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Georgia barber offers free ‘old man’ haircut as punishment for misbehaving kids

An Atlanta barber is offering free haircuts for parents who want to discipline their misbehaving children.

An Atlanta barber is offering free haircuts for parents who want to discipline their misbehaving children.  (Russell Fredrick)

Now parents aren't the only ones who have to pull their hair out.

An Atlanta barber is offering parents the option to take their misbehaving kids into his store, where he gives the child an 'old man' haircut as a form of punishment.

The haircut was named the "Benjamin Button Special," and it's free three days a week at A-1 Kutz barber shop in Atlanta. The haircut is simple: the misbehaving child gets a crown that resembles a bald adult, with hair only sprouting out on the side. (Think Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons.”)

"I hope that most people won't have to do this unless it's an extreme circumstance and nothing else works," Russell Fredrick, the barber, told The Washington Post.

Like most debates about effective ways of punishing kids, the paper noted that there are those in favor of the haircuts and those opposed. Those in favor say the punishment is fitting for a child who, say, gets too big for his britches and it is seen as a less-severe option than spanking.

Those opposed, like one psychotherapist interviewed in the report, said these haircuts, like most shaming disciplinary tools, are ineffective.

"There's lots of research that supports the fact that when a child is blamed or shamed it triggers their nervous system, and when the nervous system is shut down, it is directly connected to the brain," Xanthia Bianca Johnson told The Post. "The part of the brain that processes logic gets shut off and it can actually stunt physical and emotional growth."

Still, those like Willie Jefferson,  who shaved his 11-year-old son's head last fall, told the paper that his son has been well-behaved since the haircut.

"Shaming isn't bad for children if it teaches respect," he told the paper. "It taught me respect, it taught my parents respect, it taught my grandparents and great grandparents respect, and that's what I’m going to stick with."