People Are Slamming This Mom for Letting Her 11-Year-Old Girl Get Plastic Surgery


The National Center for Education Statistics reports that one out of every five children in the US claims to have been bullied. Kids are dealing with the awful effects of bullying younger and younger, and many of the parents who have been forced to witness their kids' pain are willing to do just about anything to stop it. One mother, seeing her daughter's pain at being bullied, allowed the 11-year-old to get plastic surgery to try to put an end to the taunts. While the mom feels like she did the best she could for her daughter, people are still slamming her for it. 

  • Eleven-year-old Bella Harrington has been teased about her protruding ears since early childhood.

    The young girl says she didn't pay much attention to her ears before her classmates began teasing her about them. "...The more people pointed it out is when I wanted to change it," she told WRIC. "I thought that they stuck out way too much." 

    More from CafeMom: We Need to Talk to Kids About Sexting -- Because It Starts Earlier Than We Think

    Bella's mom, Sabrina Harrington, says that she began noticing the taunts her daughter received as well. "They were teasing her over it," she said. "One thing they said, she had elf ears." 

  • Advertisement
  • Hoping to help her daughter gain confidence and stop the bullies, Sabrina allowed her to go under the knife.

    The cosmetic procedure, known as an otoplasty, allows doctors to remove cartilage from the ears and pin them back to create a more "natural" shape. Bella's surgeon, Dr. Joe Niamtu, said the procedure is popular among children. "We like to treat these children before they enter school, so it's not uncommon that I'm doing 4- or 5-year-olds," Dr. Niamtu said. "And the reason is bullying, or peer pressure. It's been shown to psychologically have the ability to affect their self-esteem or body image for the rest of their life."

    He definitely isn't wrong; almost every online source, even places like the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery, discusses otoplasty as a way to end bullying for children who have protruding ears. Since her surgery in December, Bella says she has gained a newfound sense of confidence. "I wear my hair up a lot and I'm not like focused on if people can see them," she said. 

  • Still, people are angered over her mother's decision to allow the procedure.

    Comments poured in from angry parents across the Internet who felt like the mom made a "horrible" parenting decision by allowing her 11-year-old to get unnecessary cosmetic surgery. 

  • People said she should focus on teaching her daughter how to combat bullying in healthy ways.

    They stressed that teaching young girls to get rid of, rather than accept, the things they don't love about their bodies can hurt their self-esteem for life.

  • Some said bullies would just find something else besides her ears to pick on.

    One Twitter user even claimed that she "let the bullies win" by having an otoplasty. 

  • But there were also some who supported Sabrina Harrington's decision.

    Many believed that the surgery was well worth it if Bella found a way to gain confidence. One woman even wrote that people are totally overreacting about the non-invasive surgery. "It's not like she got a boob job!" she tweeted.

  • For a lot of us, allowing our kids to get plastic surgery to fix their flaws isn't something that would ever cross our minds.

    But for parents who have been forced to watch their kids be teased and bullied relentlessly, completely shattering their happiness and self-esteem, it may seem like the next logical step. 

    Bella Harrington's otoplasty seems to have completely renewed her confidence. And Sabrina Harrington says seeing her little girl feel good about herself is the only thing that matters. "It's no different than getting braces, that changes your appearance," she explained. "If it's going to make you feel better about yourself, so be it."

bullying plastic surgery self esteem