Return to the Stepfamily Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bathing

Posted by vesters (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 17, 09 at 14:32

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.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

I don't think the co-sleeping/co-bathing by itself is an issue, but other things you've said worry me, like the arm stroking, requesting long kisses on the lip. I wonder if they are actually all related or separate issues. DD is 10 and still co-sleeps when at home, but not when she is at her dad's although I understand that she co-sleeps with him sometimes. DD also showers with me whenever it is convenient, like for example if she missed her nightly shower and needs a quick shower in the morning when I take mine. As much as I would love to end the co-sleeping arrangement, I have not been able to successfully do it and everyone tells that it will one day run its course. I have my fingers crossed that its sooner rather than later. DD sits on my lap regularly (yes she is almost as tall as me), still holds my hand, and still cuddles with me frequently. I don't see those as problems either. And she is not taking the place of a spouse. Anyway, I say all this to say that but for some of the things you mention that seem inappropriate (not to mention mom's drinking), all of it isn't so strange. But sounds like your SD could use counseling. It may all relate to her mom's drinking.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Hugs,

You are absolutely right, that there are different opinions on co-sleeping, and this is not the worst part of this, but what makes it worse to me is that it is the parent (using the word losely) that is pushing for the co-sleeping. My D used to sleep in my room at that age -- but she pushed for it, not me. It had gotten to the point that I could not take being woken up every night and go to work sleepy the next day.

Your DH needs to get a counselor for her and push for custody with only supervised visitation if there are any drugs/alchohol abuse/driving while drinking etc. The oversexualztion you see can only get worse. He needs to save his child now.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

There are so many things wrong with this situation.

My SS's mother is also an alcoholic and we have been in court for the last year dealing with it. We actually have an order now, in the parenting plan, that states BM cannot consume alcohol 4 hrs prior to or during custody of her son. If she violates it, she could go to jail AND it would give my DH solid grounds for full custody.

What kind of custody does your DH have of his DD? I would strongly urge him to look into modifying it. Has he consulted an attorney? What sort of documentation does he have? Would the school get on board to help him? Any other adults that are concerned about SD's well being? If so, get them involved.

The first thing you should do is get CPS/DFS involved. Report BM's drinking to them. Also, something the police told us that we did not know--if a parent is drunk at home w/children there, it's LEGAL so long as another adult is present. But NOT if that parent is the only adult home. SO--next time you suspect BM of being drunk while her DD is with her--call the police! Ask them to do a check on the situation and if BM is found to be intoxicated, her DD can be removed from her care, and BM can be charged with child endangerment.

I would really try to get the ball rolling in court though. Talk to an attorney and see what your options are. Document document document. And report BM anytime you feel your SD's safety is being jeopardized. And yes, get her into counseling!


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

"DD also showers with me whenever it is convenient, like for example if she missed her nightly shower and needs a quick shower in the morning when I take mine. As much as I would love to end the co-sleeping arrangement, I have not been able to successfully do it and everyone tells that it will one day run its course."

You're kidding, right? You shower with your 10 year old? and you have not ended a co-sleeping arrangement, even though you say you'd LOVE to?

It does not 'run its course'. Who told you that? It can be unhealthy and the older they get, the HARDER it is to get them to sleep in their own bed... they may fear sleeping alone. How are you going to 'break' an older child?

Now, don't get me wrong... I know there are those that believe in 'family bed' and attachment parenting.. but there's a difference when the parent would prefer to stop the shared sleeping arrangements and they cannot because the child is resistant, usually because they are insecure and fear sleeping alone. If a child is 'attachment' parented, isn't the result supposed to be more secure children that I assume would have no problem going to have their own room/bed when the parent says it's time.

But, what I think is more prevalent, is parents that allow the child to sleep with them because they (the parent) is lonely and the child gets used to it. Temporarily, probably not a big deal. Years... beyond 7 or 8 years old, that's a bit much. How do you have a relationship? What happens if you remarry? Do you bring the child in the room with a new spouse? (I think I hear a big Hell NO!) so then you must send the child off to their own room and then who is the child going to resent because they can no longer sleep with mommy??? Like I said, UNHEALTHY!

And don't even get me started on showering/bathing with a 10 year old.. that's just disturbing & I'll leave it at that.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Ima, I dont agree with you. When my D got older, she naturally moved to her room. My understanding is that in Japan, it is not uncommon for kids to sleep in parents room till 12 or so.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Nobody has to agree with me. I don't live in Japan so I can't comment on that.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Thank you all so much for responding.
(what does DH stand for?? divorced husband?)
He is presently meeting with a father's rights attorney to drastically change the custody arrangement (SD could only benefit with more time spent at our home). They have joint but he wants to be considered the custodial parent. He's even seeing if they can legally request BM seek counseling for alcohol as part of the agreement. We've only recently been properly educated about CPS and what they do and do not investigate.
I had NO idea that it's illegal to be intoxicated if she's the only adult home (we knew it was legal to be drunk in front of a child...but THAT is very helpful to know) we most certainly will be requesting "wellness checks" now and will also see if that "no alcohol within 4 hours" rule can be put into the agreement too (that is excellent, and with BM we certainly need something like that).
We definitely need the school on our side too...he has a scheduled meeting with the counselor, as well as her new 5th grade teacher.
kkny...thank you. Thank you for confirming what I already felt in my gut. Co-sleeping moderately...fine. Co-bathing out of neccessity...fine. But BM is instigating it. SD has explained "Mom can't sleep without me" and "Mom says she washes my hair better than I can." Which both may very well be true, but at this point in SD's development, she needs to be given her own privacy sometime and have her boundries respected. Trust me, if things were reversed and her FATHER was co-sleeping and bathing with a 10 year old girl ALL the time...people wouldn't be so quick dismiss that. It's a double standard. She's already starting to physically develop and it's inappropriate.
She also needs to know that she's fully capable of handling these age-appropriate things on her own, this only breeds self-confidence. We'd like to think "oh, she'll grow out of it." But quite the contrary, she's been growing IN to it. And it's difficult when neither party (child or mom) is willing to stop it.
It's also all she's ever known, and BM purposefully keeps SD isolated from friends her own age (all her friends there are BM's adult friends), because I think she knows deep down that what she's doing isn't 100% right and if SD were to find this out, the whole operation would fall apart.
Hand holding, cuddling, totally apt. I'm ALL for it and encourage this with her dad. But when we're in public, and at her age now, a line has to be drawn somewhere and it is certainly not meant to hurt SD.
I only mention the "spouse" thing because BM will get drunk and use SD has her shoulder to cry on, talking over very adult situations with her (some of the stuff SD's told me would blow minds) and this role, my apologies, is usually reserved for the adult spouse...the child should be allowed to worry about being a kid...not money, drunks, drugs, etc.
My only concern is raising an independent, confidant, functioning human being. This needs to be set in place now, not waiting until she's 15 when the damage will have already been done. It's all about prevention.
Thank you thank you all so much.


 o
dear husband

DH = dear husband (or other adjective depending on how you feel).

Also -- law may be different in different states, age of child, etc.


 o
thanks again

PS - imamommy...i tend to agree with you. i respect everyone's opinions/personal choices. But at 10, my mom certainly wasn't soaping up with me...if her mom reinforces that SD NEEDS her to handle hair washing or whatever for her, when does that end? At 10 you should be allowed to be naked by yourself (same sex or otherwise). And when she's at our house, she washes her own self fine. Thank you for confirming my feelings in a much bolder way.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Ima, I'll just have to disagree with you. I am positive we probably disagree on lots of parenting things. DD and I have the same private parts. I do not want her to feel self-conscious about looking at another female's body so why is it disturbing that she sees my body or I see hers? DD even still takes bubble baths with her similar aged girlfriends. I'm sure you find that disturbing too. But neither I nor her friends' parents, and we're all from various cultures, have a problem with that either. They are confident young ladies who feel comfortable about the female body. Its as simple as that. As for co-sleeping, I am not going to kick my child out of my bed when it isn't harming anyone. Had I wanted to do it, I would have done so when she was much younger, but I was too much of a softie. I do believe she'll go to her own room when she feels ready for more privacy. I just hope its sooner rather than later. There is nothing UNHEALTHY about co-sleeping or co-bathing. It is acceptable in many many cultures. If you don't choose to do it, then that's your choice, but don't be so close-minded.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

"DD even still takes bubble baths with her similar aged girlfriends. I'm sure you find that disturbing too."

Similar aged kids.. that's not disturbing. But, the idea of girlfriends having bubble baths? In and of itself is not disturbing.. just the idea that Susie has a bunch of friends over & take a bubble bath is a little strange. My kids had playdates and never ended up taking a bubble bath. They've gone to sleepovers & didn't end up in a tub with the other kids. I guess it can happen but it's not so unusual.

I wonder if you belong to the camp that thought it was inappropriate for Michael Jackson to have sleepovers with young boys.. or was there nothing unhealthy about that?


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Ia, you just demonstrated that you are quite the judgmental person I'll address this last post but will skip over your posts from now on as I very much dislike judgmental and closed-minded people. I and DD's friends live in houses with huge jaccuzzis and the kids enjoy throwing bubble bath in the jaccuzzi and just having a good time. Just because you think its weird, I won't deny them the pleasure. Just because your kids didn't do it doesn't make it unhealthy.

As for Michael... I belong to the camp that believes Michael never hurt a child in his life and I hope that the gold diggers that made such inexcusable accusations get what's coming to them in the end. Karma is a b*tch. From a purely legal perspective, there was no competent evidence that he molested anyo child. Was it a little odd that he had sleepovers with young boys? To the close-minded sure. He was a big kid that having missed out on his own childhood, chose to never grow up and never growing up means still enjoying the company of children in a purely platonic way. To each their own. Its those that ridiculed him because they misunderstood him and didn't agree with his choices that contributed to him ending up the tragic figure that he was.


 o
to add...

To get back to the original point, none of that is unhealthy in moderation and kids should be taught to be comfortable with their body by the parent of the same sex. The issue is when it happens ALL of the time and is the parent (not child) who seems to be initiating it. Continuous co-sleeping and co-bathing share something in common, CO-DEPENDENCY.
It absolutely doesn't sound like marie does this under the guise that her daughter is incapable of handling these tasks herself, and that is the problem we are having with BM. BM is teaching her 10 year old to depend too much on the adults in her life, SD needs to be taught to wash her own hair, start self-soothing herself at night, tie her own shoes, and so on. That at 10, she doesn't necessarily "need mommy" to do these things for her 100% of the time anymore. Because at what point is SD going to learn if she's rarely given the space to try on her own?
And I'll tell you, she very much enjoys being babied (who wouldn't? I'd like to be carried home after a day at work too!) and without the intervention of THE PARENT, the one in charge, it's unlikely the kid whose babied her entire life will wake up one day and decide to change it herself...even if she did, she hasn't been taught the basic skills as to how to do it.
She'll be introduced to sex-ed this year in school and drug awareness programs...this clearly means that our culture views them as old enough to start understanding these things. And if she's old enough to start learning such material, it's not too far a leap to think that SD is old enough to sleep in her own bed for most of the time.
(again, our situation is very much BM keeping SD in the same bed as her for unhealthy reasons. this is not how it is for more healthy parents.)


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

I have a sister who slept with her daughter until about one or two years ago. Her daughter is NINETEEN. They will not "grow out of it" if the parent is encouraging it, either overtly or because the child senses that the parent needs them to sleep in their bed.

Personally, I think co-sleeping is a very odd thing, and can be detrimental to all involved. For the adults, how the heck do you sustain a marriage when there's a kid in your bed? For the children, how do they develop independence/self soothing skills? And if I were a kid, I would sooner die than admit to my friends that I still slept with my parents!


 o
so insightful!

Interesting point weed30! I actually did ask SD recently if any of her friends at gymnastics know she still sleeps with her mom every night...she, of course, gave me a wide-eyed look and vehemently shook her head no. "No way!"
I told her that this might mean something then, that if she's too embarrassed to let these other girls know this that might mean she knows she's a little too old for it now. She totally seemed to understand...and with an alcoholic parent, she already knows that keeping secrets is no fun.
However, this still hasn't changed the sleeping arrangement at BM's house...although, this was only a few weeks ago...so who knows. Here's hoping though.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Vesper, I would agree with you, BM keeping SD in the same bed for unhealthy reasons totally wrong.. I wonder if she kept her in bed even before the breakup. I think when a parent brings a child to the bed after divorce,its the parent having trouble adjusting. I m sure parents pro cosleeping, and against can find varied professional views to back up their own particular preference. I hate to see cultural mores brought into to bolster the view that something is OK to convince people of another opinion. I dont believe in chopping off hands for stealing, or stoning adultresses, but thats OK in some cultures too. And Mariealways, How can you possibly make the statement that Ima disagreeing with you makes her judgemental and closeminded? Isnt that exactly what You are being by implying her views are wrong? For the record, if any of my children were in your huge jacuzzi sans bathing suits, you would be on my irresponsible parent list and they would be forbidden to go to your house...


 o
MarieAlways

"I belong to the camp that believes Michael never hurt a child in his life and I hope that the gold diggers that made such inexcusable accusations get what's coming to them in the end. Karma is a b*tch. From a purely legal perspective, there was no competent evidence that he molested anyo child."

I completely agree. However, it WAS inappropriate for him to have children sleep over. If he hadn't done that, he would not have had to defend his actions, which I believe were purely innocent. But, to say it's appropriate for adults to bathe/sleep with children... as I said, you are entitled to your opinion, I have mine.

In a divorce or custody battle over the children, it could be brought up and those actions may have to be defended. It does not necessarily mean anyone is closed minded or Judgmental... it's called a difference of opinion. I'm sure many calls are made to CPS or custody cases are initiated because one person has a valid concern for the child, while the other parent believes what they are doing is okay, normal, healthy, and appropriate.

How judgmental is it for you to tell me I'm closed minded, just because I don't share YOUR opinion? I'm entitled to believe it's unhealthy, just as you're entitled to believe it's perfectly natural and normal. Who's the Judgmental one here?


 o
RE: 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bathing

thanks dotz! DH says the co-sleeping arrangement happened AFTER the breakup, which speaks volumes.
BM also used to say things to SD (right after I came on the scene) like, "I'd never let a man come between us" and "You're the only one I need" which sounds innocent enough, but it was very much meant as a "look at your father, moving on with his life, I'll never let that happen to us." BM also has severe emotional problems I've come to understand, so she is incapable of holding a healthy relationship with a man and also requires a partner who can keep up/put up with her heavy drinking. (plus i imagine it's hard to hold a BF if your child is the one who gets to sleep in the adult bed).


 o
Vesters

Kind of says it all when SD rolls her eyes and doesnt want her friends to know she sleeps with mommy...And of course it has to be kept secret, and that cant feel too good..Hopefully she ll rebel and get back in her own bed where she belongs(altho I do agree bad dreams and storms are always OK ) :)


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

I think the OP's post discribes a lot of issues that sleeping and bathing with a kid is a little more perverse than average. No doubt due to BM being a needy alcoholic. Some of the sexual overtones -touching, want lingering kisses, could be a symptom of child abuse. That girl needs counseling to get to the bottom of it. Especially if there was this backward spiral into infantile behaviors. That's a sign that something has effected her. Your DH need to find out what.

As for in general, normal realtionships with kids that include bathing together after 7-8 years old, well I'm kind of on IMA's side. It seems really weird to me. Mainly because that is not how I was raised.

Funny thing, BM was staying at our house overnight (don't ask). She was going to sleep in her DD's, my SD's room. When she arrived SD & I were playing a video game. SD was short in her welcome to BM because she wanted to get back and kick my butt in the game. BM hounds her to take a shower, because she has to, then asks if she wanted to shower with her. My SD is 12, and must have seen my incredulous look (although I said nothing) and said "NO!" to her BM, and went to shower alone. I figured that when SD visted she often did.

Also I and her dad wouldn't let SD go to someones house where skinny dipping was encouraged in the jacuzzi. So I guess we're prudes, but kids see so much from television, even if all they watch is Disny and Nickelodean. That even events that seem "innocent" because they are young, seem sexual in nature to them. It's a constant issue to make sure that they don't want to grow up faster than they already are, yet realizing that they aren't babies and will have to have some autonomy.



 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

I actually did ask SD recently if any of her friends at gymnastics know she still sleeps with her mom every night...she, of course, gave me a wide-eyed look and vehemently shook her head no. "No way!"
I told her that this might mean something then, that if she's too embarrassed to let these other girls know this that might mean she knows she's a little too old for it now.

As much as I think her sleeping with her mom in the situation you described is very wrong, I think you overstepped by saying the things above. Not letting her sleep in your bed at your home is one thing, but the poor kid is f'd up enough by the situation at her mom's without you pointing it out and making her feel worse and more conflicted than she already does. No matter how disturbed her mom might be, she's still her mom, and the girl is probably navigating as best she can. Being the child of an acrimonious divorce is hard enough. Throw in alcoholism or drug addiction and it's even harder. I suggest attending some al-anon meetings to understand how fragile your SD might be.

The best thing you can do for your SD might be to just offer your support by listening to her, and not add to her angst. I'm not trying to bash you here, just suggesting that you look at the issue(s) from all angles. Walk a mile in all the shoes in the closet. I do agree she needs counseling to help her deal with things.


 o
oh dear.

Sorry weed30, I'll see if I may explain it better and hope I wasn't too out of line.
She was already discussing the topic of sleeping with her mom this day with me, because it's obviously been on her mind and it seemed as though she was "feeling me out" for my opinion as the other adult female model in her life.
She brought it up unprovoked by me, telling me a story about falling off their bed one night...she then said, "You know I sleep with my mom every night."
I said, yes. She said "My babysitter (at BM's) said I shouldn't. She said it's weird. But I only sleep with her because she has trouble and I love my mom so much! It's not weird is it?"
I agreed that she loves her mom and then tried to address why her babysitter thought it might be "weird." And how when I was young, if I was sick or had a legit nightmare, my folks would let me sleep in their room (all be it, on the floor in my sleeping bag...i didn't say this, that's just how my folks operated) and that it was absolutely ok if some nights she felt the need to be closer to her mom. Just that the older we get, the less some kids do this. It was at that point I segued into asking if anyone else (i.e. her gym friends) knew.
She didn't seem put off and genuinely was interested in "my take" on things.
I absolutely do not want to over-step, so how would anyone else have addressed that particular conversation?
Should I have said it's not at all weird or change the subject? I'm not sure. She's "my only child" so I know I will not always do the right thing all the time, especially on the spot.
Any insight would be graciously appreciated. Thank you kindly.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

"But I only sleep with her because she has trouble and I love my mom so much! It's not weird is it?"

Sadly, this mom is putting a huge burden on her child. She is using her in the role of an emotional crutch and a surrogate spouse. I don't mean anything sexual, but definitely everything emotionally intimate. Her daughter knows it's weird, the babysitter has commented on it, and she's looking for affirmation that it's NOT weird. Since it IS weird, it's very hard to support her without troubling her more at the same time. That is why I think she needs counseling.

Maybe when these things come up you can just say you don't know, and ask if SHE thinks it's weird, and just listen and affirm whatever she says. Not in the sense of agreeing with her that it is weird, but saying that you understand how she might feel that way. Then perhaps ask her what she thinks might be a way to help her mom but not feel weird about it. Baby steps. She might not know what to do, but at least she might feel she has a say in what's going on, which is empowering.

Her dad really does need to step up and deal with this. The other things you mentioned are concerning...behaviors that have sexual overtones.


 o
Thank you all.

Thank you, weed30. Turning it around so that SD can start thinking about it a little more in depth, and then SHE is the one answering her own questions, is an excellent idea/strategy.
I'm always a little uncomfortable when she talks so openly about her BM with me (because I know the "real deal"), yet I'm always very careful to make sure I speak loving and positively about her (though, as some of you know, a lot of tongue biting can sometimes be involved on our parts).
Of course we want to take their pain away, but when it comes to parents (no matter how poorly one of them is behaving at the moment, or our personal opinions of said behavior) kids have every right to love and admire BOTH their mom and dad.
It is so obvious to anyone over 10 that her BM is burdening her in multiple ways, and it's starting to stress SD out the more aware she becomes on her own.
We are on top of counseling and that is the next logical step. Courts often favor the mother, and I think this is something HD and I won't be able to let up on. It'll just be a try and try again scenario, until we get some positive results.
I've never really been exposed to alcoholism, or alcoholics with children, so this particular situation is VERY foreign for me to navigate.
I'd like to thank every one so very much for your insights, opinions, and thoughtfulness. Thank you for caring about my family.
The very best wishes to you all.
Now to cross my fingers, do the work, and keep the faith!


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

my DD is very affectionate and hugging or kiss on a cheek is a normal thing, me and her hug very often. She and her dad also hug (not all the time though)appropriatelly or give kiss on a cheek (again not all the time). BUT whatever was decsribed is weird and not appropriate. I would not shower wiht DD at any age (I helped her to wash her hair and maybe even at 10 because she had long hair and didn't do a good job, but i didn't climb in a bathtub with her) and we never co-slept, why would we unless there is no bed available. She only sat on our lap when she was very little, she certainly didn't kiss any family members on the lips or didn't stroke anyone's arms!

I wonder if there is any male in the house, boyfriend who she observes with mom or maybe she is being molested, it doesn't sound right.

Sounds like some form of child abuse and I would address it one way or the other. dad should address wiht Bm what is going on.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

"I wonder if there is any male in the house, boyfriend who she observes with mom or maybe she is being molested, it doesn't sound right"

ditto.


 o
heavy

Wow. Just yesterday we found out that there IS another "BF" at BM's house (they come and go).
That's what frightens me (re: molestation) because there are ALWAYS random drinkers (women and men) going in and out of BM's house often and SD is a GORGEOUS young girl.
It's a fairly perilous situation for her (IMO), I'd want to know exactly who is allowed to be around my child, and when people (including BM) are passing out (or "getting tired" as SD puts it) who knows what the heck can happen...not to be overly paranoid, but it's a genuine concern.
It's so frustrating that BM absolutely CANNOT be reasoned with. (like one poster said, "alcoholics distort reality and live in denial.") HD has tried many different approaches with her, each with the same result...nothing. So now we have to go through the court.
He's even said, "strangers are coming into your house. SD could be put in a really bad situation." She says he's crazy and turns it into HIS fault because, "if you never left, if you were around, we wouldn't have any of these problems." Which is really unfair to him, to guilt him like that. The problem is and has always been drinking and her not wanting to quit when he did.
It's obvious she can't be talked to, so we will keep our eyes and ears open. Because we'll be on the phone with CPS the second some other "incident" happens. We cannot let SD be put in any more danger, no matter how much she loves her mom and may not understand at this point.
I'd never be able to forgive myself if something ever happened.


 o
I was right

so i was right that there are men in the house and SD's ideas about kissing on the lips and stroking arms and sleeping wiht adults and bathing wiht them is coming from what she observes at mom's house.

I knew it the minute i read your initial post this is not coming form a normal situation.

I suggest DH contacts lawyer right now without waiting for bad things to happen. People passing out in front of her is good enough reason to seek full custody for dad and supervised visitations for mom. there is too much damage done already, what si your DH waiting for?


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Does SD have a cell? I do not normally advocate cells for 10YO, but here I would suggest at a minimum she be given a cheapo one just to call 911 and/or dad.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Posted by vesters (My Page) on Fri, Jul 17, 09 at 14:32


"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."

As some other posters have said, I think this is incredibly worrying. What if your SD is "co-sleeping" with BM and some guy decides to "co-sleep" and passes out right along with them? Plus the BM drives with her in the car drunk, or passes out with your SD at home, and it sounds like this is a "normal" thing, that people " get sleepy"...I would not wait, I would ask LoveHadley for some advice, talk to CPS and get a good lawyer. Your SD is in a situation that a lot of adults could not handle. I think you should get working on plans to get her out of that situation asap.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

"I would not wait, I would ask LoveHadley for some advice, talk to CPS and get a good lawyer"

The best advice I would have is the last part of Shannon's---get a GOOD lawyer. Do some research, ask for referrals and find the best of the best. It really can make all the difference.

My DH hired one of the most sought-after custody attorneys in our city and she was worth every penny. EVERYONE said DH would not get residential custody b/c it is almost always given to the mom---but he did! And as a result, SS will be going to OUR school district. Everyone said the likelihood of getting something in the parenting plan restricting BM's drinking would not happen either---but guess what, it did! There is now an addendum that states BM cannot consume alcohol 4 hrs prior to having SS or during her custody time. If she is caught violating, we can call the police, AND it gives my DH solid grounds for full custody. It is hard to enforce, hard to regulate---but what it really does is 100% document on court record that BM has a problem with alcohol. It totally validates DH's concerns and it leaves things open should the situation escalate and DH need to get full custody.

These things happened b/c DH got a GREAT attorney. You need to find someone who is intelligent, savvy and well-respected. Do not get some sleazy attorney--find someone who the JUDGES and GALS respect b/c that makes all the difference!


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Hi Vesters. So many things you wrote struck a chord with me as we experienced the same issues with my SD, who is now 14. We've had custody of her since she was 5, after gaining emergency and then full custody though a very nasty battle.

After DH and his ex divorced SM moved SD hours away. SD began sleeping in her bed, showering with her, being completely dependent on her mom. BM thrived on this - it made her feel needed and important. SD couldn't (or wouldn't) do or try anything on her own. SD became BM's 'bff' and confidant - all at the mature age of 3. This continued until BM found a boyfriend, and then SD was kicked into her own bed in her own room on a different floor and told to go to sleep. Once that relationship ended SD was needed again and back in BM's bed, all the while hearing about BM's relationship woes.

Fast forward a few years. We have custody, SD sees her mom EOW. She's still trying to have SD sleep with her (between boyfriends) and be dependent on her. The 'bff' behavior is worsening and we're hearing all about BM's love life from SD. SD is getting stomach aches right before visitations and worrying about how to take care of her mom. All so appropriate for a mother/daughter relationship.

And then there was. . . "BM also used to say things to SD (right after I came on the scene) like, "I'd never let a man come between us" and "You're the only one I need" which sounds innocent enough, but it was very much meant as a "look at your father, moving on with his life, I'll never let that happen to us." I could have written that. BM is always saying this. . . in between the men in her life. But what SD figured out about 2 years ago is that her mom is full of sh@t. She started to see all these behaviors factored around her mom and what her mom needed on her mom's schedule. She was blinded by the 'my mom needs me' and 'my mom loves me best' until then, but with the help of her counselor and a little maturity she started to figure it out. I won't say she doesn't fall back into buying her mom's crud every now and again, but for the main part she can she the behavior for who it is really about - mom, not SD.

I tell you all this so you know you are not alone, and also to give you hope. Your SD needs help, and she needs her dad to help her receive it, but she can recover from this.

I will tell you one thing SD's counselor shared with us that was helpful for SD and for our tongues as we weren't biting them so hard. When you say "I'm always a little uncomfortable when she talks so openly about her BM with me (because I know the "real deal"), yet I'm always very careful to make sure I speak loving and positively about her ." you need to stop. This doesn't mean speak negatively, but you don't have to put a good spin on bad actions. Don't try to make mom's bad action ok. Don't make excuses for her. Listen to SD, let her know you understand why she would be upset, help her with generalized, non leading questions discover why she's upset, but don't then tell her it's all ok and mommy knows best. Later, when she figures out mommy doesn't, you will be seen as a liar. It's ok to say sometimes mommy's get confused, or mommy's make mistakes. This is likely better pronounced by DH at first, but you need to know that you don't have to be positive. Just don't be negative, if you get what I mean. :-)

Good luck. Keep us updated, and keep your chin up. You are doing the right thing.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Very wise words from someone who has been there and emerged well and healthy on the other side --
Beautifully said, JNM.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

good post JNM. I agree that it is not always healthy to tell a child that whatever adults do is fine, it is pretty dangerous, that's how children end up sexually abused, "oh mommy and daddy can do no wrong oh it must be OK because it is my mommy". I personally would immidiatelly be on a phone with a lawyer, it bothers me that dad doesn't do anything.


 o
not the same as co-sleeping and co-bathing

sleeping in the same room (when needed to) is not the same as co-sleeping.

most fo the world doesn't live in huge houses, and people share rooms due to lack of space especially in Asia and Africa. when my SO was young, his parents and all 3 kids slept in one room. they also took public bath (wiht their own gender), but again it is not the same as co-bathing. i had to share a bedroom wiht my brother until we were 11-12, but we didn't co-sleep.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Ima said: "Do you bring the child in the room with a new spouse? "

Actually, this past March when FDH went to visit FSD, he stayed at their house because we could't afford a hotel room. The arrangements were made a month in advance.

FDH slept in FSD's room and FSD slept in the same bed as BM, SF and the little sister.

How weird is that?

Some people don't understand how they are messing with their kids' heads. Telling them they are old enough to do such-and-such, but still letting them sleep in the same bed.

IMO, any woman who introduces any man into their daughter's life, better be careful no matter how well she thinks she knows this man. Men are still men. And they still have urges. And when this little girl starts turning into a woman and getting curvier and getting breasts, they are going to look. Especially men that may have fettishes. But all men enjoy young women. Just check the local news or papers. Stepfathers molesting stepdaughters is common.

I think this is what's happening at FSD's house. I think that BM pushed for SF to be way too close to FSD and now she's 14 and is a beautiful young girl.


 o
RE: 1st time poster feels alone- 10 yr. old SD co-sleeping/co-bat

Ashley, I could not agree with your more, about being careful about men introduced into D's life. It is scary. Now of course, my D is the prettiest girl in world (doesnt evey mom think so)


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Stepfamily Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here