In one of the most relatable stories we’ve heard of this year, British television host and mother Kirstie Allsopp, 47, admitted on national television that she smashed her children’s iPads because she she was sick of them disobeying her rules about their use.
“In June I smashed my kids’ iPads,” Allsopp said on the Jeremy Vine show.
“Not in a violent way … I actually banged them on the table leg,” the Location, Location, Location host clarified.
If you’re thinking that’s a little… extreme… you’re not alone.
I don’t like to be judgey of other people’s parenting, but…I am going to say that despite Allsopp’s protest, smashing an iPad on the leg of a table does seem a tad violent.
It also seems like she was at the end of her tether – and we can all relate to that.
In the segment, the mum explained that she had established firm rules about the amount of time her two sons, aged nine and 12, could spend playing online games such as their favourite – the all-consuming, bain of many parents’ life – Fortnite.
“All of those rules got broken, and in the end I said, ‘Right, that’s it, I have to physically [break them],’” she said.
Allsopp then proceeded to smash the devices on a table leg – in front of her disobedient children.
Demonstrating the swinging action she used to achieve said smashing, the mum said cheerfully, “It was remarkably easy.”
The panel seemed agog at the admission of ‘extreme parenting’, which can more generally be known as ‘losing one’s shit’.
Look, we’ve all been there. We’ve repeated and repeated and repeated ourselves until we want to tear our hair out – and still, our kids don’t listen.
I mean, if your children aren’t ignoring you until you have an existential crisis about whether or not you in fact exist, how do you even know you’re a parent?
But far from receive a unified front, people on social media were swift in their criticism of Allsopp’s parenting.
Allsopp was accused of being wasteful of expensive items, negligent in the values she was teaching her kids, and for only acting in anger, rather than constructively.
Some comments were kind, and said her response had been a 'mild overreaction'. But most were not.
“A massive, destructive waste. She should have given them away to another kid who couldn’t afford one but really wants one,” one Twitter user wrote.
Sorry, to sound judgey - but I do wholeheartedly agree with it seeming wasteful. I'm not entirely sure what was achieved by the device destruction - apart from Allsopp saving her sanity.
(So...actually....maybe it was worth it....??)
Sure, the kids may have learnt the harsh lesson of the importance of listening to their mum... but they won't have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge, now there are literally no iPads in existence for them to show her how they have learnt to respect boundaries.
Even ‘Supernanny’ and parenting expert Jo Frost questioned Allsopp's method, saying that whilst she appreciated her honesty, she wasn't confident that destroying her children's toys (and most likely their will to live) was the best course of action.
“Your demand for respect with your intimidating actions would of now taught your children exactly the opposite of what ultimately you were trying to achieve,” Frost wrote.
Oooph. The poor love. In fact, Allsopp received so much abuse for her admission, she has now deleted her Twitter account.
And that is definitely not cool. At all.
Abuse is never OK.
But before she closed her account, Allsopp defended herself:
“If you found your kids with a packet of cigarettes would you say, ‘I won’t destroy these because they are worth a tenner but please don’t smoke?’ No of course you wouldn’t,” she tweeted.
So what could Allsopp have done differently? Here are my suggestions:
- Delete the app and restrict the re-purchase with a password.
- Lock the iPads away/Take them to the office.
- Donate the iPads to a family or charity in need.
- Make the kids earn back their access to the iPad.
Easier said than done? Probably.
I'll let you know the next time I go nuts when my own kid won't get off his device.