Airing your dirty laundry on social media: Unpacking the effects it has on your child

Tensions were frayed last week when Katlego Maboe’s ex partner Monique Muller took to her IG stories. Picture: Reuters

Tensions were frayed last week when Katlego Maboe’s ex partner Monique Muller took to her IG stories. Picture: Reuters

Published Aug 29, 2023


The good and bad thing about social media is that once you’ve posted something in haste or out of anger, it’s there forever, saved for posterity.

No matter if you’ve deleted it or even closed your account, if you’re someone worth knowing, all bets are off if you think it’s lost forever.

Public figures in particular are prone to comment on matters they know next to nothing about, and when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, they plead innocence and claim their accounts were "hacked."

Twitter has become an iteration of fed-up people who’ve taken their fight to the micro-blogging app as a last-ditch attempt to be heard.

The same goes for Instagram Stories. After a few hours, the story disappears. But you’ve said your piece, no matter how erratic or controversial.

Tensions were frayed last week when Katlego Maboe’s ex partner Monique Muller took to her IG stories, accusing him of not paying their son’s school fees and basically telling his fans to take a hike after he made a remarkable TV comeback.

When asked for comment on Muller’s accusations, Maboe solemnly said, "I have no comment. I have to think about my son."

And herein lies the gravity of the situation: they share a five-year-old child.

The current situation between Muller and Maboe is nothing new; the only difference is that he’s a celebrity, leaving them both open to ridicule. But there is one variable: the wellbeing of their child.

In general, how do former partners learn to navigate their new normal without taking their grievances to social media?

"It’s difficult enough for adults to navigate such issues, so one can only imagine the damage it can cause to children, who are already adjusting to the separation," said counselling psychologist Rakhi Beekrum.

"Financial issues need to be resolved by both parents, using legal means where necessary," she further explained.

"Unless there is evidence that one parent is causing harm to the child, then access should not be prevented in order to ’teach them a lesson'".

Referring to the age of Muller and Maboe’s son, life coach and mindful parenting expert Krsangi Radhe said, "Although the son is only five years old, unable to read or write, and therefore not exposed to the goings-ons on social media, it has to be noted that any kind of publicity is for public consumption and will be stored for future reference."

She explained that the long-term effects on any child, for that matter, could be detrimental, warning that "innocent comments may be made whilst playing at school".

"Public statements, social media posts, and media can be viewed in years to come, and when their son is old enough, he will view all of this, and this will definitely have a negative impact on him emotionally.

"Feelings of insecurity will creep in and even that of being unloved," Radhe warned.

Beekrum advised that, where possible, children should be encouraged to maintain good relationships with both parents.

"Do not complain to your kids if the other parent is neglecting agreed-upon financial obligations, and do not involve children in asking the other parent to pay for things," she added.

Basically, when it comes to any co-parenting situation, Beekrum concluded that the “golden rule is to always act in the best interests of the child - financial, physical and emotional.”