7-Year-Old Gets Plastic Surgery to End Bullying


Seven-year-old Samantha Shaw of South Dakota was sick and tired of being teased and bullied on the playground for her "cup ears," a condition that caused her little ears to stick out. So her parents decided to do something about it. They got her plastic surgery. And now they're taking some heat for that decision.

A 7-year-old getting braces or dental work wouldn't seem all that shocking to us, but a 7-year-old who has their ears altered in order to end bullying sends a chill up our spines?


Some people seem to think it's just giving in to the bullies, but the fact is the surgery isn't all that uncommon. The ear reaches 90 percent of its full size shortly after 5 years old, and doctors recommend if you're going to do it, do it soon after that. 

I just can't see what the big deal is. Yes, we're giving in to a societal "norm," but what is the big deal here? Her ears stuck out, they were embarrassing, she got them brought in so she would stop being teased. Who wouldn't do that if they could afford it?

Her doctor says that children who have "abnormalities" like hers are less popular, which makes their developing self-esteem lower. It makes sense. And if it were her nose, I might say something else, but it isn't. How can we justify getting kids' ears pierced, braces put on their teeth, or any other purely cosmetic procedure and then say that this is wrong?

Sometimes it's bad to let the bad guys win and other times it's OK. Let the kid have the ears that make her happy and avoid years of teasing and bullying.

Do you think this is wrong?


Image via bethd821/Flickr



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bills... billsfan1104

I dont think it is wrong, nor do I think getting a nose job is either. She probably did it for many reasons, to include the bullying too. I hope this makes her feel better.

PoeDu... PoeDunkMae

While I understand why the parents and girl chose to do what they did....I hope they realize that if someone is going to bully you, they are going to find a reason ANYTHING to bully you about.  She could do ONE embarassing thing in her life, and they could tease her about it for the rest of her school life.  The girls ears still aren't what you might call "normal" even after the surgery.  No, they don't stick out anymore, but one ear still "rolls" down, and the other one doesn't as much, I'm sure kid will pick up on that.  It's awful to tease another person, but sadly, it will still happen.  The best bet?  Is to teach your children NOT to bully others and to accept differences in people.  NO ONE is going to be the same.  No one is perfect or better than someone else. 

LiberalK LiberalK

I think it's easy for people to have negative judgment because they aren't in the situation. I agree with Billsfan,I hope the little girl is happier!

MamaJ... MamaJensen

I sure wish I could have had that surgery done.  I wore my hair in a french braid in 5th grade and was made fun of for my ears that stick out.  I never wore my hair where you could see my ears again.  I am 25 and I only wear my hair up when I'm at home because I hate how they look.  When I was a baby, my mom was asked why my ears weren't pinned back.  My husband says they aren't noticeable, but I still don't like them.

If it's what the girl wanted to feel better about herself, then I see no problem.  It's not like she had liposuction or breast implants.  Now if her mom put it in her head that she needed it, then I don't like that. 

Yes, children should be taught not to tease others.  In a perfect world, we would be free of bullying and we would all love our bodies.  But that is not the case.  Kids will be mean.  If this boosts the girl's esteem, then that is great.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I guess my only question is, where does it stop? Yes, I can understand braces, the ear thing, pierced ears. A nose job if your nose really bothers you. ... but where does it stop? Some girls have ridiculously large breasts, do we blame them for getting them reduced? Some girls are flat chested, I KNOW they'd get shredded on a forum like this for getting implants.

I agree, too, that it's wrong to give in to the bullies, because yes, they will bully no matter what (until someone really puts a stop to it, but that's another conversation). But which surgeries are "ok" and which are "vanity" in the eyes of the public?

jalaz77 jalaz77

All kids that get "dumbo" ears do it for aesthetic reasons. It's called pinning. Ears like this are not fixed because of learning disabilities but because of future bullies. I would have my dd or sons ears pinned to. Docs here fix them after age 6. That is the norm. If parents don't have them pinned the kid will one day as an adult. It won't fix the bullying problem but his is a very common simple procedure. Seen it many many times. The ears probably would have been fixed earlier in life but docs wait. So this was going to ne done, bullied or not.

Joyce Stafford

I guess I don't see the big deal about this, this procedure has been around for decades. I remember a friend of mine getting his ears 'pinned' back when I was a kid.

Heck I spent most of my elementary and junior high grades in braces, and I thank my parents for it. I'd sure hate to be going through life as an adult all bucktoothed, looking half retarded. That's the beautiful part of living in this time and place- we have the ability to improve ourselves. And as far as I can tell the only people against improving oneself are the ones who either are already perfect, or are so poor they can't afford it. (in which case by condemning it your just trying to make yourselves feel better).

Julia Starkey

Her ears are clearly not symmetrical, and one looks to be mildly deformed. Perfectly appropriate to correct a deformity. She will feel much more comfortable in her own skin. There was rish involved, but so are all surgical procedures. My daughter had her adnoids removed and ear tubes placed. A necessary risk to prevent future damage to her hearing. Her self esteem is just as valuable as her health.

Beths... Bethsunshine

Kids can always find an excuse for bullying and there is no guarantee that even though she had the ears problem corrected, that she will never be bullied again. It's fine if she feels better and looks better now, but what is going to happen when she gets bulllied for something else? Surgery can't fix everything.

Megan Rozenboom

Not going to lie, but at 7, kids are not fully developed. However, I can see the view point of all involved in this. Because it is truly a sensitive subject. I only hope that when she gets older her new ears wont seem too small because of resorting to surgery too soon. I also hope that the bullying will stop, it should have been stopped without this, but I do understand it is hard to do.

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