Your former in-laws show up unannounced at your child’s basketball game. Suddenly you’re sweating as much as the players are.
Not every surprise is a good one, but since children generally love to see their grandparents, and vice versa, you should let them have their moment. Invite them to sit with you. Draw them into upbeat conversation―about how the team is doing, say―and never bad-mouth your ex. “This is a good chance to warm up any cold feelings they may have toward you,” says Pachter. Any time you interact with former family members, use the opportunity to show your children how well everyone can get along. “When the kids see you communicating positively with everyone, it will make them feel less nervous about future events with the entire family in attendance,” says Puhn.