At the A-1 Kutz barbershop in Atlanta, barber Russell Fredrick, 34, and his team are asking parents to bring in their misbehaving children to receive the free "Benjamin Button Special," as a new form of discipline.
"So u wana act grown...well now u look grown too," the barber wrote on Instagram after posting before, during and after photos of the first client to receive the punishment.
According to The Washington Post, "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."
Frederick, the barbershop co-owner and a father of three, said he was inspired to offer the service after trying out the disciple on his own 12-year-old son, Rushawn, and saw immediate results. Immediately after Rushawn received his old man haircut for doing poorly in school, Frederick says his son's grades skyrocketed.
The barber says that most of the response has been extremely positive, with many parents sharing the photos across social media and supporting the form of discipline.
Frederick believes the alternative form of discipline has gathered so much support as the lines between corporal punishment and child abuse have become blurred, forcing parents to reevaluate how to bring order to their homes.
"I hope that most people won't have to do this unless it's an extreme circumstances and nothing else is working," Frederick told The Washington Post. "First, you talk or implement your restrictions. But when the conventional ways don't work these days, you have to get creative."
However, psychotherapist Xanthia Bianca Johnson told The Washington Post that she believes using shame as a disciplinary tool is counterproductive:
"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," Johnson said. "The part of the brain that processes logic gets shut off and it can actually stunt physical and emotional growth."
After photos of the first client to receive the "Benjamin Button Special" had gone so viral, the parent of the child came back to the barbershop to have her son's hair fixed four days later. The child, however, claimed he learned his lesson 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 said. "You gotta reach these kids somehow, and I would gladly do it again."