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Smooth co-parenting after a split

 Smooth co-parenting after a split (Photo: iStock)

Popular Kenyan content creator and socialite Maureen Waititu and her ex-fiancé, Frankie ‘Justgymit’ Kiarie shared photos and clips from their son’s birthday party early this month, and it was a full-circle moment.

After years of tension, heated exchanges and finally, a public apology, the two were seen together for the first time, putting their differences aside for the sake of their young ones.

Sharing heartwarming clips from the big day on Instagram, Frankie tagged the mother of his first-born sons and wrote: “Over the weekend we celebrated this Shujaa of ours. Happy 8th Birthday to my amazing (son)! You bring endless joy and laughter into our lives. Here’s to another year of adventure and growth. We love you!”

Fans and celebrity friends congratulated the pair for their evident maturity and for pulling off the major co-parenting moment.

“Healed parents raise a healed generation. Thank you for not being selfish for the little ones’ sake. More Grace Mo and Frankie,” wrote one Zwenah Okeyo.

“Love to see this,” commented Sauti Sol guitarist Polycarp Otieno.

One June Laktar wrote: “This gives me peace as someone who saw all that went down. Love this. May peace and understanding be with you two as you champion in raising these amazing boys. Peace always.”

The two have come a long way from the early days of their tumultuous split in 2019 when they fought publicly over the reason for their break-up and aired out their custody battle to onlookers through fierce YouTube videos.

Last year, Frankie apologised to his exes, he has children with two former partners. He spoke to media personality Lynn Ngugi in an emotional sit-down, expressing regret for the situation.

“Maureen, I’m sorry for putting you through what you went through- in terms of- I tried to cut you off when in that situation I think we could have had a much better bond and understanding of how to deal with it. I should have treated you like the mother of my kids rather than treating you like just a girlfriend. You are special to me, and you are special to my kids and you will always be valued,” Frankie said in a direct apology, before apologizing to his other babies’ mother, Corazon Kwamboka.

Child Psychologist Jacqueline Gathu applauds co-parents for their selflessness, saying the act of smooth co-parenting is brave and beautiful, and will bring out the best in the children involved.

“It is important for the child’s well-being for the parents to get along. Whatever issues that the parents had had nothing to do with the children, so it calls for the parents to put their egos aside and understand that besides the relationship failing, they have the divine duty to raise these kids in an as functional environment as possible,” Gathu says.

“Functional does not mean that they have to be together- it means emotional maturity, having open communication and being transparent with one another regarding the child’s best interest.”

Another heartwarming celeb co-parenting moment was when, last month, Tanzanian star Diamond Platnumz spent time with the children he shares with the Ugandan socialite Zari Hassan at the same time as his youngest son, whom he shares with Kenyan influencer and singer Tanasha Donna.

It was sweet to see his and Zari’s children warmly interact with their toddler half-brother- a testament to the cordial co-parenting relationship between the Bongo singer and his exes.

“In a video shared by Diamond Platnumz on his Insta stories, Zari Hassan’s children, Tiffah and Prince Nillan, were captured bonding with their half-sibling, Naseeb Junior, who is the son of Tanasha Donna,” a local publication reported on the family moment.

Another report noted that Diamond brought his two babies’ mothers together for the first time, clearing any tension there may have been between them and allowing the children to meet.

Kiss FM wrote: “While fans are excited that the singer has brought together his kids, they are concerned about his son, Dylan Abdul [with Tanzanian model Hamisa Mobetto] who was left out of the get-together.”

Child Psychologist Gathu says introducing half siblings is not a one-size-fits-all thing and may vary in different families.

“One thing, you do not just ambush the children with other children, you don’t bring onboard other children just like that. You need to prepare them. The same way when you have a child and you are expecting another child, you kind of introduce the aspect of having a sibling very early,” she says.

Gathu adds: “That way the child knows a baby is coming and you may tell them ‘I’m going for clinics’ or I’m carrying a baby’. You also involve them in small tasks after the baby is born. This is for siblings- now for half-siblings, you don’t want to force them to coexist or impose the idea on them. You need to prepare them in advance, have this conversation with them.”

The Child Psychologist says part of having a respectful relationship with your children entails involving them in some of the decisions that you make as a parent.

 “You do this so that in the end, it doesn’t end up being a spiteful situation, or one whereby the siblings don’t get along with one another. As a parent, you are the one who sets the foundation- so have the conversation with your child, and it doesn’t matter how old they are.”

Gathu encourages co-parents, saying: “Co-parenting doesn’t make you a failure. It means you are bold enough to want to nurture a healthy, fully functioning human while putting your differences aside.”

Singer Juliani and his ex, actress Brenda Wairimu, are another popular duo who seem to have mastered the art of smooth co-parenting, if the private, drama-free upbringing of their shared daughter as portrayed on their social media is anything to go by.

In a September interview, Juliani applauded Brenda for stepping up financially to raise their child at a time when he could not.

“It is a people thing. Mother wa mtoi wangu is a good person. She wants the best for her child, and I don’t think she wants the worst for me. Because she wants the best for her child, then it is automatic that she will go the extra mile to make sure that I see the child and hang out,” Juliani said.

He added: “She is very supportive. Kuna siku wewe uko poa utaspend time na mtoi more. So wewe kama ukonayo sahi, and if you can give that particular time, give. If you don’t have pia unasema sina hii nguvu na maybe utasaidiwa na mamako ama baba ya mtoi wako.”

Communicating openly about all matters about the child is crucial in making the co-parenting relationship work, and so is treating your ex with dignity and respect.

Child Psychologist Gathu says: “Co-parenting is like any other relationship, and it is workable. In the same way as when you have a friend, you should constantly communicate course on matters that are relevant and involving the child. Avoid having conversations that would spark the old flame but keep regular communication with regards to the well-being of the child. Is the child well? How are they coping? When can I pick them up and when can I drop them off? How are you feeling in terms of taking care of this child and how best can I support you?”

She adds: “You cannot insult or degrade one another, nor should you speak to each other in condescending tones. Don’t make fun of the other parent’s parenting strategies or despise their way of doing things.”

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