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Childs sudden change of heart

indymomma's picture

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?

Most Evil's picture

Wow, you must be heartbroken! I think you have a firm handle on the reality of what is probably going on, and it is just a shame BM is manipulating her own child? in this way.

My SD19 always said she 'had to' live with her BM because 'BM needed her', she had 'medical issues' (that have never come up at any other time). Whatever!

Can a child this age pick who they want to live with? If not too bad, I hope you continue counseling with SD. It sounds like you love her very much . . . Sad

so sorry honey - try to keep talking it over with YOUR counselor - maybe SD needs to go see, the grass is not always greener? HUGS

indymomma's picture

Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to know others don't see me as the evil stepmom I'm being made out to be!! Wink

My husband and I have decided to let her try living with her BM for a while and get a test of reality. I have a lot of reservations about it, but I think it is going to be a real eye opener for her. I think she's going to regret this very quickly. I hope it doesn't end up damaging her relationship with her mom and stepdad. They have been at their wits end with her behavior in their home. Now that she will be there all the time, they intend to really crack down on her (fortunately they think SD's comments about me are unfounded and are concerned that she will turn on step dad next).

Let the fun begin!

skylarksms's picture

I have no advice for you but only my condolences.

I *thought* I had a close relationship with my SD as well. But since she hasn't been around or responded to any texts, voicemails, emails, FB requests since Father's Day, I guess not.

BM tells everyone that SD is not getting along with her father right now. But she was just fine when she was over for Father's Day. I have no clue what changed or how to fix things, if they can be.

Justwantsomepeace's picture

I don't know if this is true for everyone, but my skids at 11 were very manipulated by "poor" BM. She made them feel guilty that she didn't have anything and that DH should be supporting her even though he has custody. At 12 and 13 they started to see through it ( working for their own allowance may have helped). Then it was smooth sailing until 15 when the sh*t hit the fan. So maybe you'll get a few years of peace?

Rags's picture

Time for some facts. Facts about how much you and DH have contributed to BM and her family, what the CO says, etc.....

SD is 11 and old enough to start hearing the facts about her BM.

It may not make her feel any better but if she is given the facts eventually she should get back to a more realistic perspective on her BMs situation.

We have used the "facts are not good or bad, they are just facts" perspective his entire life. We have tempered the message to be age appropriate but we have always discussed the facts of his BioDad's and the SpermClan's situation with him. He loves them but has little to no respect for them.

Your SD needs clarity and the facts IMHO so she can start making well informed decisions rather than purely emotional ones.

Just my perspective of course.