Mom Asks If It’s An ‘Age Appropriate Consequence’ To Destroy Her 7-Year-Old’s IPad After He Flushed Her Apple Watch Down The Toilet

Would destroying an equally valuable device truly teach him a lesson?

Little boy smiling while playing with digital tablet at home George Rudy | Shutterstock

A mom questioned if she made the right the right discipline choice after her son destroyed one of her most valuable possessions. 

In a TikTok video, a content creator and mom named Allison Zinnick revealed that she immediately went after her son's tablet as a consequence but worried if it was the right way to discipline his actions and teach him a lesson.

She questioned if it was an 'age-appropriate consequence' to destroy her son's iPad after he flushed her Apple Watch down the toilet. 

"What is an age-appropriate consequence for the following," she asked, "My son is 7, and he has ADHD, which is an explanation, not an excuse, but I feel like it provides context."


She explained that her son had impulsively flushed her Apple Watch down the toilet, and she was now wondering what would be the best way to punish him. If she just went out and bought another watch, her son would simply learn that if he damages her stuff, she can just easily replace it, which isn't the case.

@allison_zed Calling all #tiktokmoms … what would you do if your son flushed your #applewatch down the toilet? What is an age appropriate consequence. #adher #adhdkid #kidswithadhd ♬ nintendo wii (mii channel) song - julie on the internet

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Every punishment that she's thought of has been a bit harsh, including taking his tablet and smashing it with a hammer. She admitted that nothing she thinks of makes sense and in the long run, would most likely traumatize her son rather than teaching him not to do something like that again. 

Zinnick later found out that her son had told his grandmother that the reason he flushed her Apple Watch down the toilet was because she'd initially taken his tablet away, which made him mad enough to retaliate. 

Zinnick even noticed that she may have been coddling him a bit too much since he has ADHD and essentially giving him too much "wiggle room" instead of putting her foot down.

It can often be difficult to raise, take care of, and also discipline a child who has ADHD or other emotional regulatory issues. For Zinnick, this entire situation has been a wake-up call for what she needs to change and work on.


At first, she was just going to take away his tablet and make him do chores, but she is now reconsidering.

"There's nothing motivating [him]," she pointed out. "Also, finding out that it was his tablet that's behind this whole thing has kind of made me think, 'You're never getting it back.'"

She insisted that if this is the type of dynamic that it's causing between her and her son, then he's better off without a tablet in the first place. 

She ended up taking his tablet away and created a "chore menu," where he could complete a list of different chores, like cleaning the toilet and picking up their dog's poop. Each chore would earn him money that she could use to buy herself another Apple Watch, and until then, his tablet would no longer be his.


Despite coming up with a better punishment, she's still questioning whether he should even get his iPad back in the first place. Unfortunately, a rise in screen time among children has parents like Zinnick asking themselves the same question.

child playing on tablet with headphones on FamVeld | Shutterstock

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NBC News reported on two studies that examined the association between screen time and behavioral and psychological risks for children. In one study, researchers reported a link between screen time and higher rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnoses among preteens. In the other, the results suggested that using electronic devices to calm youngsters when they’re upset may inhibit their ability to learn to soothe themselves, leading to more frequent, intense emotional outbursts. 

While it's encouraged for children to have a balanced amount of time with digital screens and engage in other activities, especially social interactions with other kids that take them away from the screens, some parents actually can't get much done without their child in front of a screen of some sort. This shouldn't be a basis for judgment or criticism as every family has mounds of responsibilities to juggle and sometimes it's just easier to park a child in front of the TV for a couple of hours.

Zinnick addressed the condescending comments about allowing her son access to a tablet.

"Honestly, are we still judging each other for this? It's a family device that he has access to, I didn't feel like I needed to explain," she said. "But it doesn't even matter."

She pointed out that most families have technology for their children, and while parents are now becoming educated on the consequences of too much screen time and how damaging it can be for their child's development to be suctioned to their tablets, there should still be a level of grace given.


Zinnick admitted that she's not a perfect parent by any means or has raised the perfect child either. She shared that she's trying to find the right balance of medication and treatment for her son so that his ADHD doesn't dictate his behavior and overall life.

"I think his impulsive thoughts won," she said about him flushing her Apple Watch down the toilet. "Or, he was mad at me and actively chose to do something awful. Neither are good. I'm not stoked about it, but if I didn't [care], I wouldn't be asking how to correct it."

She remarked that receiving negative comments about her parenting doesn't help navigate any of the challenges she's facing, and no one has any right to pass criticism on a mother that they don't personally know. 


Every parent is just doing the best they can with the tools they've been given, and many of us can learn from expressing empathy and understanding for the parents who are actively seeking how to change, learn, and grow. As Zinnick mentioned, there is not one single perfect parent on this planet, and only through compassion will parents be able to achieve the best for their kids.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.