The following article appeared in an edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is reprinted here with permission from the newspaper and reporter, Susan Weich.
Smith’s daughter didn’t want anyone at her school to know her parents had divorced, so an art class project to make a Christmas ornament for her parents presented a problem. How would she decide whether to give the ornament to her mom or her dad?
“As a parent I worried about these really big things — are my kids going to turn to drugs or start failing in school because of the divorce — but I found out that kids have to deal with a lot of little things that I never imagined,” Smith said.
Smiths’ daughter shared her problem at a group counseling session of Kids In The Middle, a nonprofit organization started in 1977 that provides support for children and families when parents separate or divorce. “Luckily, she was able to talk with the other kids in the group about how they would handle it,” she said. When her daughter told Smith, she met with teachers and asked them if they could discreetly give her and her younger brother the OK to make two of whatever gifts they made for parents. “There’s not always an easy solution, but now I am more aware of things that could be an issue,” she said.