Q: My husband’s ex just emailed him (he is away, in the war) asking him to identify videos he wants and she will pay to have them made into a new DVD. The videos were taken when the kids were under the ages of 6 and 8 — they are now 16 and 18 — and this was to be his birthday present. I think it is odd for the ex to orchestrate the creation of a video of old family movies that will clearly include all of them. Four years ago at his birthday she created a scrapbook with old pictures of the boys and him.

A: Red flag! You may be jumping to conclusions. It’s not clear that the video of which you speak “will include all of them.” You said the scrapbook of years ago included pictures of Dad and the boys, not Mom, Dad and the boys. We take it that the pictures contained in the scrapbook were pictures Mom had saved after the divorce, made copies for Dad, and constructed a scrapbook. If that is the case, we congratulate Mom for taking the time to construct such a wonderful gift. However, if the scrapbook included lots of pictures of “the way we were,” then that’s tacky, and very bad ex-etiquette. There is usually an ulterior motive to that kind of present and new marriage boundaries need to be made clear to eliminate things like that in the future.

Just like the scrapbook of years ago, if the video consists of clips of Dad and the boys, then we again think it’s a great present. A video of the way the family used to be would not be a good choice. This does not mean that Mom shouldn’t give the videos to the kids for safekeeping or occasionally watch them with the kids at her home. We aren’t saying you should abandon your past life, or forget it. We acknowledge those memories are precious. It would just be inappropriate to present the videos intact as a present to Dad now that he has remarried.

We do have to point out that older children whose parents have been divorced for years often enjoy seeing old family pictures and videos as a novelty. However, be mindful of the fact that it may be confusing for younger children who are still coping with the back-and-forth life of divorce. And, parents, don’t use viewing “the way we were” pictures with the kids, no matter their age, as a tool to try to lure your ex back into your life. That very bad ex-etiquette! Keep the kids out of the middle.

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