Childs sudden change of heart
I have been a SM for 9 years now. My 11 year old DSD had just turned 2 when we first met. We bonded very quickly and have enjoyed many years of a very close relationship; sometimes too close for her BM's comfort. Her time is split equally with BD and BM. She's always known 2 homes. She is a daddy's girl, but she's also very protective of her BM.
Two week ago DSD floored us by telling school counselors she wanted to live with her BM and just visit us on weekends. She has never said anything like this before. Actually she usually tells people the opposite, but "she doesn't want to hurt her mom's feelings". The reason was an even bigger shock: she said she doesn't want to live with us because of her bad relationship with me and we don't get along. No one, not even her school or her BM, could believe she said this. I am devestated. I don't know where this came from or what she's talking about.
We started counseling last week, but she's not opening up. The only thing she did say is she feels like she's in the middle of us and her BM. We have bent over backwards for nearly a decade to do everything we can for her not to feel that way. Her BM is not an easy person to deal with at times, but we've always maintained a friendly relationship. Her BM, SF and half siblings are always invited to our parties, family gathering, etc. We send bags of clothing for her half siblings and boxes of food so no one goes without at her moms. When they lost their house, we found them a place to live. Unfortunatley this has become something DSD thinks is our responsibilty and not just acts of kindness.
BM and I had a falling out last fall and since then I've have made an effort to keep more normal boundries. We're still friendly, just not as we were before. I find myself needing to defend our family and our choices to DSD now. For example, BM quit work to stay home with the kids. DSD sees it as noble (even though they cannot afford food) and thinks I should quit work too to be with her and DD. Not an option if want to keep our house. DSD thinks we should do more for her mom since she has no money. She feels sorry for her mom. I try to point out that BMs life and finances were her choice and we are not responsible for filling in the gaps. If there are money issues, BM should go back to work (btw: she always has free babysitting with her sister, so child care isn't an issue). This makes me the bad guy. There are several of these little things. I don't want DSD in the middle, but I don't want my family or our choices attacked either. I know BM manipulates DSD and uses guilt to control her. I thought DSD would start seeing through that. She is only 11, but she's a wise 11.
Any one been through this? Do I continue to defend myself? How do you **kindly** get kids to understand parents have to be responsible for their choices too?