So we had 2 sessions with our counsellor yesterday. We booked a session for us and a private session for difficult child - he didn't come (legitimate reason) but he didn't let me know until it was too late to cancel. I have to say sometimes I really like her and sometimes she frustrates me. Guess that's part of her job - I've never had any type of counselling before so I have nothing to compare it too. Anyway, counsellor and I discussed my control issues yesterday. She said that she gets that I like to be in control of things. I recognize that. I also recognize that being difficult child's mother, it's been my job to control things for the past 16 years. But I have also been very involved because I home schooled my kids up until Grade 9 so I had a lot more influence/control than many parents. I've actually tried to lessen up with controlling things and start letting him do things on his own - he doesn't seem to want the responsibility though and he doesn't take it. Ugh. Counsellor suggested some things to us..... -Make counselling a prerequisite for him coming home. husband and I have been to 5 sessions, difficult child went to 1 and he was checked out for most of it. -Do NOT allow him to be disrespectful to us. There will be no swearing, no name calling, no bullying of me or sis, no breaking of rules. -If he chooses not to follow the rules then he needs to be given a week to get his things together and find a place to stay - and he isn't to come back for a minimum of 4 months, maybe 6. This is to avoid a revolving door of disrespect, leave, apologize, come home all in a short period of time. -Not allow any illegal activity - if I find anything illegal he will be gone. - Require him to be in school full time or working full time in order to continue living with us. - Require him to participate in our family - help out around the house (and not get paid), have family dinners, participate in family functions, etc.. I agree with all of the above - wholeheartedly. Now when reading the rest you have to consider that he is 16 years old and where we live he is legally allowed to live on his own and make his own choices.... - Allow him to deal with the school directly regarding his truancy issues. Every time he is truant the school emails me and then I have to report him truant or find out what happened from difficult child - the counsellor feels that this is a control issue for difficult child. She thinks I should tell the school to call him on his cell phone and deal with him directly and let him suffer the natural consequences (ie. fail the course, detention, suspension - whatever) - Never wake him up for school again - leave public transit bus tickets for him in case he misses the school bus and let him suffer the consequences of being late for school. He will be very late because the public transit only comes by our place at 10:30am and then again at noon. We live in a pretty rural area. So - again, this would involve him getting detention, suspension, failing, etc.) but the responsibility would be solely on him and he would have to deal with the consequences - eliminating the power struggle he has going on with husband and I (although mostly me because all that stuff falls on my shoulders) - If he wants to go out then we don't restrict his movements - providing they are legal. He would be required to show us the respect of letting us know what his plans are and keeping us up to date if they change. He would also be responsible for getting himself from A to B and back without our help - if he wants to stay out until 2am then that's his choice but I don't have to get out of bed and pick him up and he better be quiet as a church mouse when he comes in. So, I understand where the counsellor is coming with these suggestions - it offers the hope of saving our family relationship because we are removing the power struggle. I'm not enabling him because I'm not bailing him out, not giving him money, not driving him around. He wants to be treated like a man then he's got the responsibility of a man (aside from the fact that we are providing a roof over his head and food in his belly). And I'm not sacrificing myself by allowing him to demean me, dominate me or bully me - because if he does he is gone. It would take away a lot of fighting. Now, here's my fears...... He has shown little ability to balance school and play - less so now that he has this new group of friends and a girlfriend. I know the the natural consequences of that are that he fails but if he doesn't graduate high school that's something that can affect him the rest of his life. He is so self indulgent I worry that this newfound freedom will send him over the edge with partying, drinking, possibly drugs (if he's not already doing them - will he start?). Here are some things husband and I discussed that we want to add to the mix..... I already told husband that difficult child needs to know that a 'victory lap' is no longer an option. Many kids now want to do 5 years of high school instead of 4. At one point I was ok with difficult child doing this because his high school has some really amazing courses available to students and I thought it would be a good way for him to get his feet wet in different areas of interest - try them on for size to see if he liked them. They have everything from guitar, to photography, to auto mechanics, welding, architecture, etc.. Now I'm concerned he may use 'being in school full time' as an excuse to not get started in life. Especially if he has no incentive to pass his classes and just goes back for a victory lap to make up for stuff he has failed. He has changed and so my opinion on this has changed. He does have the option of going to college or university and he's plenty smart enough to do it if he applies himself and gets the grades he needs. But things have changed and difficult child needs to know that I will no longer pay for his first year of college or university. He will have to pay for the first year and if he does well and passes then we will help him with the next year. I'm not prepared to let him sleep in, skip class and waste my money - if he wants to waste money it will be his. There will be no sleepovers or parties in my home. I am not running a flop house - he can't come and go at all hours of the day and night - be gone for days at a time and then show up for sleep, shower and food. If he gets girlfriend pregnant (oh God please don't let that happen) and she chooses to have the baby then that child is their responsibility. I will do grandma things like throw a baby shower and babysit on occasion but I don't want to raise another child. (I know, all nicely said, but that may not end up being the reality of the situation - can't penalize the baby, can we?) At this point I am not prepared to help him get his drivers license. I feel like he has been using us for money and that the only reason he came home last time was so we would help him get his motorcycle license and that after that his plan was to leave again. I think he will need to be a functioning, respectful, young adult that participates in our family for at least 6 months before I will consider helping him get his drivers license. If he chooses to get it on his own then he can do that - doesn't mean he'll be driving any of my vehicles though. Maybe easy child will see all the things that difficult child is losing out on and realize that having all that 'freedom' is not all it's cracked up to be. She has always been a different kid than him and I'm hoping she is taking notes on what not to do. difficult child has caused so much pain to husband and I that it's pretty hard not to be angry and detached from him. The counsellor says he is individuating and doesn't know how else to do it - yeah, ok, I get that, but it doesn't change how I feel. What do you think of her suggestions? My ideas? Do you think it's a recipe for disaster or worth a try? I always thought I knew what the right thing was but that's not working out so well for us. I am a bit lost right now to be honest.