Life is Beautiful


This World War II movie, centered around a Jewish librarian and his young family’s incarceration in a Nazi Concentration Camp should be a must see for all divorcing parents.  While they are starved and worked to excess, the father turns the horrendous event into a  magical event for his child by helping him imagine the Nazi guards are part of a childhood game.

No matter what you think of your stbx or ex, your child will benefit from fun and flow in your home he buffers the events with imagination and fun. Maintaining schedules events, pretending you’re enjoying your spouse while you may want to wring their neck, keeping up with daily events, meal rituals, are critical. All while you cringe at the one who has and is causing you so much pain.  But yes on the outside you smile – you play along – to win the game your child needs you to play. So he forgets to get your child a present; she drops her off an hour late then yells at you in front of the child. What benefit is it for your child to see you react?  What will change?  Will your child be better off, will your ex be on time next visit?


  • For young children and a late parent, you might magically respond, “Oh, Mommy must be getting extra chocolate at the store…”
  • For the teen who feels daddy’s forgot an important date again, “Agh, here’s a gift from me a Daddy – I just forgot to put his name on the card!” .
  • So they won’t get a single fruit of vegetable the whole weekend they’re away? Pack them for them, make a reminder call, or let it go and make them plentiful in the days to follow. You may hide less from your teen, and some issues are best directly addressed, but you can still hide a lot to spare your child the angst.

Feel free to gag later, but your child’s image of the parent is as important as the reality.  Break down and wrangle it out with your ex in private –  but your child needs none of that.  No matter how dark the chaos and misbehavior, infuse light and fun, and the long-term scars will be less severe and your blood pressure lower. In their minds they constantly seek to see you two together and a peace with each other, even if they resolve you’ll never get back together.  You are the loves of their lives. Give them that gift, best you can.

Picture: Concentration Camp

Resource: The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith Wallerstein

MOVIE clip – Life is Beautiful:­ IMDb


About Dee

I teach English at a local community college and am raising two children; I like to paint, write, pray, read, hike and travel.
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One Response to Life is Beautiful

  1. Pingback: Fun Fact: Your Ex is a Rock Star | Divorce Direction

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