“So you wanna act grown? Well now you look grown, too.”
That’s the mantra behind the new promotional offering from “Master Barber” Russell Fredrick (who goes by “Rusty Fred” on Instagram). The owner of A-1 Kutz in suburban Atlanta is giving misbehaving children “old man haircuts” any time their parents order his “Benjamin Button Special.” And he’s doing it free of charge.
Three days a week, parents can take their misbehaving kids to A-1 Kutz 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.
Fredrick says he tested the unique disciplinary technique on his own son, Rushawn, last fall, and his grades “dramatically skyrocketed” after his old-man haircut.
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So u wana #actgrown…well now u look #grown too👴: The #grownupkidsspecial. Bring more bad kids to @a1__kutz for this kut #badkids #discipline #toughlove #barberlife #kidsbarber #instafunny #regram #repost #instalove #kidscuts #balding #receding #haircut #hair #benjaminbuttonspecial #a1__kutz #a1kutz
He posted the four-part image of the child above to social media, and it caught fire online. Reaction has been mostly positive, Fredrick told the Washington Post. “There are a few people that are saying it’s emotional abuse; but on average, everyone is applauding the mother that brought the child in — and applauding me as well.”
Fredrick told The Post that he thinks the image struck a chord because parents are reevaluating their disciplinary techniques, particularly in African American communities, where corporal punishment receives high levels of support but is chastised by the general public.
“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.”