- Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan were married for nearly nine years before announcing their separation in April 2018.
- The two were divorced in November, but the pair reportedly took legal action last week to settle a custody dispute regarding their six-year-old daughter, according to TMZ.
- Here are 6 things Dr. Terri Orbuch said people with children who are going through divorce can learn from Tatum and Dewan.
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Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan made the decision to end their marriage of nearly nine years in 2018 and were legally divorced in November. But the two might need to make another appearance in court to settle a custody dispute over their six-year-old daughter, Everly Tatum.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Tatum recently filed legal documents asking a judge to create a holiday schedule for the two to evenly split time with Everly. The documents also request mandated sessions between Tatum, Dewan, and a co-parenting counselor to help make decisions about changes to the schedule together.
While there are conflicting details regarding the pair’s communication issues, divorce in general can be fraught with miscommunication and tension. The underlying problems in a relationship between two people getting divorced can be especially harmful when children are in the mix.
Dr. Terri Orbuch, author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great” and professor of sociology at Oakland University, said that while communication problems are common in divorce cases, it’s important to do as much as possible to minimize the negative impacts of the separation on the children.
“You want the end outcomes to be in the best interests of your child/children,” Orbuch wrote in an email to Insider. “You may want something (e.g., FaceTime not to occur with your former spouse when you have them with you), but ask yourself ‘What is in the best interests of my child?'”
Here are six lessons parents going through a divorce can learn to ensure the mental wellbeing of their children during the separation process, according to Orbuch.
Talk your children through their anxiety about the divorce.
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Orbuch said that children generally have two large anxieties when their parents separate or go through a divorce.
“That someone you date will replace the other parent and that you will not be there for them,” Orbuch said. “Help them and talk to them about both of these fears.”
Don’t make your children pick between you and their other parent.
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While divorces can be fraught with tension, Orbuch said it’s important to make sure neither parent makes their child feel like they have to choose a side in the separation. If you have a problem with your ex-partner, make sure to communicate directly with them – not through your child.
“It creates anxiety and stress for the child/children and they will have to pick who to favor,” Orbuch said. “If you need to communicate or tell something to the other parent, you need to do that – don’t tell your child to do that.”
Placing a child in the middle of a divorce can be detrimental to their mental and emotional wellbeing, so it’s best to keep things amicable and speak directly with their other parent.
Make sure your child has a good relationship with their other parent.
In addition to not making a child choose sides in a divorce, it’s important for parents to foster a healthy relationship between their child and the other parent.
Regardless of the frustration that exists between a couple going through a divorce, it’s imperative to keep in mind that a child having a positive relationship with both parents is crucial to their emotional health.
“Good relationships with both parents are vital to children’s long-term well-being and adjustment of parental divorce,” Orbuch said. “That means if your child/children have a good relationship with both of their parents, they will adjust and be better off in the long-term after the divorce.”
Keep conflict at a minimum between yourself and your child’s other parent.
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While arguing can arise in hard situations like divorce, Orbuch said that it’s important to keep fighting out of site for children.
“Conflict between you and the other parent (ex-spouse) affects children,” Orbuch said. “And even though you might not do it in front of the children – they hear the disagreements (on the phone, the whispers, the tone of voice), they experience the fights, and they can feel the tension.”
This means not speaking poorly about your child’s other parent in front of them.
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“Even though (again) you might be upset and angry with the other parent – don’t say negative things about that parent in front of your children, don’t put the other parent down, and allow your children to have a good relationship with the other parent,” Orbuch said.
Make sure they know the divorce or separation is not their fault.
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According to Orbunch, children with divorced parents sometimes experience a feeling of guilt or that the separation is their fault. This can create anxiety and stress for children, so it’s important for parents to debunk this fear.
“Help them understand that isn’t the case. That the two of you are no longer married because of you – and your incompatibilities. Nothing to do with them,” Orbuch said.
Divorce is a difficult process for everyone, especially children. So it’s important for parents to take extra precautions to make sure their child’s wellbeing is put first throughout the process.