Georgia Barber Gives Misbehaving Kids 'Old Man Haircut'

News: Georgia barber gives misbehaving kids a punitive 'old man haircut.'

Published Feb 5, 2015

On 3 February 2015, a number of media outlets picked up a social media story involving a Snellville, Georgia, barbershop's unusual approach to child discipline. The lead came from Instagram, where the proprietor of the shop shared what he claimed was his unique approach to negative reinforcement for children.

The Washington Post described A-1 Kutz's innovation thusly:

Three days a week, parents can take their misbehaving kids to A-1 Kutz in Snellville and ask for the "Benjamin Button Special," which Russell Fredrick and his team of barbers are offering — free of charge — to parents who want to try a novel form of discipline.

The cut involves shaving hair off the child's crown until he begins to resemble a balding senior citizen, inviting that unique brand of adolescent humiliation that can only come from teasing classmates and unwanted attention.

Supporters say it's the perfect punishment for misbehaving kids who want to "act grown."

The barber, who goes by the nickname "Rusty Fred," published the following image to Instagram on 28 January 2015:

On 29 January 2015, Fredrick posted an updated image of the same child:

Fredrick explained he began offering the service after disciplining his own 12-year-old son in the fashion illustrated. The child pictured was not Fredrick's son, the Post clarified:

And the 10-year-old boy at the top of this post? Fredrick, the Georgia barbershop owner, said the child returned to get his hair fixed. After four days of public humiliation, the boy's mother told the barber her son had learned his lesson — and even started calling himself "old man Jenkins."

"He understood why it happened and he rolled with it and allowed it to make him stronger," Fredrick said. "You gotta reach these kids somehow, and I would gladly do it again."

Although the claim made by "Rusty Fred" proved popular on social media, the story lacked important details. It seemed only two boys had been subject to the questionable form of discipline illustrated (one of Fredrick's children and the unnamed boy pictured), and no additional examples of the purported trend in discipline were provided. The transgressions for which the boys were being punished were not detailed by the shop or subsequent news reports (save for a brief mention of Fredrick's son's grades "dramatically skyrocketing" after the boy was disciplined with the haircut), further muddying any assessment of whether harsh treatment was warranted.

While social media users found the image amusing, it's not really clear the form of punishment depicted is either widespread or effective in inducing children to alter their behavior beyond the period in which they are forced to endure a humiliating haircut.

Last updated:   5 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as back in 1994.

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