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Plastic Surgery on Children Debate

Why Children Should or Shouldn't Get Plastic Surgery

The other day I asked what you thought of 7-year-old Samantha Shaw getting plastic surgery to correct her cup ears, and you had a lot to say on the issue in the comments and on Facebook. This specific case (which some of you liken to getting braces) isn't as extreme as if, for instance, Samantha was getting breast implants, and most of you agreed with me that mom may be causing more damage than the "defect," since she was the one pressuring Samantha to get her ears fixed and more concerned with potential bullying than her daughter. But both those in favor of and against the surgery had well-thought-out responses and reasoning, so I wanted to share your comments from the two sides of the debate.

For Surgery

  • "I was teased about my ears when I was younger, and finally at 12 my parents and I consulted with a plastic surgeon. I was bullied about it a little but mainly it was a self confidence issue. I really wanted it done . . . until I saw the pictures of what the surgery would actually look like, and the bloody operating room pics scared me and I said no. My parents never brought it up again. Now 27, I wish I hadn't seen the pictures and just had the procedure. I hate my ears, I can't ever wear my hair up because of them, all you see are ears! . . . So in a way I think it's good for parents to do this for their child when they are young, recovery is quicker and in my opinion when they become teens or adults they'll be happy to have had it already taken care of." — Julia2020
  • "I don't think pinning back ears is a big deal. The recovery is much faster and less painful then the 2+ years of braces that most people put their children through. My mom took my brother to a plastic surgeon to get a huge and deep mole removed when he was 10 because it kept growing. I guess he could have lived with a huge mole on his face, but really I think he would appreciate it when he gets older that he doesn't have one there." — sillybunnie
  • "The thought of this makes me cringe. After giving it some thought, I've come up with this . . . initially I say hell no, but then I think, some of these low self-esteem people ponder suicide. I'd rather have my child alive with plastic than buried with concrete. 'Tis a sad world we live in." — Jess

To see what those against the surgery had to say, keep reading.

Against Surgery

  • "I think people need to toughen up their skin. I'm not saying that bullying is in any way acceptable, BUT as an adult these children will have to fend for themselves, especially throughout their career. It seems this poor girl was bullied more by her mother than by her peers. Parents need to accept the 'flaws' in their children just as much as they must accept those that are apparent in themselves. This is not the right way to combat bullying; it will inevitably exacerbate the situation." — manekineko88
  • "Little kids should start at an early age to not care what others think of their physical appearance. It will help her build her own persona and self esteem. If she decides when she is older that it really bothers her or it is causing her a health problem then it's OK because she will be old enough to make a big decision on her own." — Jennifer
  • "I do think it's extreme. Look, I'm far from perfect, but my mom always taught me to love and accept myself, and made sure I had high self-esteem, and that gave me the courage to deal with all the obstacles life threw at me. Like a lot of people, I was made fun of because of my differences (even by teachers), but it never affected me. Bullying is not OK, but parents need to teach their kids self-esteem and to defend themselves. Having kids make fun of you is part of the growing-up process. It will make you stronger." — totygoliguez
  • "Her ears may even out as she grows and besides that, it's not this little girl that has the problem, it's the children who are bullying her that have the problem." — Karen
Join The Conversation
Tara-Block Tara-Block 6 years
I totally remember feeling so insecure when I was in junior high being super short with braces and glasses. But thankfully those awkward years help us tackle future insecurities — because, really, there's always something to feel less-than-normal about, even as adults. Kids who are bullied because of their appearance or sexual orientation feel so alone, like they're the only ones who know how it feels. So one of the best ways to help them is by doing exactly what we're doing, share our own stories about what we went though and where we are now.
Annie-Gabillet Annie-Gabillet 6 years
I was teased as a kid for having big ears that stick out. I sort of grew into them, and even as a kid I never really understood why people felt the need to call me names like Dumbo. I can see how some people could relate pinning them back to braces, but I think it's wroth sticking it out as a kid and having something that makes you you!
IdeaOfOrder IdeaOfOrder 6 years
My problem with this case was her mom. The girl actually said that she doesn't get bullied, or that she's not bothered by it. Her mom said that adults are the worst and say mean things; it sounds like her mom can't handle the bullying (if you can even call it that). I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but if the girl had at some point decided that she wanted to get the procedure done for whatever reason that would be fine. I'm just bothered by the message her mom is sending her about herself. Those messages stay with you. I was born with a birth defect.. I'm missing my pinky on my right hand. As a child, people never made fun of it (if they did I was ignorant to it).. kids always thought it was cool and wanted to see my hand. It wasn't until junior high that it became weird and no longer cool. People said some really mean things, usually behind my back. Anyhow, I'm bringing this up because I can definitely relate to not being born perfect. I'd argue that my issue is more severe than ears that stick out. I wish that my parents would have given me a strong message about inner beauty, so that I wouldn't have been as affected by the mean things that were said.
Natalie-Love Natalie-Love 6 years
Well, the pinning back of the ears isn't a problem by itself, I know a girl who was born that way, and doctors pinned them back when she was just a baby. It's a cosmetic thing, but it's very easy to fix so many parents may decide to just fix for the child's sake. I think the problem that people are seeing here is that fact that she did this because she was bullied. The procedure itself isn't the problem, it's the connotation behind it. I personally don't think the doctor is wrong to have done that (Again, if you do it on babies, why not a 7 year old?) But this does send mixed messages about bullying.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I totally agree, it's not her that has the problem, but those who bully.
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