Divorced parents can still share visions for their children if they are willing. An excellent article about co-parenting highlights the need for parents who are no longer together to build a vision, to negotiate and then be accountable for their actions.
I commented on the blog entry that this is all fine well for those who have the input of both parents to achieve such a laudable and much needed care plan for their children, however there are still too many situations where although one parent is willing to enter such a dialogue, the other is still too hurt and unwilling to either meet, discuss or make compromise.
The question arises what to do then? In my experience a fight can only happen when more than one person is fuelling the fire, however this can often lead to the parent who is not willing to fight, giving up more than perhaps they should.
'Should' isn't a word which I enjoy using, and in this instance I can't think of another. However with the intention of allowing children to grow up in a non-hostile environment sometimes being willing to let go of things, sometimes including them, makes their life easier. It isn't by any means the ideal scenario, and yet it is preferable to having kids being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Family Mediation is a possible solution - however again this is voluntary. It does mean that each person has a safe place to air their point of view, and there is someone present to enable negotiation. If your children are over 12, they too are allowed a voice - and with any luck that voice will convince the parents how to behave like adults in order not to further cause upset or stress to their children.
The words of Kahlil Gibran are very potent:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are set forth.
-Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”
If you haven't yet separated but feel that it is likely - please do take every step imaginable to remember that you both remain parents to your children forever and that some communication and agreement between you for the children's sake be ongoing. Bear in mind that changes are inevitable and between you, you will have to work with these changes and make alterations. Change of residence, job, lifestyle etc would happen even if you had remained a couple and it's no-one's fault, is it?