Well, I am new to the board and I guess just looking for some support and somewhere to vent when I am overwhelmed with my life. After 20+ years working with children of all ages and issues, I decided as a single mom to adopt 2 sisters who were at the time 2 & 5. They have been a blessing and joy to me and can't imagine my life without them. They are so loving, beautiful, intelligent and they are also the biggest challenge of my life! I had convinced myself that all my "experience" had prepared me to become a great Mom. This lasted a couple of weeks. About one year into our journey together as a family, after having to move, losing my job, having my care stolen and house broken into- I reached my breaking point. I am still struggling to get to the point where I feel like I am a "great mom"...it has been a rocky road. I guess it is unreasonable for me to think that at some point all my love and parenting efforts will pay off and the difficult behaviors will diminish...or better yet disappear! My older daughter definitely has her moments still, but her kind and loving nature and desire have made it easier to deal with her "moments". My younger daughter form the beginning was a handful and I used to think to myself (and share with trusted confidants) that she seemed to have a "mean streak"...and I can understand with the rough start in life she had. She is now in kindergarten, regular therapy and attends a very unstructured after-school program. She was issued "in-school suspension" last fall for following the teachers instructions and "handing" the pencil back to her schoolmate a little too forcefully and basically stabbing her palm with the pencil (actually drew a little blood reportedly). I really don't think she understood the consequences of her actions as she has never been violent beyond a little kicking, hitting, biting. Two days ago she hit 2 classmates and when her teacher tried to redirect her, she kicked her teacher (not too hard). She refused to comply with teacher and go to the office until the Principal was on her way. She was suspended for a day and we had to meet with the principal upon her return today. She sat there slumping, angry, glaring at the principal trying to nod her answers. I was so angry with her defiance and disrespect. If she had acted this way at home I would have told her to go to her room and come back and talk to me when she has a better attitude (which she does comply with after initial grumbling). But we were stuck and so after being prompted by the principal, she finally answered with "yes" and "no" responses and was sent back to class. Lately she argues with every statement her sisters make, huffs, puffs, stomps, rolls her eyes at every direction I give her (she did this with the principal too). Cries & wines often. She is extremely controlling and always wants the authority role when playing with others. She even on occasion speaks to me as if SHE is in charge. When I went down the list of indicators for ODD she met almost every one of them! She is scheduled to have a formal psychiatric evaluation which her therapist is coordinating...but meanwhile I just have to beleive I can be a better parent to her. I am jeapordizing my job with all these absences due to my children and their needs. I use up all my paid leave dealing with their behavioral and medical needs leaving no "vacation time" to unwind, de-stress and relax. I think I just need to vent and work on getting more balance, but how do I do that in addition to working on improving my parenting skills? It's a catch 22. By the way...what the heck is a "difficult child"