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Kids and Plastic Surgery: Are We Taking The Easy Way Out?

I read the headline, “6-Year-Old Boy Gets Plastic Surgery On His Ears After Being Bullied,” and my body does a little twitch. I click on the article and see a boy with ears like Barack Obama, only bigger. His pre-surgery photo shows him looking sad, as if he’s literally carrying the weight of the world in those ears. His post-surgery pic, however, shows him all smiles as if the weight has been lifted. Clearly, the kid is happier, leaving one to imagine the amount of teasing he must have endured as a result of those ears. As parents, it must have been difficult to watch him go through such hardship. In the end, they chose plastic surgery to make the bullying stop.

But did they take the easy way out?

As parents we fix things. We’ve been doing it from day one. The baby cries, we fix whatever is causing the discomfort. A toy breaks, we fix that too. When our kid comes home crying and no longer wants to go to school because he’s being teased, we turn into turbo-fixers. Usually, we choose our method by deciding what is going to give us the quickest, most convenient result. Let’s face it, everybody’s busy. The kid’s got his stuff to deal with and we’ve got ours. Just clip those ears and get going!
Right?

For a while, maybe, but what about in the long run? We live in a society of quick results, but how is that helping our children? When I think of it in terms of this kid getting plastic surgery the teasing probably did stop. It might seem tough love to ask that of a six-year-old, but mommy and daddy won’t be with him all day, and there are some things that can’t be fixed. Will he ever develop the skills to handle his own business? Like the Lone Ranger you have to ride through it to the other side. How you ride through it though is what develops your character. Barack Obama, though his ears weren’t as large as this kid, became President of the United States. He is forever making fun of his ears, which means at some point he decided to own the joke. We don’t know how this kid would have developed if allowed to feel his way through his own life. If his parents could have resisted the urge to fix it.

I’m guilty of it. I’m just starting to do homework with my daughter who is in kindergarten and I found myself taking the pencil out of her hand the other day and erasing her mistake. Just let me fix it so we can get to the next problem. I’ll make it nice and neat.

When you really think about it, we tell ourselves that it’s for our kids that we do all this, but really it’s not. I want to take over my daughter’s homework because I am a compulsive neat freak. I see her homework as a reflection of me, therefore I’d rather just do it myself. I wonder how much the parents who got the boys ears fixed were doing it for themselves. Did they get bullied as kids? It’s interesting because I just found a story of a mom of a six-year-old girl with protruding ears who wants to get her daughter the same surgery. She herself, had it done when she was a kid. The woman’s daughter hasn’t even gotten teased yet, so basically the mom is planning pre-emptive surgery.

What if it was really about the kid? Instead of plastic surgery maybe they’d get the boy involved in sports so he could be around other higher achieving kids and build self-esteem. Maybe I’d take the time to teach my daughter how to erase properly so that it doesn’t create a hole in the paper. And then I could get some quality pencils that don’t come from the 99 cent store. There’s a thought. There’s always a way, if we’d just get out of the way.

Do you think kids and plastic surgery makes sense? Does it really depend on the circumstance?

This article first appeared on Madamenoire 10/15/15

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