Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Kids plastic surgery not needed to avoid bullies

Plastic surgery for kids

kids-plastic-surgery-150×140.jpgIt seems that the bullying of children has become a real problem that affects more than 25% of school-age children in the US.

Children seem to equally bully girls and boys. Much of the bullying is verbal such as name-calling and teasing, but some includes physical acts including hitting, pushing and punching. Social exclusion is also a form of emotional bullying. Many are bullied because of their physical appearance or just because they are different from others.

The sad fact is that children considered unattractive are often the brunt of heartless, brutal verbal and physical bullying. And society should take bullying more seriously, because of the way it affects a child's self-worth and even future relationships.

When young people are constantly teased and tormented about their appearance, serious psychological problems begin to emerge. Living in a society that values beauty and shuns those considered unattractive, many young people suffer from low self-esteem and look for ways to gain the acceptance they crave. Many turn to plastic surgery hoping to achieve happiness instead of embracing their own uniqueness. The desire to be attractive overrides academics and other aspects of their young lives when they are bullied because of their appearance.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 220,000 plastic surgery procedures were performed in 2010 on individuals between the ages of 13 and 19 for various reasons.

The number represents an increase of over 30% in the last ten years. Some experts blame this alarming trend on the increase in bullying in schools and the popularity of social media websites. Most of these plastic surgeries were performed for cosmetic reasons.

Parents must take bullying seriously, talk with and listen to their children daily. It is important to maintain an open line of communication. Kids feel uncomfortable telling parents about bullying unless they feel secure and know that they are heard. Discuss other options when the topic of plastic surgery is addressed. Explain how society values differences and that attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, and that plastic surgery is not the answer to preventing bullying.

Parents can play a proactive role by watching for any signs of withdrawal or depression and reporting any suspicions of bullying to the school authorities, before the problem gets out of hand.

Spend some time volunteering at the school to get a grasp on any bullying that may be taking place. Suggest an ongoing educational program to help prevent bullying and create a healthier social climate at school.

Consider reconstructive procedures for children only to correct defects on the body or face. Cleft lip and cleft palate require correction to provide normal feeding, speech and to improve physical appearance. A misshapen head requires surgery to relieve pressure and restore proper head shape. When some syndromes cause partial paralysis to the face, plastic surgery improves facial movement and gives the child the ability to smile. These are all valid reasons for performing plastic surgery on a young person, but agreeing to plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons alone is not the answer.

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