Lip Challenge! Really?
Ouch! I saw pictures of beautiful teens on TV, with disfigured, bruised, painful looking lips and heard that they were doing the “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.” Not that she personally challenged them to do this. She was apparently spotted at an event with beautiful as they put it “pouty lips” and her fan base, teenagers, decided to get the same effect, “naturally.” I dare say sticking your lips in a shot glass and creating a vacuum to swell up, bruise and potentially disfigure your lips permanently is anything but natural.
Unfortunately this is a trend we see frequently, where teenagers and even adults follow their favorite celebrity blindly, be it their fashion or their looks. There’ve been several stories of botched butt implants and actual deaths from implants gone terribly wrong.
Do people actually stop and think of the long term effects of what they desire in that instant? Yes, you want to have the Kim Kardashian figure, and I know she looks great, but is it worth going under the knife or as some have done even obtaining “plastic surgery” illegally? What are the long term consequences of the action you want to take? What drives teens and as I said some adults to flit from one look to another in the space of a few weeks or days, and how can we as parents protect our teens from these “challenges?”
1. Help them to appreciate their own uniqueness
Recognize your child’s unique looks and talents and personality, and encourage your child to build on their strengths. Unfortunately a lot of parents are constantly comparing their children to their siblings and to other people’s kids. This can lead some kids to believe that who they are is never enough. They think that if only I look like this person etc, life will be different. Of course no one is perfect but everyone has something that makes them special! It’s time for us as parents to help our children see themselves as unique. We should remind them that they have a lot to offer the world, just as they are. As they accept who they are, they will build on their strengths and develop a healthy self-esteem.
2. Express your love
I’ve met so many parents who don’t like to show expressions of love to their teens, because they want them to be tough. I say show them that you love them, and they will be confident and tough. Learn your teen’s love language and express love completely to them. By so doing they learn to love themselves and they recognize that they don’t need “pouty lips” to feel special. They are God’s unique creation who are loved by their parents. These teens tend to love and appreciate themselves. They realize that they don’t need to go with the latest fashion trend or celebrity look to be loved.
3. Be careful which example you set
I can’t emphasize it enough, as much as parents don’t believe it, they are their teen’s first role models and teens will behave the way they see their parents behave. If you have a habit of keeping up with the Joneses, your teens will do the same. If you have low self-esteem as a parent and need stuff to feel good about yourself, then that is what your teen will perceive as normal. I’m not talking about using make up, it actually goes deeper than that. We need to show an example to our teens that self-worth comes from within and not from external adornment, important as adornment may be.
4. Discourage immediate gratification
One of the most important things we as adults can teach our teens is not to give in to immediate gratification. Don’t buy the latest outfit the minute you think about it or see it. Take a little time to breathe. Do you really need it? Could you wait to save some money to get it at a later date? It’s the same with the “pouty lips”, is it really that important. Yes it looks like everyone is doing it? But what are the consequences or potential complications? Is it worth doing? This life of immediate gratification has landed many a family in serious financial problems amongst other things and we need to learn to take a breath and think things through before we proceed.
5. Teach Goal Setting skills.
Teens are more likely to get into trouble if they don’t have a purpose in life. Just think about it, if you don’t know where you are going or have any plans for the future, you are likely to follow the latest trend, fashion etc that blows by you. Teens who have a purpose and aim in life are unlikely to fall into this trap. They are busy. They have a plan to work on. Goal setting is extremely important even for us as adults. I find that when I write down my goals and actually put a plan in place for achieving them, I’m less likely to get distracted. It works the same for teens. Encourage them to set measurable, achievable, yet challenging goals that excite them. You’ll be amazed how focused they will become, and less likely to get in trouble.
I cringe when I see the pictures of teens with bruised lips and actually feel their pain, I know that this is a symptom of a bigger but very solvable problem. Take the time to love your teens and celebrate their uniqueness. Teach them to build on their strengths rather than comparing themselves to others. Encourage goal setting. Acknowledge them when they attain their stated goals. Delay gratification when possible and your teens will learn to do the same. As always love your teens and show them that you love them,clearly, openly and oten. Love of family and love of self is one of the greatest gifts we can impart to our teens.