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Come talk to me - ears pinned back - anyone being through this with their child?

(62 Posts)
Sandy22 Sat 12-Sep-09 21:51:14

My ds does have fairly large ears which do stick out - he is becoming more aware of this and is asking why his ears can't be like mine and go in rather than stick out. Has anyone had a child that have had their ears pinned back? I would be grateful to hear from you.

No but will be interested to hear responses. DD1 (12) has very sticky out ears. She hasn't really noticed yet, but it is inevitable that she will at some point.

preciouslillywhite Sat 12-Sep-09 22:01:07

I have massively sticky out ears. It made my school life hell, so my mum told me that when I reached my 16th birthday I could decide whether or not to have them done.On my 16th, I talked to my bitch close friend and she said "but precious, your massive ears are part of what makes you YOU!"

I listened to, and took, her sage advice. Now at 43 still wish I hadn't hmm

Sandy22 Sat 12-Sep-09 22:15:17

School is what I am bothered about - my ds is only 7 but already some of the other boys are calling him big ears sad

preciouslillywhite Sat 12-Sep-09 22:25:00

Sandy my ds (pfb, 12) has had the misfortune of inheriting my ears...when he was a baby loads of people told me to stick them down with plasters when he was asleep!!

...now, he has had a fair bit of pisstaking at school over the years, and has longish hair to cover them, but he's not overly bothered about them and is, of course, devilishly handsome anyway wink

interestingly I never (or hardly!) considered getting them pinned back, even tho I know at first hand what it's like to live with em! It never seemed worth the risk of an op to me, and they are liveable with. Whatever I said in my last post wink

barbarapym Sat 12-Sep-09 22:42:53

My brother had it done in the early eighties, aged about 9 I think. Quite drastic, involving a general anesthetic, overnight stay in hospital and wearing a bandage on his head for a couple of weeks afterwards ( his hair was moulded into a funny shape for ages afterwards!) His ears were quite bad though- my uncle, who was never exactly sensitive, used to call him 'wingnut'...

Alas I have started to notice that my beautiful 3yo dd has inherited them, but at least she has long hair so I hope she and others won't notice.

Elibean Sat 12-Sep-09 22:43:45

No, but my bf at school had her pinned back...it was a very long time ago, but I remember her having to be careful for a while after she came back to school. She was probably about 7 or 8 at the time, and she was very sensitive about her ears - though I don't remember anyone teasing her (and I'd never noticed them!).

Also, my dd1's friend is about to have hers pinned back in a couple of weeks' time. She's nearly 6, and the doctor apparently said this was a good age, on the basis that teasing - if there is any - tends to start around the age of 7. They've had lots of info about it, her Mum is going to talk to the school, I think she'll miss a week or more because of having to be very careful not to bump her ears after the op till they've healed.

If there's anything specific you'd like to know, I can ask her for you if that would help.

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 12-Sep-09 22:49:16

We've given some thought to this - DD1's ears stick out hugely, but her hair helps cover them up, so for now, we'll leave it.

Sandy22 Sun 13-Sep-09 11:28:13

Thank you so much for all your replies smile - it's hard to say but I think if I had a girl I may not even think about it as I would hope her hair could cover but my ds likes to have his hair short - I really am in two minds about this, part of me thinks he will be okay to tough it out but then part of me thinks well why should he have to. DH is in agreement that ds's ears do really stick out and thinks we should look at getting them pinned back - he says that high school for boys is hard enough without someone picking on him because of his ears.

Elibean could you please keep in touch with me and let me know how your dd1's friend is after the op - I would be very grateful smile

Elibean Sun 13-Sep-09 14:01:42

Of course I will smile

We're about to move house, so will be offline for a week or two but her op isn't till the end of the month anyway. Will re-post on this thread for practicality's sake.

If it were my ds, I think I'd be thinking the same as you and your dh...I'm not scared of ops per se, since dd2 had her tonsils and adenoids out age just 2. Benefits, in her case, far outweighed the downsides...harder to weigh up with ears, but still would consider and research I think.

Also, my parents didn't get my teeth straightened when I was 12 on the basis that I was too scared/upset at the idea - I still wish they'd had the ability to support me through that and go ahead!

Sandy22 Sun 13-Sep-09 14:58:35

Many thanks Elibean - good luck with the house move - catch up with you in a couple of weeks smile

mollyroger Sun 13-Sep-09 15:07:19

both my boys have 'monkey' ears, as they call them Neither dh or I do. Both have very long hair to cover it. No teasing yet, but they are aware of it.
I asked HV and GP when ds1 was 3 and was told not to be so stupid and be grateful they were healthy, lovely-looking boys..

dogonpoints Sun 13-Sep-09 15:11:52

My friend's dd (12) has just had this op. Very sticky out ears. When she went on a visit to her new high school, the first thing an older pupil said to her was a comment about her ears.

The op was very successful, bandages off and stitches out after one week and, most importantly, my friend's dd is very happy with the result and has made a confident start to high school. No point putting yourself through constant teasing unnecessarily.

wingandprayer Sun 13-Sep-09 15:24:57

I had my ears pinned back at 10 and was without a doubt the best thing my parents ever did for me. Apart from the anaesthetic and some mild post operative discomfort was actually very straight forward and this was 25 years ago so they probably even better at it now! I hated the teasing and had fine hair so couldn't really cover them up.

mollyroger Sun 13-Sep-09 15:31:26

will they do it on nhs? Presume not as it is cosmetic.
Anyone know roughly how much it miught cost?

dogonpoints Sun 13-Sep-09 15:45:48

I am pretty sure my friend got it on nhs. If it is something significant which can affect self-esteem etc, nhs would do it.

Sandy22 Sun 13-Sep-09 17:23:42

I'm hoping it can be done on the NHS - I'm going to make an appt to see the GP so will come back and let you know.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Sun 13-Sep-09 17:29:46

Sandy - I am interested to read this thread, My DS1 was born without any cartiledge (sp?) in his left ear, it flops over and has little structure to it We were guided that they wouldnt do anything before he was 5 and after that only if we felt it was going to cause problems.
DH and I don't agree, I feel as it gets bigger the floppyness will be more and more obvious, DH feels that as he is coping we should wait.
SO that is what we are doing, but I will be totally ready to proceed with an operation at the point DS1 is being picked on about it.

castille Sun 13-Sep-09 17:49:39

DD1 (then nearly 11) had hers done last summer.

My advice would firstly be to make sure your DS definitely wants to have the op, and not do it unless he is sure. Your DS might not be teased about his ears, or they might not bother him as much as you think, or he might cope perfectly well with any teasing.

My DD was totally adamant she wanted to have hers done before starting secondary school. She was terrified of the anaesthetic and was in some pain afterwards, but that subsided within a day or two. One year on the result is pretty good and she is glad she did it.

Can't help re NHS though as we are in France.

NorbertDentressangle Sun 13-Sep-09 17:57:46

I had mine done on the NHS when I was about 18. Saw the GP who referred me to a consultant plastic surgeon.

I'd been approved to have it done when I was about 10 but my name got lost on the waiting list and I didn't decide to chase it until years later. I think it would have been easier to have it done when I was around 10 rather than 18 just from the point of view of the bandages being on for 2 weeks. (not a good look when you're 18 and trying to impress a fairly boyfriend wink)

I didn't really get teased at school about my ears but I was aware of them. I always wore my hair to cover them up. Having them done gave me so much more freedom

NorbertDentressangle Sun 13-Sep-09 17:58:29

oops..."fairly new boyfriend" that is

NoahAmin Sun 13-Sep-09 18:01:54

deffo have it done imo

Elibean Sun 13-Sep-09 20:42:33

Sandy, dd's friend is getting hers done on the NHS.

Thanks for the luck, I need it wink

Question here for those of you with bat-eared children. Would you bring the subject up with them if they had never mentioned it themselves?
I don't think DD has ever been teased about her ears, and most of the time she wears her hair loose so the ears are not noticeable, but when she ties it back her ears are the first thing you look at.
I don't want to talk to her about it if she hasn't noticed it, but equally I would hate to think that she did know and mind and just hadn't told me how she felt. she is 12 and in Yr 8 so I would have thought that if teasing was going to happen it would have done so by now.

maize Mon 14-Sep-09 10:20:59

Different perspective. My DH has sticky out ears and his parents point blank refused to allow him to have them pinned (very against cosmetic alterations). He wears his hair a little bit longer so he can disguise it but now his hair is thinning and he is going to have to shave it very shortly and he is dreading it because of his ears.

He says that if our children have sticky out ears he will allow them to have their ears pinned as soon as they want it because his have got more obvious as he is older.

My ears look like they have been pinned - people have asked and I get complimented on them (weirdly) so pinned ears look nice apparently?

Hollyoaks Mon 14-Sep-09 10:24:30

I was 16 when I had mine done on the NHS. I as teased quite a bit from my ds of all people, but random people would also comment. I wore my fine hair down to cover it as much as I could but it was always on my mind.

The op was fairly painless, they numb your hand so dont feel the canular (sp?) and their is minimal pain afterwards. You can go home the same day, though I had to stay in as had a lot of shaking due to the anaesthetic and couldn't eat. I then had a head bandage for 10 days, stitches out after that and a head bandage to wear at night for about 12 weeks after that (I think). My ears were very black and blue but the result was amazing. They do look a little strange but that is because I didn't have the normal bends in my ears so I don't think its the normal pinned look and they are certainly flat.

It was the best thing I ever did, my confidence went from a 0 to a 10 overnight, I cut my hair short, got my first boyfriend and had a fantastic social life in 6th form. I now have no issues with my ears and have my hair fairly short and tucked behind them most of the time. I would definately recommend it if your ds is starting to get upset by it. As for it not being a 'necessary' surgery, I totally disagree, low self esteem is a major issue which can affect your whole life. Surgery to try and improve that is very necessary imo.

Hope that is of use smile

paisleyleaf Mon 14-Sep-09 10:26:37

A friend of mine had his done early on at secondary school. It was the best thing ever for him. It really turned him around and gave him confidence, where he had been getting picked on about it before.

castille Mon 14-Sep-09 12:40:55

LadyG - Honestly, I would leave it if she hasn't noticed or genuinely isn't bothered.

However you could discreetly ensure that she knows it is possible to have one's ears pinned back, without relating it to her, so that she is aware that people don't have to live with it if they aren't happy.

I wouldn't force a cosmetic operation on an unwilling child. Although DD wanted it done and is pleased with the result, she found it quite a traumatic experience.

toddlerama Mon 14-Sep-09 13:01:16

Maize - would your DH get it done as an adult now if it still bothers him?

Has anyone had their ears pinned and never thought about it again, only to find their children have the same look? I ask this because I had braces for super-goofy teeth and once the braces were off, assumed that would be the end of it. But my daughter is my exact double and I wonder what her teeth will be like when she gets her big teeth. I feel sort of bad that mine are normal now in case she feels freaky. Is this normal or am I being ridiculous?

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 13:07:56

my dh had sticky out ears as a child and was bullied badly as a result. Since I have known him he has always had close cropped hair and as he has a lovely face it has never, ever bothered me, never even noticed. Ds has very slightly sticky out ears but a beautiful face. I think it is a shame to have severe surgery to avoid the whims of playground bullies, tbh.

Hollyoaks Mon 14-Sep-09 13:46:55

But its a simple procedure that can change someone's life if its affecting them badly enough. I wouldn't advocate making anyone do it who wasn't bothered by it or even those who are strong enough to withstand the bullying but for some people it is the right choice.

mollyroger Mon 14-Sep-09 15:41:19

but a general aneasthetic is not exactly 'simple' procedure, is it?

Hollyoaks Mon 14-Sep-09 18:06:26

For me personally it was a 'small' risk to take to correct something that made me feel awful about myself. It may not have been a physical illness but it felt like a psychological one which needed to be treated. It's not a decision to be taken lightly but it can make dramatic improvements to someones life.

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 20:35:25

but was it your ears that made you feel awful about yourself or the way you felt perceived by other people? I do feel a lot of it is about the way you are helped to manage these things by your parents or even counselling. I mean the problem is not your ears, the problem is other people's perception of what is 'normal'.

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 20:37:42

i think when you start entertaining the idea of surgery under ga when you are not ill, you have to start thinking where you draw the line. I'm not criticising your decision Holly, I'm criticising a society that puts a sort of nonsensical physical perfection above anything else in human worth.

NoahAmin Mon 14-Sep-09 20:40:10

i had my son under TWO gas for his eyes.

(ptosis)
he is so pleased we did. He comments occasionally on how he looked before. They are always saying how he likes the way he looks now.

NoahAmin Mon 14-Sep-09 20:40:40

sorry the comments are always approving.

Sandy22 Mon 14-Sep-09 20:46:17

My ds mentioned his ears again today - I told him that you can go to the doctors and they can do something with his ears. When he asked what do I mean, I took him to the mirror and put his ears in a bit - he took one look at himself and said yes there are in but then it doesn't look like me anymore..... this made me smile and sort of warmed my heart.

castille Mon 14-Sep-09 21:07:09

But Noah, you can't do ears at an age when they are too young to realise or remember much of what happens.

And ptosis can lead to more serious conditions, whereas sticking out ears are just aesthetically bothersome. So it has to be the child's choice. And in any case, no cosmetic surgeon would pin back the ears of an unwilling child.

Hollyoaks Mon 14-Sep-09 21:48:53

In response to an earlier question, my decision to have the op was based upon my impression of myself as being in some way 'abnormal'. This was due to other peoples comments but it made me feel like I stood out, like that was all people were looking at. I agree that ga for something that is not essential for health may not be for everyone but the difference it has made to my life was worth the risk.

I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to go to uni or have boyfriends had I not had it done as my self-image was so low.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 21:58:19

I know what you;re saying, pofaced, but no one wants their child to go through supreme embarrassment and unhappiness for the sake of teaching society what's normal and what's not.

If you had a child you was 10+ and hated their ears, you;d know all about it and it is the child's feelings that make the decision all teh easier.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 21:59:46

And my friend - whose dd had her ears done in teh summer - is very anti g&a. She used to go wild-eyed at the the risks when my dd was having one gromet op after another. But she realised what this meant to her dd.

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 22:15:34

well no my point wasn't that a child should have to withstand bullying to teach society something, though I can see what you are saying. It was that working on a child's inner confidence may be as/more important than solving an external flaw. That and having a good teacher at school who can promote the right values of caring for each other at school and teaching what is really important and what isn't. I do understand though why you'd choose to have the op.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 22:27:39

That sounds ideal, po, but really wouldn't work in many situations

nigglewiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 22:29:48

I've grown up with sticking out ears and to me it is "normal" it's a bit of a family trait, so I'm quite fond of them.

Yes I got teased about them, but if it wasn't my ears it would have been something else. Would you get your child a nose job if they had a 'big' nose, would you let them have liposuction if they struggled to lose weight?

I think that allowing vanity to drive us towards cosmetic surgery for our children is a step too far.

My family gave me the confidence to deal with the teasing and I have never even felt the slightest bit tempted to go under the surgeon's knife.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 22:32:02

Can't you see that that is just you, niggle, and that this is an extremely personal issue?

In fact, I feel pissed off that you are talking about 'vanity' in such a way

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 22:32:06

yes it is an ideal, but worth trying for! I do wonder where we draw the line. I hated the way I looked as a teenager, I was paralysed by it, but in my case it was confidence that was needed, not surgery.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 22:34:22

My friend did try for the ideal. Why do you think people don't try for the ideal and often find out it won't work for them?

pofacedandproud Mon 14-Sep-09 22:35:20

I'm not attacking your friend's decision dogonpoints, I can see that pov, and respect it, just think there might be another way too.

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 22:37:30

Of course there is another way, and a way which most parents try, I suspect. The op is experiencing the same problem - when a child is old enough to be self-conscious and influenced by others considered more important than parents and teachers.

nigglewiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 22:40:32

Well I don't know what else to call it. Surely we are encouraging vanity by organising surgery for children because we they are not happy about how they look. I wonder how much more likely I would have been to pick my appearance apart if my parents had started with some 'minor alterations.'

dogonpoints Mon 14-Sep-09 22:46:52

My friend was very happy with her dds' looks. The 12 year old girl was not happy. And all ears are diffrent. You have no idea what hers looked like and how she felt about it. You are entrenched in your own subjective view.

nigglewiggle Mon 14-Sep-09 23:16:14

Obviously I am not unbiased and I have no desire to see children unhappy. But I think as parents we have a responsibility to teach children that we cannot have everything that we want, just because we want it. I think this casual approach to serous surgery is setting a worrying example to a young person.

Hollyoaks Tue 15-Sep-09 08:16:27

Niggle, my parents did not take a 'casual' approach to the surgery nor did my gp. To get the surgery on the NHS a persons mental well-being has to be at risk. My parents could have reassured me until they were blue in the face but it wouldn't have changed my pov and how much I hated myself. My parents would have chosen not to put me through the surgery if it was their decision but it was mine. They did what many parents would do and supported that decision.

It is not a vanity issue its a self-worth issue which needs to be addressed. You obviously have not been in my shoes or anyone elses who has felt the need to undergo a surgical procedure for this reason. I feel quite offended that you think this was a throw away decision for my family and that my parents thought that this was the easy option rather than teach me the values of appreciating the hand that was dealt.

pofacedandproud Tue 15-Sep-09 09:29:49

Of course it was not vanity. I totally understand why you felt that way and made the decision you did. But there is a wider discussion to be had, that of helping self-worth through surgery, and whether that is the correct route to take.

Hollyoaks Tue 15-Sep-09 09:50:16

To be honest that was aimed more at niggle than you. Self-worth issues can be treat in a number of ways including councelling (sp?) or even medication. If its already medicalised (sp) in that way why is surgery not acceptable. In many cases that's the issue over, when its the right decision for the individual.

pofacedandproud Tue 15-Sep-09 09:57:09

Perhaps pre-surgery counselling might be a good idea? I don't know, just wondering. My dh was made miserable by the bullying at school about his ears, but children do bully for so many reasons, and he is now confident and well adjusted [sort of grin ] Perhaps it is worse for girls, the pressure for physical perfection is much greater. I knew a boy who didn't just have sticky out ears, he was really quite ugly. But he had no problems getting girls, as he was super confident [his mother idolized him] and was very, very funny.

Hollyoaks Tue 15-Sep-09 10:03:38

You're right that its a confidence issue but for some people who haven't got that natural 'x-factor' type personality the bullies can really drag you down. Not sure what the answer is, its definitely a personal decision and no people can be treat the same.

Sandy22 Tue 15-Sep-09 12:29:11

Niggle: I don't have a casual approach to serious surgery at all which is why I posted the question in the first place! If in the long run my ds begins to be very unhappy and starts to lose the confidence that he has because of his ears then why on earth would I tell him just to get on with it and put up with the bullying and taunts when there is a possible solution to help him - duh!

pofacedandproud Tue 15-Sep-09 12:38:05

i don't think it is about telling him to put up with it. It is about telling him how amazing and beautiful he is, and instilling inside him a sense of confidence about himself that cannot be riled by the bullies. I am not saying this always works, I am not saying you don't do it alredy, but it is different to shutting your child out and telling him to 'put up with it' -that would be awful.

Elibean Sun 27-Sep-09 12:05:43

Sandy22, hi, am now re-connected having moved and friend's dd has had her op smile

I asked her Mum for low-down: she says it was day surgery, and apart from sickness from the anaesthetic her dd had no problems at all. She complained a bit about the bruise on her hand being sore (where the cannula went in for the anaesthetic) but didn't once complain of pain re her ears. They gave calpol and nurofen regularly for a couple of days, then stopped - and she's playing and happy and fine. Big bandage around her head, to be changed a week later and replaced by a light bandage - and she's off school for 1-2 weeks to avoid knocks.

dd is going to the movies with her today (5 days post-op), she has friends over etc, just being careful as playground play can be rough and its not worth the risk.

She was a breech baby, and one of her ears was actually twisted forwards - the other was just sticky out, but they did both while they were at it.

HTH, good luck with your decision - am sure its a tough call, no black/white about things like this IMO smile

stressedbutluvem Tue 06-Oct-09 14:19:43

40 now but had mine done when I was 8 on the NHS. Was teased terribly at school. Parents arranged appointments etc but then I made the final decision. Sooooooooo glad I did never regretted it and having been an ENT nurse since it doesnt seem as involved as when i had it done. I have one other part of my body that I hate and was also teased about, still hate it now and so wished that I could have had surgery for that as well so for me personally anyway, it's not like this is a childhood thing that will go away in adulthood.

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