1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bathing
Hello. I've been reading different stepfamily forums for awhile now, this is my first post ever anywhere, so please forgive me if I don't have "the lingo" right. I'm concerned about a multitude of issues regarding my 10 year old SD (so this may seem scattered, I just feel somewhat isolated as I'm the only one in my circle in a stepfamily).
Her parents were never married and the relationship broke up when she turned 2. I met her when she was 6, but over the last year she has really regressed in her behavior.
Her BM (that's biomom, right?) has a severe problem with alcohol. My husband used to as well but has been sober for the last 8 years and diligently works "the program." He has a notebook (per the advice of a social worker) full of incidents involving BM dropping off SD drunk, driving drunk with her, even passed out in a bathtub (2006) and SD called him at 2am because she couldn't wake up mom...then when he went to get her, BM woke up in a rage and slashed his tires.
SD has slept with BM every night since she was 2 (again, she's 10), her mom even tells her she doesn't sleep well without her in the bed. Then when she's at our house, she wants dad to sleep with her (he does not). She'll then cry continuously and get up claiming to have nightmares (this happens atleast one if not both nights she's here for the last year, she NEVER used to do this when she was younger). She and BM shower and take baths together as well, because SD claims she's "too scared" to do it on her own (with some prompting, we've gotten her to bathe independently at our house).
Every other word out of her mouth is "I need help." This ranges from shoe tying, getting a bowl of cereal, even drawing a picture for fun. She's bright and totally capable, so it just confuses me as to why this is suddenly such an issue for her.
She's become very fearful and incredibly dependent for 10, I think. She's also ALL OVER my husband (which she's always been very affectionate and I think is lovely). BUT, last weekend she started to stroke his arm in an odd manner, repeatedly kept trying to sit on his lap in front of company (the man just needed some breathing room for a second), asked to be picked up and carried around (not being happy with the "you're almost as tall as me now" response), AND that night at bedtime asked her dad "why don't you kiss me on the lips for longer?" after he gave her a quick peck. This concerned me as it seems a tad over-sexualized and certainly made him uncomfortable.
Her BM shows signs of borderline personality disorder and I'm worried that she's overly infantilizing SD and too enmeshed with her. It's almost as though SD has totally taken on the role of this woman's SPOUSE instead of CHILD. Then, on the flip-side, BM treats her more like a toddler than a prepubescent young girl (like a "if my daughter stays a baby, then no time has passed" kind of thing).
I love my SD SO very much and it breaks my heart to see her struggling like this. She has so much promise and potential, yet her BM and BM's drunken friends seem hellbent (although unintentionally, I'm sure) on screwing her up.
I've read different opinions on co-sleeping/co-bathing and wouldn't think too much of it if the rest of her situation at her BM's house wasn't so blatantly F'd up (although 10 seems a bit old for such things). I've told my husband to see if he can set up a weekly session with her school's counselor, so it will be in place when she starts 5th grade in a month (i figure she can talk about whatever she pleases and maybe some progress will be made). He's talked to BM about the co-sleeping/co-bathing, and how it seems to affect SD when she's at our house, to no avail. BM just says "She's mine! I'll sleep and take baths with her if I "darn" well please!"
BM is unemployed, works the system to it's fullest, and her two closest friends are a drug addict and a drug dealer (SD herself has told us multiple times that her mom's friend is "on drugs," this same friend tried to kick the door in at BM's house one night recently). Is this an issue for DCFS? We called them once after BM dropped her off drunk and the woman we got on the phone seemed very annoyed that she was being asked to do her job.
I'd also just like to state that no one wants to take this kid away from her BM. BM has always been polite (atleast to my face, SD says she says mean things about me sometimes) and I have no animosity towards her OTHER than the affect her behavior is having on my SD. We just want things to be ok...and sometimes it just feels like they never will be.
We're sad, we're worried, and my husband feels incredible guilt. If anything, thank you for giving me the opportunity to get some of this off my chest (there's loads more stories).
Any advice for how we can handle any of this will be taken most eagerly and seriously.
Thank you so much again.