This is really bugging me but I could be over-reacting. (It does happen occasionally LOL). Ok- there's a boy that difficult child goes to school with and they had a couple of things happen last year- first, when difficult child "disappeared" in the spring, it turns out that he had gone to that boys house. I called police because I didn't know where difficult child was-he had gone because he had gotten upset with me over something and he had been having a rough time because his only real friend - (well, they couldn't hang around each other anymore since they went in someone's shed and got arrested). difficult child was on probation and grounded by me when this happened. Anyway, through that incident, I learned that this boy (the new one) had a habit of smoking cigarettes and his parents were nothing to be impressed over. When I called over there looking for difficult child, the dad told the boy to hang up on me- and I wasn't being rude or accusing- then, after the cops came and difficult child came home about the same time, the boy was calling over hear so the cop got on the phone and told the boy to put his mom on the phone. Based on my conversation with her and what difficult child said she "looked and acted like", I wasn't left impressed. I told difficult child he needed to stay away from this boy, and I think he did. Then, difficult child found out about a drug deal about to happen at school (involving a "backpack full" of pot). It was the boy planning on buying it- difficult child turned all of them in. This was right after he'd told me that he had been having temptations about trying drugs, so I was very thankful that he made this choice, but of course, I tend to think the boy is who lead difficult child to that temptation. I'm sure difficult child didn't hang around the boy this summer because he was either on detention, on the monitor, or on vacation all but one week this summer. Now, this school year, difficult child noticed scars and fresh cut marks on this boy's arm. Actually, I guess a bunch of boys were talking about them, difficult child was with them when someone asked the boy if he cut himself, the boy said yes showed the others. difficult child couldn't get to the principal easily, so he asked me to email her so he could tell her something- this was after I reassured him that no one would get in trouble, this was about intervention. (He had seen a couple of people in psychiatric hospital last spring with major cutting issues and the scars to prove it). Anyway, he reported this to higher ups at school last week. Today, difficult child comes home from school with thin red ink marks on his arm- left arm, he's right handed. I said "son, why would you draw marks on your arm that looks like you cut yourself". He laughed, I told him that wasn't very nice to go around school with the issues going on at school. He talked about how all the other kids asked him about it. I looked at it closer and said it looked like maybe he HAD scratched or tried to cut himself. He swears no, I made him wash the ink off, and he does have superficial scratches on his arm. They are very small- like maybe it could have been from out playing yesterday. But my gut tells me that they looked too parallel- not random- to be from playing. And if they were from playing, would he have drawn on top of them to make them more noticeable? So, I guess the question is- any chance he was just experimenting and won't do this again? Or am I starting down the road with a new problem? What do I need to watch for? As I mentioned in another thread, he's been hypomanic not depressed lately. But, he and the "older" friend have started being friendly again (not the boy with all the problems, but difficult child's old best friend), and difficult child really has some issues about rejection and acceptance and feeling like he has friends. If he just did this for other kids' attention, is it likely to turn into a habit? What other areas might he start cutting to keep it hidden that I need to check? Any other insights or suggestions? PS difficult child and "new" boy are 13 yo- older friend is 14 yo but they are all in 8th grade. Older friend and "new" boy with problems do not hang around together. difficult child has told me it is "emo" people who do this- and describes emo to me as taking goth a step further. Pardon my ignorance, but I don't know anything about emo. I know that goth means they like the black clothes, nails, etc. Anyway- difficult child is not goth, and the school does not allow excessive black clothes worn- you can't wear black every day to school.