I hope I don't get flamed for not just "reading the forum" for this but I am thoroughly confused and everyones situations seem so individual I am bit lost here. My fiance'e and I have been together for 3 and a half years but I have known her 8 year old son for closer to 5. Ever since I have met him I have been amazed and impressed by his level of intelligence and perception. He has the proverbial mind like a steel trap along with the memory of an elephant and a few other cliche's. But seriously he is a brilliant young man. Soon after I became involved with him I grew concerned about somethings in his personality. He was very set in routines that I was concerned about his ability to adapt. I don't mean that he had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies or anything, just that anything that was out of the ordinary was difficult for him to take. He has also been very argumentative since the beginning. This is due to, in part, the fact that he is beyond his years in perception and cognitive ability. There is getting little past him and he needs to be explained to why he must or must not do something because in his rationale it doesn't make sense. The whole "because I told you so" thing is lost on him. But the winter before last something changed. He went for an extended visit with his father and when we picked him and his brother back up there seemed to be some concern over some inappropriate activity and, from discussions about this incident, some concern as to whether he was witness to some inappropriate activity by some older strangers. It turned out to be just some overzealous parenting that led to a concocted story on his part. However, it also seem to change him for the worst. He became extremely defiant in school and had a few incidents there that led to a suspension. After some diliberating with the school we came up with a plan to get him into counseling and pursue what measures we needed to take to "fix" this situation. We met with a counselor and his pediatrition and it was determined that he suffers from ADD and ODD. The plan was to place him on a low dosage of Concerta and start using a disciplinary method known as "1,2,3 Magic". Everyone bought the book and watched the videos and we were all on board. Everything was better for some time. The concerta, though it made him a bit lethargic, made him lose his appetite in the morning, and at times made him a bit "spacy", seemed to have a positive affect. And though he didn't like the new discipline system it seemed to work. However, none of this was sustainable. Soon the Concerta didn't seem to help any. The 1,2,3 Magic was quite difficult to be consistent with at times. And the counseling never seemed to amount to anything. We made it through the end of the first year without a lot of major difficulties. Then last year we ended up in the same situation. It began soon after the winter break-though it's really difficult to say that the visits with Dad spurred the activity it does seem highly coincendental. This time however, the teacher wasn't as primed to assist us. She wasn't terrible by any means but she just didn't seem able or willing to go the extra mile as the 1st grade teacher did. So he did end up getting suspended a couple more times and kicked of the bus for a few days at a time. Though I don't feel that the Concerta (now 4x's the original dose) was helping much, a couple of the days he had major issues he did not receive his medication. We were informed by the school that he was not to attend unless he had his medication. We started to lose faith in medicating him. We decided to change his diet and and add supplements. I went to a drug addiction seminar in which they were discussing brain biochemistry in addicts and showed that it was similar to those with ADD issues. So I did some research and found Daniel Amen's work to be quite interesting. So we starting reducing refined sugars and tried to feed him healthier foods and snacks and even went organic, gluten free when we could. This was quite expensive and only seemed to have a short-term minor affect on his behavior. During this time we also gave him supplements: fish body oils, GABA, L-Tyrosine, L-Carnitine and 5-HTP along with a multivitamin. We tried this for a number of months without any marked change. Over the summer we didn't have him on any medication. Very little seemed to change. He didn't do any worse or better. We are now in the second week of school and he has already been suspended for 2 days and kicked off the bus for 3. We still do not have him on medication. We are not sure which way to turn at this point. We would like to find a counselor that would help. We don't believe the last one did any good save for referring us to 1,2,3 Magic. The medicine does little accept makes him not want to eat breakfast. The supplement route, though I am definitely a supporting of using dietary supplements didnt seem to help. The way I would describe his behavior is sheer, undadulterated audacity. He refuses to do what he is told, uses foul language, declares that the people that are dealing with are mean, horrible people when he wants to be nice, 'b' words and 'd' words when he doesn't. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and takes any curbing of his behavior with a "how dare you" attitude. He has had a few bouts where he threatened bodily harm to his mother. I dealt with this swiftly and we have really not much of that problem since. His environment and situation creates chaos and tension at times. Together my fiance'e and I have a number of children. 8 in the household most all the time to be exact. This is tough for him sometimes. His dad is really only an every-other-weekend dad. I have attended more of his events exponetially then his biological father. A couple of ways we have failed him in the past is we haven't been 1.) consistent 2.)effective enough (tough enough) with the punishments 3.) his mother and I have disagreements that have spilled over into the view of the children. The third one I am most disappointed about (not just for him but all of our children and ourselves). We try and try to work on this and it always comes back because we are so protective of our respective children and have differing views on how to raise them at times. This has been difficult. Before I have the world come down on me, let me just say we are aware that we could use some couples counseling to but finding time for it and the funds to pay for it since our insurance doesn't cover it has made it virtually impossible. We don't feel justified in our arguing. We both realize it is wrong but have yet to find a way to deal with our frustations, to which there are many, in a positive manner. That has improved more recently but still could be an issue. So at this point, we are at a complete loss as to which direction to head. THe resources in our area, frankly, suck. His original counselor came recommended to us as someone who "specialized in behavioral disorders" but was completely ineffective. Finding someone close by that is truly good at this has been impossible. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Judgement would not. We want to do the best by this little boy. I see him as as much of my son and my biological sons. My biggest concern is his great mind with end up being wasted on chaotic outbursts rather than helping him achieve greatness, which I believe he can and should. Please help.