Got a kid who’s acting wise like an adult? Maybe he should look like an adult – or better yet, a senior citizen.
Russell Fredrick of the A-1 Kutz barbershop in Snellville, Georgia, thinks so anyway. And he’s offering parents the option of giving their wayward children “old-man haircuts” to try to publicly embarrass them into behaving better, reports The Washington Post.
Fredrick shaves hair off the crown to make the child resemble a balding senior citizen. He did it with his own 12-year-old son last fall, and recently finished his second case at the request of a parent – and photos of the kid went viral online.
Some observers are appalled by the tactic, saying it’s not only humiliating but a short-term solution that may well be counterproductive in the long run. But Fredrick says he has at least as many supporters as detractors.
“There are a few people that are saying it’s emotional abuse,” he told The Washington Post. “But on average, everyone is applauding the mother that brought the child in – and applauding me as well.”
And it’s a promising option, he adds, for parents who can’t fall back on spanking.
“Parents are at a loss,” Fredrick says. “When you go to discipline kids these days, they can’t necessarily use physical punishment the way parents did in the past, but they have to do something. If you don’t, and your kid ends up doing something crazy, everyone is going to say the problems started at home.”
Fredrick admits it should probably be a last resort, though.
“I hope that most people won’t have to do this unless it’s an extreme circumstances and nothing else is working,” he says. “First, you talk or implement your restrictions. But when the conventional ways don’t work these days, you have to get creative.”
So, how did the punishment affect the two test subjects so far?
Fredrick says his son’s grades “dramatically skyrocketed” after the old-man haircut. And the 10-year-old boy who got the same treatment? He accepted his fate in remarkable fashion 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 says. “You gotta reach these kids somehow, and I would gladly do it again.”