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Last updated: October 04, 2017

Barber Gives Kids ‘Old Man’ Haircuts as Form of Punishment

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Move over spanking, timeouts and grounding…there’s a new form of discipline that’s been gaining attention—and it has surprisingly effective results! It’s been dubbed “haircut shaming”—parents take electric razors to the heads of their misbehaving children to create ugly, “old man hair” as a form of punishment. They then take to YouTube, Facebook and other social media channels to post their handiwork for all to see.


This alternative form of punishment began with Russell Frederick, a barber and 34-year-old father of three. Last year, Russell’s 12-year-old son was acting up in class and ignoring his homework. So the barber did what he does best—he picked up his clippers and cut off his fade. But this wasn’t just any cut. It was a complete shave intended as a form of discipline when other tactics didn’t work.


“After I shaved him bald, I told him that if things continued, I would get more creative with each cut,” says Russell, co-owner of A-1 Kutz in Snellville, Georgia. “But I never had to because he straightened up his act.”


Soon, the social media trend caught on. Not long after Russell posted the first photo on Instagram, parents began to approach him for embarrassing, old-man cuts he called “Benjamin Button Specials” or “The George Jefferson,” named for their baldness on top and hair left around the back and sides. He’s done more than 20 since February, free of charge.


The flood of “Benjamin Button” videos during the last six months has lit up a debate about public shaming as discipline and fits into a broader trend of parents using social media to humiliate their kids online.


Whatever your stance, Russell is quick to point out that usually, the system really works! In fact, the mother of his first “victim” returned to let him know her son received an award at the end of the school year for best academic improvement.


“I try to talk to the kids a little first,” Russell says. “They’re usually pretty much embarrassed and feeling bad about what’s going on. Nobody’s come back a second time.”


What Would You DO? If a client requested you give their child an embarrassing haircut? Join the conversation and see what other stylists are saying…