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My daughter wants me to pay for her breast enlargement

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 22 April 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

My 18 year old daughter has begged me to pay for her to have her breasts enlarged for her birthday. She says her tiny chest makes her so self-conscious, and she's constantly miserable. She won't wear anything revealing and can't bear to go out with her friends because she thinks she's ugly.

I am absolutely against this kind of surgery, but am I just being selfish. This situation is causing me great misery. Would appreciate some advice.

Patricia Marie says...

Dealing with the body image issues of a teenager can be a complex situation. Adolescence is a time of rapid physical change, and girls in particular can be vulnerable to outside pressures about their appearance, from both friends and the media, which can contribute to self-dissatisfaction. 

You are approaching this dilemma from a mother’s perspective, and are not being selfish, but wanting to protect your daughter from making what you believe to be a drastic decision. Nevertheless, try to listen empathically to her point of view, and whilst you may not agree with what she has to say, you may gain a better understanding of her motivation to have breast augmentation. Both the risks and benefits must be openly considered. Ask her if she truly believes enhancing her figure in this way will change her life for the better. She needs to have a realistic perception of the surgery and its outcome, such as her physical recovery, including restrictions on work and social activities, and how she will cope with any complications. Also coax her to assess how she expects to feel about her new body image and the reaction of others once she has her implants. Once you have discussed this, perhaps she will see that embarking on any cosmetic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly, and that it may be a good idea to reconsider this when she is a little older. For the time being, remind your daughter there is a huge range of beautiful bras available that can enhance all body shapes instantly.

How she currently perceives herself is making her miserable, and I believe she may be suffering from low self-esteem. It would be helpful if she were to explore this with a counsellor. This will  hopefully enable her to gain self-acceptance, which she will learn can only come from within, and not necessarily by enlarging her breasts.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Tel: 01455 883300

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