Gage Berger, a 6-year old that was incessantly teased and bullied in school for years recently underwent surgery to pin back his ears, which he felt to be the cause of his bullying.
His dad Timothy Berger said that over the past year, his “playful, outgoing” son had “changed.” Gage started keeping to himself more, and he “didn’t want to go to school.”
“I’d catch him looking in the mirror and trying to pin them back, and when he got nervous or upset or when he was in trouble, he’d physically grab his ears,” Timothy said. “It was subconscious. It was him thinking that his ears were the problem and that was why he must be in trouble.”
Not wanting the bullying and teasing to permanently affect their son, parents Timothy and Kallie began considering cosmetic surgery, more specifically ear-pinning surgery. Timothy Berger is stated to have said “This isn’t any different than taking your child to get braces to ‘fix’ the appearance of crooked teeth. We explained to him the surgery, which is only a short two-hour procedure. He was so excited about it. Obviously, if he wasn’t on board with it, we wouldn’t have touched him. Ultimately, we told him it was up to him.”
In their search, they found facial plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Mobley, who runs the Mobley Foundation for Charitable Surgery in Salt Lake City, Utah. The foundation provides free cosmetic surgeries for school-aged children who are being bullied, and whose parents can’t afford the particular surgery they and their child want to have.
Dr. Mobley says he himself was bullied as a child and eventually received ear pinning surgery at the age of 19. He states cosmetic surgery is “a very personal and private decision parents and children need to make together.” Mobley said the minimum age he performs surgery is 5 years old since the ear is then 70 to 80 percent the size of its full adult size. He also evaluates the child’s mental health and maturity.
The procedure was fairly simple. Mobley did a 2-hour procedure under local anesthesia. Gage was able to see his new ears 2 days later, and pictures show him grinning from ear to ear. Gage’s parents said he’s now back to his old self and couldn’t be happier.
As a parent, we want our children to be happy. We want our children to be confident. Does this border on opting for an easy way out, and not teaching our child to stand up to bullies? Or does it give our child the confidence to be able to face bullying with added confidence? What are your thoughts?