Newsletter Signup

emailEnter your email address to receive our FREE weekly parenting newsletter
  View Email Archive

Sponsored Link

The Total Transformation®
Skeptical? Now’s the time to see
why parents love it – Free Offer!
Child Consequences Guide
Give kids consequences that work w/
James Lehman’s how-to video program.
Program for ADD/ADHD Kids
Easy 1-2-3 instructions for helping
ADD/ADHD kids. Free trial.
Get Through to Your Child
Step-by-Step video program shows
you how to change tough behaviors.
     
Aug
17

When I read the article about the bullied girl who had plastic surgery on her ears, nose and chin because she was tired of being taunted and teased, it bothered me on many levels. I know what bullying is like, and I’ll agree that it’s awful. However, I felt that such changes were drastic and that there were some deeper issues as to why this girl couldn’t accept herself the way she was. As the surgeon, I would have recommended counseling before going through such procedures. Instead, he said she had “deformities.” I’ve seen deformities and I don’t feel that this girl was “deformed” in any way. She could have done other things to make herself feel more confident, such as getting her hair cut and styled to make her ears stick out less and frame her face better. I also read another article about something similar, involving nose jobs and botox for teens.

I think this girl could have also gone to her mother or talked to an adult she trusted at the school about how bad the bullying was. Instead, she kept silent as it continued to escalate. And when she finally told her mom, instead of working through the problem together, her mom immediately resorted to plastic surgery. I think it was like saying that was the solution–or that she also couldn’t accept her daughter’s physical appearance, either.

Another factor in all this is that girls who are deemed to be attractive have been bullied, as well. They’re seen as a potential threat when it comes down to the bully liking a guy and seeing him talk to certain girls. In the case of Phoebe Prince, a girl who committed suicide over two years ago as a result of bullying, she was attractive and girls made up rumors about her because she was talking to guys they liked. The bullies even got the guys on their side to gang up on her. So being attractive isn’t always the key to staying free of bullies.

Growing up, I had wild curly hair that would get frizzy all the time. Naturally, I got teased over this fact often. People would call me names or ask if I stuck my finger in an electric socket. However, I never once thought of straightening it or keeping it hidden under a hat. (I did, however, take sick days from school when I was having a bad hair day. I could only take so much from people.) When I was in high school, I became friends with other girls who had curly hair and we’d wear it wildly and proudly. Being Jewish, my hair defined me…but so did my nose, which is slightly crooked if you look at me from the side, and red on top because of an accident in high school. However, as much as my mom would try to pressure me to get a nose job, I never wanted to. I saw girls having it done, but was too scared to get one myself. I think I read one too many articles about Jennifer Grey and thought the idea of something changing my face or making me unrecognizable would be too awful to even fathom!

As a mom, I worry about potential bullying and have already talked to my sons about not making fun of people for their differences. However, I haven’t talked to them much about how to handle being bullied and I realize that this is a discussion we need to have soon. My son E wears a cochlear implant, which already makes him stand out a bit. He has been confident about his implant and thankfully his school conducts a seminar for kindergarten students about hearing loss, since it’s so prevalent in his school. Now that he’s in first grade, it’s going to be a whole new playing field. Hopefully the kids will have retained what they learned about hearing loss and will continue to be accepting. I do worry about the kids who decide it’s a reason for them to be mean to him and how he’ll handle it when that happens. Even thinking about it breaks my heart. My daughter also has cochlear implants and I worry that she’ll face challenges as she gets older and has to deal with possible “mean girls.”

All I can do to combat this is to educate my kids about how to handle bullies–and instill confidence in them about their cochlear implants and why they are so important to wear. I clearly can’t give them new cochleas in their ears the way I had LASIK done for my eyes (which was done to help my vision, more than for vanity, as I looked cute in glasses). I’m also not going to suggest plastic surgery as an answer to their problems. I think my kids are adorable and wouldn’t change a thing about their physical appearance. I just hope they have enough confidence in themselves to deal with whatever comes their way as they get older.

Melissa A. and her husband  have 2 sons and a baby daughter. Melissa’s daughter and one of her sons have hearing loss and wear cochlear implants. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.


     

If you find any comments that are rude or inappropriate, please contact us immediately.

  • Kathy S Says:

    The problem I see with allowing teens to get plastic surgery because they are being bullied is it doesn’t fix the underlying problem(s). Children especially teens need to know that the problem is not them, how they look, how much money they have, etc..the problem is with the bully themselves. We need to stress to our children and teens that they are beautiful in their own way and encourage their self esteem. We also need to encourage them to speak up to an adult either in the school or at home and try to get the problem solved.

  • Kathy S Says:

    The only way I would allow my child to have plastic surgery is if it was for a serious medical problem. I find that society is dependent on having a “beautiful” face. Beauty comes from the inside not from what you see on the outside. Many children feel they have to be perfect looking in order to fit in with others.

  • Dawn Says:

    My mom used to try to encourage me to get a nose job because my dad’s nose was large ans his sister’s was larger. Never happened though. Although my nose is on the larger side of “normal” sized, it certainly isn’t my worst feature. I do, however, want nose surgery… to fix my deviated septum!

  • Oliver Says:

    No i don’t think plastic surgery is the solution.