DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is a popular social media influencer. Since she has become more popular, she has been entertaining the idea of having plastic surgery to keep up a particular image that the media puts out there for society. I am totally against it. I think she became popular being who she is, and changing that is not going to make her more popular. Apart from that, it is expensive and dangerous, and she wants me to help her pay for it. Why are millennials so focused on their appearance and wanting to change it? She is beautiful. — Mother of a Beauty
DEAR MOTHER OF A BEAUTY: A huge challenge of being so engaged with social media is managing a healthy self-image. People judge so harshly on social media, both liking and dismissing aspects of those they view in a blink. Never mind how the people being judged are affected by the click of a finger on a computer or handheld device.
As a parent, your job is fierce. You must constantly remind your daughter of her value and work to help her see that she is beautiful as she is, inside and out. If your daughter is still a minor, you can forbid her from having plastic surgery. But more, you should encourage her to employ temporary alterations rather than permanent ones as she explores her personal appearance.
Makeup application can change the appearance of one’s facial features without ever using a knife. (I remember when I was a young model, a makeup artist suggested that I get a nose job. He hurt my feelings, but I opted to use contour instead!) Wardrobe alterations can often make a difference in one’s appearance by camouflaging or emphasizing curves, depending on the desired effect, rather than taking drastic measures with surgery.
DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to your reply to the Family With a Dog, I wanted to add: Training children to be responsible is a very important goal. Sometimes children need help and encouragement in the form of rewards and recognition. Helping each member of a family feel good about their contribution helps build self-esteem. This is an important task for the parent and not as easy as creating negative consequences. Parenting classes and family meetings can make a huge difference in learning how to raise children positively. — Positive Reinforcement
DEAR POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: You are absolutely right that it is important to teach children to be responsible. In general, this is an important principle. It is key with animals — with the lives of these pets. Pointing out how grateful pets are for their love and support can be inspiring. Showing kids the impact that their individual actions have on the well-being of the family pet can be uplifting and engaging.
Your recommendation for parenting classes is great — for those who have the time and money to devote to that. I also appreciate the idea of family meetings. When there is a weekly time scheduled for all family members to gather and talk about the needs, goals and responsibilities of the family, you create space for regular discussion about whatever is going on for all family members. Great ideas! Thanks.