply do not
have the patience to wait until their child grows into their looks.
As seventeen-year-old Lara from Brooklyn says, "Teenage girls think that
everyone thinks they're fat. Parents have to be really careful about what
they say, and a lot of times they aren't ... They don't know how heavily we
weigh their opinions."
SOURCE Teen Vogue