New trend in grad gifts has parents going for bust

image After reading about how the parents of LuLu Diaz gave their daughter $6,000 breast implants for her high school graduation gift, I couldn’t help but be shocked by the idea of a father agreeing to anything that would make his teenaged daughter more enticing to teenaged boys. As luck would have it, I actually spent several years in my teens. Because of this I can tell you there are many teenaged boys who still haven’t made it past the “breast” portion of this column. Sadly, some may never finish reading it because, in order to break them out of their current hypnotic spell, it will become necessary for a close friend or family member to light them on fire.

Let’s face it: This is the nature of most men until the aging process inspires a level of physical maturity that dethrones sex as the main motivator. While there is no set timeline for this transformation, most experts agree it begins anywhere between six and eight months after death.

Until then, at least from a father’s perspective, men can’t be trusted.

Knowing this, I’ve already begun saving for our youngest daughter’s graduation gift, which will be an entire new wardrobe consisting of multiple pairs of sheet-metal pants and turtleneck sweaters made from chain-link. I may throw in a make-up kit as well, just in case she decides to lift her metal visor during conversation. I’m sure my daughter will thank me later for adding a degree of difficulty to the courtship process, which will eliminate those who aren’t persistent.

Or, at the very least, those without a blowtorch.

Naturally, my wife says I’m getting ahead of myself since our daughter is still only 13 years old. But time passes quickly, and in another 20 years she’ll begin dating. When I explained this to my wife, she laughed. Hard.

Mark Cuban has shown more emotional restraint.

For some reason, mothers are just better equipped to handle the whole dating prospect. I think it’s because — statistically speaking — they aren’t men. They don’t know what’s going through the mind of an 18-year-old boy. Well, I DO. And you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Especially you, the one with baggy jeans and pierced scrotum. I wouldn’t know that second part if you pulled your pants up once in a while.

I know what you’re thinking: What if she wants to attend a college that can’t be seen from home using the scope on a high-powered rifle?

I realize it’s important to establish a certain level of trust with my daughter in order for her to develop her independence; I have to encourage her to venture beyond the realm of my protection; I have to allow her a sense of freedom.

And I have to do it without letting her know she’s being followed by a private detective. How can I do this? Because, to a father, money is no object when it comes to providing his daughter with the false sense of freedom she deserves.


Maybe I’m overreacting.

But she’s not getting breast implants for a graduation gift. Why? Because while LuLu’s parents say their “gift” is meant to boost their daughter’s self esteem, they have to see that things won’t end there. It’ll be a tummy-tuck at 19, then higher cheekbones and a thinner nose for her 21st birthday. By then, of course, it’ll be time to tighten that sagging 21-year-old chin. Eventually, when she’s completely unrecognizable and can’t pass through airport security without an X-ray of her head, LuLu will be happy and confident knowing she can, at long last, easily ditch her parents in a crowd.

While it’s true I want my daughter’s self-confidence to be grounded in who she is and not how she looks, I have to admit I’d also like to avoid the cost of expensive breast implant surgery.

The truth is, I’m flat busted.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available in paperback or eBook from, Barnes & Noble or request your signed copy from Port Hole Publications.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

100 thoughts on “New trend in grad gifts has parents going for bust”

    1. And sadly, it’s becoming more common all the time. If I was going to get my daughter a graduation gift that would change her life, instead of boobs I’d get her a car with dual airbags.

  1. My daughter is only 7 but my husband has already employed the subliminal message tactic. He mumbles “no boyfriends, no boyfriends, no boyfriends” over and over to her while she’s sleeping.

    1. Ha! So, you’re saying my bullhorn approach might be a little… strong? Yeah, your husband’s approach is probably more effective. And subtle.

  2. somehow i have survived three daughters all going through this stage and we all lived to tell. maybe it’s because i gave them borders certificates and cash instead of boobs ?

  3. Mine has just requested Jamaican food after the ceremony. No party, no gifts. He says the gift is no school for a while, ha ha.

    1. I have no doubt your son is the kind of person who will be happy in life because he can appreciate the “small” things, like the pleasures of Jamaican food. I mean, he’ll probably have bad gas, but he’ll still be appreciative.

      Congrats to him, by the way! — and to YOU!

  4. Perfect closing line and classic Ned humor! I’ve heard that plastic surgery has become one of the most popular gifts for girls, and I’m grieved that parents see this as a way to help their daughters tackle life. Young women need to find their self confidence on the inside of their chest and not from the boulder sling on the outside!

    1. “Boulder sling?” Hahaha! I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard that term before. But all joking aside, I agree completely with the need for parents to impart a sense that their daughter’s greatest asset is who they are inside. I think it’s just another symptom of lazy parenting, offering a cosmetic quick-fix instead of taking the time to build a solid foundation of self confidence in their child. Unless they already have huge boobs. Then who needs self confidence…

      Just kidding 😉

  5. Breast implants seriously? OMFG that’s insane. We gave our eldest a kayak, middle child a laptop, the teenage boy, oops I can’t remember but I’m sure it was a fantastic gift.

  6. I was sometimes glad we only had boys. But I really wish we’d had a girl or two, too. Now. But I had it better than a friend who was the father of girls. I asked him once how he planned to deal with the onslaught of teenaged boys who were just like he and I were, and he said it was pretty simple. “Just shoot the first one,” he said. “The word will get around.”

    1. HaHa! Your friend speaks with wisdom and practicality. And probably a membership at the gun range. We have two boys (14 and 15) and two girls (13 and 19), and I have worked with the boys — i.e., it’s tied into their allowance — to be protective of their younger sister, i.e., start a rumor that Dad buried the potential suitor of his oldest daughter in the back yard…

  7. I think we need to question the judgement of the parents. This is ridiculous on so many levels…good Gawd, what are they thinking!!!

    Encouraging your daughter to be proud of who she is, is the best gift you could give her. There is nothing more beautiful than a confident young woman!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re daughter has reached young adulthood believing bigger boobs is more important than what she has to offer as a person, then you’ve missed something along the way as a parent. And as a father with two daughters (13 and 19), establishing their self confidence and belief in themselves has always been the most important thing.

      I also have two boys (15 and 15), but I’m not worried because they are so well endowed…

      (Just kidding!)

      I mean they are, but that’s not important…


  8. If a daughter wants the implants so badly, take her to a CVS and show her how to buy lunch bags and bottles of saline…she can have all the implants she wants, she just can’t implant them.

  9. Frankly, in dealing with what women have to deal with from a lot of men, I’m surprised they aren’t MORE worried about their daughters dating than the fathers.

  10. There was no way in hell I was getting implants for graduation — either high school or college. When you’re from good ol’ German stock and raised on a farm (please do NOT make the grievous error of confusing me with livestock in any way), such things are too frivolous to contemplate, much less request. So I’m proud to say I did it the old-fashioned way — I grew my own. It’s turned out to be one of my most successful accomplishments — go ME! My husband will provide references upon submission of a formal, notarized document executed in triplicate, accompanied by seven forms of photo ID. He won’t mind. Really.

    1. It sounds like the end result was the same, so what a waste of money that would have been! It sounds like you were born with a green thumb. Or, whatever…

  11. I may have been bamboozled… I know my gift was no more than $50… But at the same time I don’t know if I would have been able to look my parents in the eye if they were to give me a boob job…correction my dad… with my mom I’d probably be laughing about it the entire time. FYI: breast implants have to be changed every ten years I believe… 🙂

    1. It’s no small irony that, while you wouldn’t be able to look your father in the eyes had he bought you a boob job, few males would look YOU in the eyes — at least, not at first. That said, knowing the relationship you have with your family — especially your Mom — I’m sure whatever that $50 gift was came from the heart and meant more than two bags of silicone.

      On another note, if you’re right about breast implants needing to be changed every 10 years (and I’m sure you are), this would be the perfect time for me to start my own breast implant changing service: Jiffy Boob!

      1. LOL!!! I just had this stepford like image in my head about the Jiffy Boob place and how it would operate! LOL.
        I can’t say I was unhappy with my present. But I know I really wanted a car… lol. Things have changed so dramatically from when I was in HS… and I like to think I’m not that much older, lol 🙂
        You’re a great Dad Ned, just get her a cute pink taser 🙂

        1. Kirsty Alley was on SNL once when they did a sketch about a race of beautiful alien women who come to Earth. All of the women had evolved to have eyes on their boobs because “that’s where the male of our species was always looking when they talked to us…” Lol!

          And don’t think my mind wasn’t racing along with you on the Jiffy Boob operations manual! 😉

          Pink Taser… I like the sound of that! Or maybe just the sound of teen boys screaming in agony… 😉

          1. Evolution at its finest!! LOL! That would be so helpful. But I wont like and tell you that I don’t like calling men out when they stare there. I let them know, and well, make them feel embarrassed too.
            I have a taser… friend, a US Marshall gave it to me, because he knew how paranoid I am about running alone at night or getting out of school 😉 Best gift 🙂

  12. I am just horrified at the thought of that present. It’s not like women have reached universal self-assuredness not being tied to their looks. Sigh. A friend has a daughter who is larger physically than her sister and we spend a lot of time taking about how to instill her with confidence that will get her through rough years. Being active, building self confidence, and the like. Telling her she could have liposuction for graduation? Ugh.

    I’m so glad I had a boy. My mom said to me once that her wish was that I’d have a girl just like I was. She said it in a nice tone but I know it was double edged 🙂

    1. Thanks to social media and the constant bombardment of images in advertising and entertainment, instilling a level of self confidence in our daughters that extends beyond superficial is more difficult than ever. My oldest daughter (19) handled it well, but my youngest (13) struggles from time to time. As a father, the best I can do is try to foster a sense of self that recognizes she is more than what others see.

      Not easy.

  13. I might be more worried about the parent that give their SON breast implants as a gift.

    And how does giving cosmetic surgery BOOST confidence? I would think it would just boost insecurity, making the person receiving the person just looking for something more when they figure out there are other things wrong with them.

  14. Great post! Now I understand why my dad didn’t speak to me and was perpetually pissed off for two years when I started dating 🙂 I am a plastic surgeon and unfortunately I see some of these girls. The saddest are the ones planning a separation/divorce, and before they do, they get their unsuspecting husband to pay for boobs, tummy tuck and Lipo as anniversary present. The man will spend thousands for a hot wife, but end up broke and alone….. 😦

    1. Haha! I’m sure your Dad has forgiven you by now; your dates, however…

      I’ve heard of this happening to husbands right before they are served with divorce papers. It’s karma in a way, I suppose. On one hand, the husbands are saying you’re not hot enough so I’ll surgically enhance you to make you hotter — instead of just loving their wives for who they are. To me, this says a lot about how shallow the relationship was from the beginning. I can’t feel too sorry for them.

      Maybe instead of a pre-nuptial agreement, they should’ve gotten a “pre-niptual,” i.e., before I agree to pay for your face lift and boobs, you agree to give them back if you leave after the nip and tuck 😉

      Thanks for reading, and for your comment, Tiffany! You being a plastic surgeon, you’ve added an actual level of legitimacy to this blog post!

      1. Hahaha, maybe I should suggest it to the poor unassuming husbands into getting a prenip before they pay for their nagging wives’ surgery!! I am not sure about adding legitimacy but I do enjoy reading your blogs!!!

  15. It’s outta control. A nephew who just graduated from HS got four tickets to next season’s Super Bowl and an iPad — from a neighbor!!! Not even his parents. When I learned/heard about this I threw in the towel. Why even ‘compete?”

  16. I will just have to tell you that you are lucky first of all because it sounds like you already have a really great daughter and I am sure that because she has the love of her father she will find that the content and the character that you instilled in her will be a greater asset than bigger set of knockers. Yet, I feel your pain I have a teen age boy and I am forever worrying if I have tortured him enough with the medical dictionary’s pictures of STDs…I say that if we can’t beat societies ideals of beauty and appropriate gift giving…then it is our job as parents to give them the tools and scare them death in hopes that we have taught them to make the best decisions. Believe me as a former teenage girl …there is nothing like Daddy’s love!

    1. I have two teen boys as well, and as much as I’d like to think I’ve instilled enough character in them to understand the virtues of safe sex — or more preferably celibacy — until they are much older, I’m going to keep your idea of scaring the crap out of them with STD photos as a back-up plan. Maybe I can even find some of those horrible Syphillis films I watched in Sex Ed on Netflix?

      Thanks so much for reading, Amie. It’s obvious you’ve become a terrific woman and mom thanks in no small part to the love of your Dad 😉

      1. Ned thanks yes I have a wonderful father although at growing up the “sex talk” went something like this…”good Catholic girls close their legs” and that was it! lol. The sex talk in our house was avoided like the bubonic plague. Good thing I made it my duty to pay attention in my biology classes due to my impending prep for nursing school. Oh boys…the only way to scare them to death I am afraid. I have a condom drawer at my house and practice don’t ask don’t tell…but I often remind him of the pinky promise he made me long ago…(condoms every time no exceptions)…Good idea on the syphilis sex ed…

  17. I guess it’s a little different here in the land downunder but I gave neither of my two oldest children anything for leaving school. We spent a small fortune on their formal clothes and hair and makeup (for my daughter) but the only gift they received from us was a ‘well done’.

  18. We are supposed to get gifts when we graduated high school? *defeated*

    To all those breathing a sigh of relief over having sons I hope you are putting the fear in them about impregnating a girl and that No means NO, and not just sitting back laughing at the parents with girls.

    1. I think boys should receive the same gift, only wrapped in a sweater instead. Problem solved…

      But yes, being the father of two teen boys and two teen girls, it’s easy for me to see both sides of the equation — and the need for parents to instill enough self respect in their children that things don’t add up to an unwanted pregnancy.

  19. “mothers are just better equipped to handle the whole dating prospect. I think it’s because — statistically speaking — they aren’t men” – this is hysterical – that is all.

  20. Mint style, humor and content as always. I would be horrified to be a parent to a daughter. I have an adorable niece, and already, I’m angry at her parents for not home-schooling… But maybe when your daughter outgrows the sheet-metal pants, you can pass them this way.

  21. Ned the problem with parents is they are unfortunately always made from people. People are what is wrong with the earth. I think all we can do is just sit back and wait for a giant meteor to slam into the earth and bring us all sweet relief. I am sorry it is not my intention to get your hopes up.

  22. Ned, I’m wid you man. My one and only daughter (thank you Jesus) is 19 and all I can say is…it’s worse than you think. I try to not help the process along as much as possible. I told the first suitor “Whatever you do to her, I will do to you.” and then watched his face go through several contortions as his brain sorted through what he had been thinking he’d like to do to my daughter…he lasted only a couple of months before he decided that doing those things was very important to him…but doing them to someone else’s daughter was even more important. My daughter never did say thanks. Go figure.

    1. HAHAHA!

      Thankfully, my 19-year-old has always been a straight arrow, so she spoiled me. My youngest though (13), she’s going to be a handful. She’s beautiful like her mom, but very social. I’ve decided that when the boys start coming around, I’m going to offer them a tour of my fire station. Show them the ax, K-12 circular saw that cuts through concrete, pike pole, etc., and send a clear message — in a community service kind of way…

      1. You’re absolutely onto it there Ned, you can never underestimate that power of the visual. When number 2 turned up I made sure he met me in theBar where I happened to be cleaning the Remington XCR .338 and sharpening the knives…he lasted about 2 months as well…next loser!

        1. You might consider taking things to the next level by gutting a sheep or something during the conversation. Just a thought. Could cut two-month cycle down to two minutes…

          1. Geez Ned, you’ve nailed me mate, I was actually planning on taking the next one out hunting camel and get HIM to do the gutting…that might eclipse the timeframe a bit too.

  23. Lulu looks like she just ate a lemon. She should start selling yoga pants, or something.

    We have two daughters now 20 and 23. They survived a town that is full of overstuffed, Lulu Lemon-toting, bitchy, rich folk. We keep calling it Oakville-itis. But we made it through by implanting a strong sense of family, and self worth, from the word go. Get it? That was the only implant they needed.

    That, and the full size human target from the range, with 10 shots through the heart that I hang by the front door.

    1. I completely agree with you, Chris. Especially that last part. I also like to hang pairs of shoes over the power line above our home, and tell potential suiters they belong to the young men who didn’t follow my rules… God rest their souls.

  24. I hadn’t heard this particular story, but I’ve heard many like them before. Over the top gifts are bad enough, but paying to have your daughter physically altered when there was nothing wrong in the first place is wrong. It definitely sends the wrong message to her and everyone else.

    We have two now grown foster daughters. Both had more than their share of self-esteem issues. As a woman with my own issues, I could understand, but even had we been filthy rich I would never have paid for cosmetic surgery.

    I am not against plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons, even with young adults…within reason. If there is a genuine disfigurement, or even an unfortunately over-sized nose that takes up half a girl’s face, I can understand, but boobs?

    No, that is a personal choice a woman should make – and pay for herself – when she is fully grown and has lived a life outside Mom and Dad’s house. A 19 year finishing highschool is neither.

    Hell, I’m so small in the chest that I heard all the bad jokes and insults growing up. If I’d had the money when I was really young, I probably would have gotten implants myself. Thankfully, I didn’t and am very glad I didn’t. Besides, my mother was well endowed as they say and she would have given anything for a reduction as age, gravity and a bad back made her miserable.

    1. You are so very right on all counts. Cosmetic surgery should be for disfigurement or physical traits that impede a healthy life. It goes back to helping our children grow up to understand the difference between “wants” and “needs.”

      Big boobs is not a need.

      I’m a man, and even I know that.

  25. So how exactly does it boost a girl’s confidence if her father buys her bigger breasts? I don’t have kids, so I’m not an expert, but shouldn’t it be the parent that always says their child is perfect just the way they are?
    And yes, there are probably quite a few 18 year old boys currently still in a state of trance on account of having read your first paragraph…then again, most guys are about as scared of girls as they are enticed by them. Or maybe that was just me at that age:S

    1. Haha! Those were my thoughts exactly: what message is Daddy sending his daughter? “Enjoy college, Honey, but you’re going to need much bigger boobs to succeed — and by that I mean getting a rich husband.”

      And once again, if there are any 18-year-old boys reading this comment, sorry I lost you at “boobs.” Again.

  26. I raised four daughters by myself – the youngest, in the beginning, being only 9 months old. I hardly qualified as a “liberated” male – when it came to cooking, I scorched water. That first year at least, my girls, playing anywhere in the neighborhood, always knew when dinner was ready – they listened for our smoke alarm to go off.

    And Guys, if you’ve ever walked out of the Men’s room at a social event with your zipper undone or a trail of toilet tissue clinging to your shoe, that’s nothing compared to waltzing into the lingerie department to buy a training bra for your pre-teen daughter. When asked, “What size?” you’re tempted to demonstrate with cupped hands, until you realize that you’re talking about your daughter, your little girl! I’ve yet to figure out why those things need to be trained in the first place, you’d think they’d know what to do on their own.

    1. My hat’s off to you for tackling single fatherhood. I only did it for a couple of years and I’m sure in that brief period I scarred my children for life.

      And I’ve always wondered why girls need “training bras” but us guys have never been offered a training cod? Just things my mind thinks of when it’s gone too long without coffee.

  27. Oh wow, I got ripped off.
    All I got was a heartfelt relieved “Thank Gawd, she made it” sigh from my parents, a CD player, and a couple of Jimmy Buffet cds. And here I thought I had truly arrived. Hmmm…I need to go lodge a complaint 😉

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