"KIDS ARE WET CEMENT"
Erma Bombeck said that over 30 years ago and wrote several books about it ~ read about her at: http://www.ermamuseum.org/
Children are all about Love, Trust and Encouragement. In my twenty-three years of practicing law I do not believe a single one of them wanted to be put in the middle of their parents problems or really wanted to choose between them. The older a child gets the more egocentric they become ~ everything in their life revolves around them and they are responsible in their own minds for it all and, this most importantly, they are the most concerned about their peer group and school.
Newnan, Peachtree City, Sharpsburg, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Senoia: kids are the same everywhere.
I cannot over-emphasis the importance of faith in a child's life.
Plan on your child putting you on the back burner when they reach the age of 13. By the time they get a driver's license your importance in their life will be continuity ~ but that is really important because we all want a solid foundation in life.
Finally, children are expensive all the time until they 'fly the coop' which in all seriousness should be between the ages of 18 and 20.
At age 17 a child can be formally charged with a crime and prosecuted as an adult.
An 18 year old is not a child.
I grew up in the US Army; it is a good place to go if a young adult, age 18+, doesn't know what to do with his/her life at that age or doesn't have a clear view of where they want to be in 5 years.
All parents can help their child(ren) the most by sitting down with them at age 16.5+ and charting out a 5 year plan for the child to at least reflect on as they mature to adulthood.