I was telling Bobbie that story this afternoon while changing Marie's diaper. Like I said in passing in my last post, all the Geisslers look exactly alike, right down to the ears that stick out. Marie's stick out. Bobbie's do too, but only a tiny bit. Marie's stick out a bit more, but nothing that growing hair won't mitigate.
I tell that story because of this story: When is Cosmetic Surgery the Answer to Bullying?
The obvious answer, one would think, is "never." Apparently, if one thought this, one would be wrong:
I seriously question the message this sends to kids. "I know it's horrible that the other kids are mean to you. The only answer is to change yourself to suit them."Just seven years old, Samantha Shaw of Sturgis, S.D. is about to experience something very grown-up: she's going to have cosmetic surgery.
It's not because she has a serious facial deformity or a life-threatening medical condition. Samantha is having cosmetic surgery because she gets teased about her protruding ears.
"The kids at school always ask her about her ears, and sometimes adults can be worse," said Cami Roselles, Samantha's mother. "One lady walked up to her and said, 'Oh my God, what happened to your ears?'"
Another true story: Back in high school, my best friend was walking from the portables to the main building when some guys threw rocks at him and called him names. Understandably, he reported this to admin. Their response. "Try not to act so gay."
So, yeah, I know that this "blend in, don't make waves" thing isn't anything new, but that doesn't make it a good thing. And beyond the fact that I find the very idea of teaching kids they should change themselves to suit others, there is the very real fact that the surgery won't really correct the problem. It will correct the physical issue, and it might even stop the teasing/bullying (although I question that unless there's a concurrent change of schools). But it's not going to magically heal the psychological wounds. I could even argue that it brings with it the risk of making things worse: pinning back your ears because other kids tease you about your ears is your parents affirming that, yes, there is something wrong with you. By addressing the physical issue but not the psychological one, you are--at best--only sewing the wound half shut. Far better, I would think, to work with your child to teach her coping skills. Not as easy as it sounds, I know, but a vital life lesson. (Telling your own child that the other kids are little assholes because they know they're dumb and ugly in comparison is surprisingly effective, but probably violates all sorts of parenting rules.)
Then again, I must confess to wondering whether our President would have turned out differently had his rich grandparents ponied up for the otoplasty.