Mom gets plastic surgery for her 6-year-old to stop bullies in their tracks

Oct 1, 2015 at 1:08 p.m. ET
Image: Inside Edition

Parents choosing to get cosmetic surgery for their 6-year-old is the sort of thing that would make onlookers clutch their pearls and curl their toes in horror, but one Utah mother makes a surprisingly good case for why she did so.

According to Inside Edition, 6-year-old Gage Berger was being relentlessly picked on by classmates, who said his ears stuck out too much. Gage is adorable, but he looks sad in the video when he explains that the other kids say, "That I look like an elf. And I have weird ears." The taunting had him down on himself, and his parents worried that it was damaging his self-esteem.

"He thinks, 'I'm not good enough,'" said his mother, Kallie Berger, to Inside Edition.

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Getting plastic surgery for a first-grader is a big decision, but Tim and Kallie Berger found themselves weighing their options. Plastic surgery is a big deal, but ear-pinning is a comparatively easy procedure that would take only about two hours in surgery and a couple of days of recovery. Bullying, they figured, could go on for years and might even do permanent damage to Gage's self-esteem. After considering the long-term consequences of either getting the surgery or avoiding it, in the end, they decided to have the surgery. It would not necessarily be the right choice for every child or every family, but the Bergers feel they made the right one.

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Parents, if you're considering plastic surgery for your child to stop bullying, you certainly know it is a big decision. It's important to keep in mind the child's future happiness and the potential long-term effects of surgery, but also of bullying. Being picked on as a child does not necessarily add character, and it can also negatively impact a child's self-esteem and cause him or her to have trouble making friends.

It's also important to keep in mind that cosmetic surgery offers no guarantee that the bullying will stop. Children can be cruel, and pinning back a pair of ears does not mean children will stop poking fun at them. Next, maybe bullies will pick on hair color, eyebrow shape or even the fact that a child had plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery might be the right option for some children, but it is important to fight the bullying, not just to get rid of whatever the bullies are picking on. "Fixing" is not an option for most victims of bullying, and a child shouldn't have to look a certain way to be treated with kindness and respect.