One common issue that many children (particularly boys) are bullied about is, large or protruding ears. A quick search on the Internet, will lead you to the accounts of thousands of children who report being bullied because their ears stuck out. If your child is the target of bullying because of their ears, there is no denying it is causing them distress. Whether they are facing verbal, physical, cyberbullying or a combination of all three, there are some things you can do to help your child handle the situation.
What Causes Bullying?
Bullying can happen for a multitude of reasons. Generally, bullies will hone in on anything that is considered ‘different’ from the norm, and continually draw attention to that to make them feel better about themselves. It could be a physical feature like protruding ears that is the focus of the bullying or something else.
While the motivations behind the bully’s actions may be unclear, they could be targeting your child because they feel jealous, want others to like them, want to fit in with their friends, because they’re angry with themselves, or because they like to exert power over others.
Tools To Help Your Child Manage
The first step to help your child manage the situation is to ensure they have the tools to be able to respond to the bullying when it happens. This might involve giving them tips on how to stand up for themselves, how to tell the bully what they’re doing is not okay, keeping their distance from the bully, or developing an understanding of how their emotional response to the bullying will help them build resilience.
A good place to start is by seeking information and support from an organisation like BullyingUK, where you can find a range of resources and strategies to teach your child how best to manage the situation.
What are the other options?
While the ideal solution is for your child to develop the skills they need to effectively manage the bullying, if that does not work, you may look into surgical options to correct their protruding ears.
Otoplasty (or cosmetic ear surgery) is commonly requested by parents of children with prominent ears in the hope of sparing them relentless teasing or bullying. In many cases, the parents themselves have prominent ears, and don’t want their children to experience the same torment and pain they were subjected to at school.
Sometimes referred to as ‘ear pinning’, otoplasty is a surgical procedure that can set prominent ears back and closer to the head. This helps reduce the size of large ears or reshapes ears that are distorted or damaged with the goal of creating a more balanced and symmetrical appearance.
The procedure can generally be performed on children between the ages of 5-14, as the ears are almost fully grown by age 5. Some parents opt to have the surgery as soon as the child is of suitable age and prior to them becoming self-conscious to avoid the anticipated bullying in the school yard.
Resorting to surgery in young children is often a very tough decision, and not one that is taken lightly. It is important that parents are both aware and supportive of their child’s feelings to ensure they want the procedure. It’s likely your child will also need to wear a headband for several weeks following the procedure, so it may be a good idea to schedule it during the summer or in conjunction with school holidays.
If otoplasty is something you would consider for your child, be sure to seek out an experienced professional who has valid qualifications and be sure to carefully weigh the benefits with the potential risks to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
This is a collaborative guest post and does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.