Q: My ex will not stop bothering me about the kids. I see them three weekends a month and I don’t want to talk to her other than when it’s time to pick them up. My parents were divorced and my father only talked to my mother when he was ready to pick us up on his weekend. Period. That’s exactly what I want to do. How do I get her to stop bugging me?

A: For both your sake and your children’s, we hope she doesn’t stop bothering you if she’s trying to contact you about their special activities, teacher conferences, and personal woes or fears and successes. But, if she’s calling you about personal things — who she’s dating, who you’re dating, or why aren’t you back together — then she’s way out of line and you have to be very clear about the boundaries.

What you describe as your parents’ divorce may have seemed fine, but when analyzed, it would prevent you from knowing about your children’s extracurricular activities like Little League games or their piano recitals, Back-to-School night, or even who their friends are. If you truly don’t want to know your children, then go ahead and just communicate with their mother right before you pick them up. But if you want to share in their life, you need to communicate with her more than that. Since the kids are with her during the week she’s your lifeline to your kids’ daily activities.

Here’s a quick note to Mom: Now that you and Dad are no longer together, it’s not your responsibility to make him a good parent. Keeping him apprised of the kid’s stuff is one thing, but if he doesn’t call the kids during the week or is really bad at followup and is just plain not interested, that’s on him. You can’t make him the parent he should be, and the kids will eventually figure out who is really invested.

Finally, there’s a “caution” attached to our answer: If there has been domestic violence and there’s a restraining order in place, that dictates a different kind of communication between parents. But, if that’s not the case, then ongoing parental communication is a must. The more the kids see Mom and Dad successfully problem-solve together, the better adjusted they will be. And, as you have proven with your original assessment of your own parents’ relationship, when under stress, we often fall back on how our parents parented us. That means the way you and their mother act as parents now will in some way impact how your kids parent in the future. So, take a look at what you are doing, and if it’s not the legacy you want to pass on, stop it.

Jann Blackstone-Ford, Ph.D., and her husband’s ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Exetiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).

— McClatchy-Tribune