The parents of an 11-year-old girl have spoken about the bullying their daughter went though which got so bad she ended up choosing to have plastic surgery.
Bella Harrington, from Virginia in the US, told her parents that her bulging ears were making her the target of harsh taunts from other kids at her school.
Her mum Sabrina Harrington told WRIC: “They were teasing her over it. One thing they said, she had elf ears.”
Bella added: “They would always, like, point it out, but then the more people pointed it out is when I wanted to change it.
“I thought that they stuck out way too much.”
It got to the point where Bella became too self-conscious to wear her up, so her family decided to get her the surgery to have her ears ‘corrected’.
Dr Joe Niamtu, who carried out the surgery, said that ‘protruding ears’ affect about five percent of population. He told WRIC that many of his younger patients are opting for paediatric cosmetic surgery, adding that when it comes to fixing an issue that’s causing bullying such as this ‘the younger the patient the better’.
He said: “We like to treat these children before they enter school, so it’s not uncommon that I’m doing 4- or 5-year-olds.
“And the reason is bullying, or peer pressure. It’s been shown to psychologically to have the ability to affect their self-esteem or body image for the rest of their life.”
Sabrina added the surgery was ‘no different than getting braces’.
Bella is definitely not the only kid to go under the knife at such a young age. In 2015, Inside Edition reported on six-year-old Gage Berger who also underwent surgery on his ears after being picked on in school.
He said that other kids told him that he ‘looked like an elf’ and that he has ‘weird ears’.
Heart-breakingly adding: “I just don’t want to be made fun of.”
His mum Kallie told the news outlet she had saw her son pushing his ears back in front of the mirror to see what it looked like, before they decided to get the surgery.
“He just gets really down on himself and he thinks, ‘I’m not good enough’,” she said.