DEAR ABBY: I am recently divorced from my husband of 17 years. There is someone special in my life now, and my ex-husband is trying to cause problems where my kids are concerned. I have tried to talk to him about keeping his distorted thoughts and opinions about my boyfriend to himself; however, he can't seem to do it.
My daughter is 13 and has a mind of her own. My son is 6, and he acts according to things he has heard my ex-husband say. This is affecting my relationship with my son because I have tried to teach him to be respectful to all adults, no matter who they are. I keep reminding my son that my boyfriend has done nothing to him and deserves to be treated nicely.
Please help. I love this man and want my kids to be a part of our lives. -- HOPEFUL IN N.C.
DEAR HOPEFUL: Since your ex-husband refuses to cooperate, the only other choice is to try to make the children less susceptible to his brainwashing. The next time your son acts out, take him aside and ask him why he's doing it. If he repeats something that his father told him, say, "You know, your daddy is very angry right now -- and sometimes we all say things we don't mean when we're angry." Point out that the boyfriend has always been good to you and to him.
You say at 13 your daughter has a mind of her own. If that means she likes your boyfriend, enlist her help in convincing her brother that the man is not as bad as their father says he is.
If that doesn't work, make an appointment with a child psychologist, and good luck.