A recent post prompted a discussion in the comments about the appropriateness of a 14 year old getting her belly button pierced.
A typically anonymous commenter kicked it off.
"I hope you've already made the doctors appointment for the birth control because you are clearly giving her permission to grow up way too soon"
Since when do children need permission to grow up and when were parents granted the power to control it?
I think a child growing up is like Class V Rapids flowing down a mountain. You can't stop it or even slow it down.
If you try to build a dam the water will find it's way over it, around it or through it and go places you can't control.
As a parent, what you want to do is carve a channel ahead of the flow and guide the water into the course you want it to take.
Not only can you control the direction of the flow, but by judiciously widening the banks at critical points, you can calm the flow and make the waters less turbulent.
By trying to keep the banks as restricted and narrow as possible at all points, you only succeed in increasing the turbulence and violence of the water.
If you view each parent as a bank of the stream, it becomes self evident why both parents need to speak with the same voice. Doesn't matter whether you are married or divorced. When it comes to raising a child, you have to have the same destination in mind. If one of the banks is missing or takes a different course, you can't control the flow of the water.
But by letting nature take it's course down a path that you can control (by being rationally and picking your battles), it is possible to raise a sane, well behaved, intelligent young adult capable of making good decisions.