My husband & I have custody of our 13 yo niece, my brother's daughter. We've had her since she was 2 so we are pretty much the only family she has memory of living with. The birthmom is around in varying degrees depending on where she lives..sometimes in other states. My brother lives nearby but is not involved at all. He visits but does not interact with his child at all. The bm means well but she often complicates things. She has untreated bi-polar and her life has been a mess...very unstable. Right now she's in school and things seem to be going ok for her. Anyhow, we have 4 other younger children in the home. Not sure where to begin this...we have always had a hard time with our difficult child, she has always been...spirited...but things have been awful for the past year or so. She is very impulsive and engages in dangerous behavior. We are having a heck of a time keeping her in the house. She wants to roam the streets with older kids who are up to no good. We know she smokes when she can and I wouldn't be surprised if she tried alcohol or drugs. For her 13th birthday party, we caught some of her guests huffing in the backyard! We are 99.9% sure that she didn't participate then but I am not so sure that she would abstain if given the chance. Life has been very volatile. She gets in my face and pushes those buttons. I would have said that I was an extremely patient person but somehow she would work me out of my normal calm behavior and into frazzled mom mode. Her 'attacks' are just relentless! We've had a few breaking points over the past few months...finding out she had sex with a boy in what was supposed to be a supervised situation. Just no impulse control whatsoever. We have called the police twice now to report her missing. We wouldn't let her do something and she would just take off anyway...or she wouldn't come home from school. It's been a nightmare tracking her down. She does have bi-polar, adhd, anxiety disorder and her latest diagnosis is oppositional defiance disorder. She is a cutter with severe scars on her arms. After her last incident of running away, (just last month) the police baker acted her because of her scars and because she was hoarding knives in her room. She spent 4 days in a ymhc. At that point, my hubby and I were at the breaking point and almost ready to terminate custody. As a last ditch effort, we attended an empowered parents conference and we have made some changes in how we deal with her and we have seen some small steps in the right direction. We have seen her make good choices and it gives me a tiny bit of hope. The next big thing for us is to attend a weekend camp with her later this month. She doesn't know a thing about any of this yet and I am expecting some explosive behavior. We don't know how to implement all the little stuff we have learned at the conference so I am hoping that camp will help us tie everything together.