"Barbie Mom" & Teen Botox; When Does a Parent Go Too Far?

By Tara Weng, GalTime.com
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The news that Anderson Cooper kicked Sarah Burge --a.k.a. Barbie Mom-- off his talk show has quickly gone viral.

When she couldn't provide any rational explanation for her teenaged beauty pageant daughter's Botox treatments, Anderson decided he had had enough and asked her to leave. (The Human Barbie has reportedly undergone $500,000 worth of surgeries on herself and also made news for giving her 8-year-old plastic surgery vouchers.)

While Cooper himself has admitted the behavior was ungentlemanly, the majority of those asked are giving a big thumbs up to the talk show host for standing his ground and refusing to give her more press.


Related: Stop the Teen 'Toxing' Craze!

Watch it all unfold:




The real question at hand: Is it okay for a parent to insist that her child receive seemingly unnecessary, potentially dangerous treatments all in the name of beauty?

While this specific example seems outrageous to most (including this writer), at what point can one argue that a parent has overstepped such a boundary?

Over the last decade, for example, the numbers of teens going under the knife for weight loss surgery has increased dramatically.

While certainly morbidly obese teens are susceptible to serious, even life threatening, health risks, do the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks? What about the parent who encourages her teen to get a nose job, or the parent that has her child's awkwardly large ears pinned back?

Most kids turn to their parents for guidance and support. The opinions of parents, in general, are more influential than anyone else's, including peers, even though at times it may not seem that way. If a parent offers the suggestion that a teen have some cosmetic work done, it is more likely than not that the teen will agree.

Certainly there are many teens who, dissatisfied with their appearance, request surgery from their parents. This, however, is not the group about which I am talking.

Related: 3 Ways to Help Your Daughters Resist the Media Pressure of Perfection

When most parents make decisions for their children, they truly have their children's best interests at heart.

Others may not agree with or even understand the decision, which is usually a cause for controversy. Perhaps the real issue becomes the need for parents to truly comprehend the power they potentially wield over their children.

When you really wrap your mind around this the idea, it can be quite overwhelming. By definition, parents are supposed to be mindful and acutely aware of what they do and say on behalf of their children at all times.

I know few people who can honestly live up to such a larger than life role all the time. Most of us do the best we can.

Perhaps the essential question which comes to mind from the controversy caused by Barbie Mom is simply this: When you make a choice for your child can you honestly acknowledge that such a choice is in the best interests of your child and not your own?

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