You may have already heard about 14-year-old Nadia Ilse, who got plastic surgery after years of torment for having “elephant ears.” Kids are cruel! Yet, as I read several different articles/blogs about Nadia, I wondered if the surgery circumvented an important process to unfold which could have lead to a “bully free” environment for in that community.
Dr. Vivian Diller eloquently stated her concerns, which I share, in the ABC News interview:
“When you surgically alter the victim of a bully, isn’t it questionable that message we are sending is that the burden lies on the victim and not on a culture that is fueling some bullying trend that we know is going on.”
Nadia received the surgery pro bono from the Little Baby Face Foundation. Dr. Thomas Romo III, who is the foundation’s President and performed the surgery, stated that Nadia was not picked because she was a victim of bullying but rather because her deformity fit the Organization’s criteria.
I want to stress that in no way do I want to minimize Nadia’s torment. She should not have – nor should anyone – be made fun of how they look. I truly hope that the children who teased her will stop and not find something else/someone else to make fun of.
How should parents and young people address bullying when the problem can be medically corrected? My earlier post, Are We Overreacting to Bullying? looked at one parent’s perspective that our attention to bullying has prevented our children from learning how to stand up for themselves. While I don’t agree with that sentiment, I wonder what lessons the bullies or Nadia have learned.
Nadia, for one, has learned how to forgive.
Baby with big ears photo available from Shutterstock