What would you do if your child was getting bullied over the way she looked? Pull her out of school? Get counseling? How about applying for a free nose job for your teen?
The latter is what the mother of a 15-year-old named Renata did ... after her daughter had spent three years being homeschooled to escape relentless torture from classmates. The teen got free plastic surgery from a non-profit called Little Baby Face, which funds such procedures for kids with birth defects from low-income families.
It all sounds pretty reasonable ... until you get to Renata's mom's description of the whole thing.
The mother, who wasn't named in the Today show segment about the surgery done to correct her daughter's deviated septum and a chin implant put in place to balance out her face, had this to say:
Parents correct kids’ teeth with braces to make their teeth straighter. They’re still the same kid on the inside, but, unfortunately, people are judged on how they look.
Wait, did she really just compare elective plastic surgery to shut up bullies to putting braces on a child's teeth?
That's a dangerous road to walk down, folks, a very dangerous road. Plastic surgery may well be effective for kids who are being bullied mercilessly because the truth is that kids can be very cruel, and parents often have little recourse against that. I don't fault a parent for trying to find help for their child.
I am, however, unsettled by this trend of using elective surgeries to fix kids' problems because the more often it happens, the more "normal" it sounds. So normal that a mom is actually trying to convince us that it's like putting braces on a child's teeth.
An estimated 4.8 million Americans wear braces, the overwhelming majority of which are children.
Do we really want 4.8 million kids having plastic surgery? You see what I mean about a dangerous road!
More From The Stir: A Nose Job Won't Fix Your Kid
Orthodontia does affect the way a child looks. It's true. I say that as someone whose crooked teeth were not fixed as a child.
But by and large the reason for spending beaucoup bucks on your child's mouth is less about what people will think about them and more about their general health. Straightening a child's teeth at a young age can guide proper jaw growth and prevent problems with their teeth down the road. Braces can help a child with chewing, which aids in overall nutrition, and allow for better brushing, which will keep teeth from disease.
Plastic surgeries like the one Renata got, on the other hand, can certainly help a child's self esteem and maybe even get the bullies off her back. But it's not the only option by far! At best, it's a last resort.
Check out Renata's story:
Do you think plastic surgery is in line with braces for kids? Would you allow your child to have this done if it were free?
Image via Today