So, you’re a parent who has no clue of how to discipline your kid? A Georgia barbershop may be able to help you.
Offering the latest in humiliation for misbehaving boys, “A-1 Kutz” in Snellville, Georgia will give your child what they call the “Benjamin Button Special,” named after the Brad Pitt character in the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” That involves a haircut that makes the boy look like an old man. The shop’s owner, Russell Fredrick, thinks this is a good way to deal with misbehavior.
Fredrick tells the Washington Post that he got the idea after his own son’s grades started slipping in school. One “old man haircut,” and suddenly the boy’s grades turned around. Fredrick thinks the “old man haircut” idea is better than beating your kids. Yeah, no doubt. But, what about confining your kid to his room, taking away his internet access, his cell phone, television, video games? When done correctly, those sorts of “timeouts” are pretty effective, too, without making your kid the butt of schoolyard jokes.
Still, Fredrick thinks he has hit on something. He says the response has mainly been positive. He adds that he only wants people to use this as a last resort, when other methods of discipline have failed. He says, “[W]hen the conventional ways don’t work these days, you have to get creative.”
A psychotherapist questions the “Benjamin Button” method.
Xanthia Bianca Johnson tells the Washington Post that shaming kids for discipline is often counter productive. She says that effective discipline involves getting children to reflect on mistakes, but that is hard to do when they are distracted by “blame and shame.”
Clinical social worker Douglas Gotel agrees with Johnson. In referring to a single mother whose son is featured by Fredrick as a “poster boy” of sorts for this treatment, Gotel says, “It may work for her, it may work for that community, but there are more effective ways to teach values.”
But Willy Jefferson, Jr., a father from Houston, sees nothing wrong with a little old fashioned humiliation as a means of discipline. He tells the Washington Post:
Shaming isn’t bad for children if it teaches respect. 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.
According to Fredrick, the boy in his photos returned several days later to get a regular haircut, and the mother told him that the experience had taught her son his lesson. “I’d gladly do it again,” Fredrick says.
Here’s a video report, from WGCL:
Image via screen capture from WGCL