Hi - This is our difficult child #1s story: Our son is 16 me & my husband have been married for 24 years. We also have a 23 y/o daugher (difficult child #2 - story to follow at a later date). He has struggled with-school always well not always just since 3rd grade. He attended a private Montessori school (he LOVED it there) from age 2 till we moved back home when he was 7. At that time we moved the whole family into my Mothers home to care for her my Dad had passed 2 years earlier and my Mom become an invalid (double amputee due to PVD). During that time, which now seems like eons ago, I struggled with loosing her; worked FT from her home; felt guilty about having my husband quit his job to move back home, not only to a depressing situation but also to a depressed economy - it took him nearly a year to find suitable employment. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do at the time and I will cherish the quality time I had with my Mother but unfortunately our children suffered for it because we probably werent mentally present enough for over a year's time. Enough about that. Upon our return he went to a good public school (we couldnt afford 2 private school tuitions at the time (our daughter was entering HS and there wasnt a Montessori school that went above the Kindergarten level anyway). After a week in the 2nd grade the school system requested testing & long story short he was identified as gifted & was placed in 3rd - last night I went through some old notes from teachers, report cards, etc. Im sure you know the kind: disruptive in class tapping on desk drumming pencil talks too loud & too much sings during test watching me watching him and the list goes on and on. Soon after came the ADD tests & that formal diagnosis. ADD / IQ of 145. I've made many mistakes along the way (not wanting to give MY child prescription drugs to help with-the ADD not to mention our overall lack of consistency with-enforcing punishments however, I must say grounding him and/or taking away privileges such as computer, Xbox, etc., had absolutely no affect on him when we did manage to enforce it. It was almost like he welcomed it. He was never the kind of kid that would get angry or throw a fit he would just spend more time with us talking or reading no biggie. We did eventually try different medications with-him per the pediatrician but I think he had already turned "sour" on the whole school thing. It helped him with concentration/staying on task/not being disruptive while at school but he would still manage to loose the HW on the way or forget to write it down, turn it in, etc. His basic MO was not to fret about the grades until the finals then he would study (only if need be) and ace that BIG test at the end to bring up his grades. That usually worked for him. He would always say Ill do better next semester. He played every sport available, (except football) was in a select boys choir (performed at Carnegie Hall) from age 5 to 12 and in retrospect, I think, enjoyed it but towards reaching 12-13 if he wasnt the star of the team he lost interest. He was a GREAT kid at home; just didnt perform at school or meet the expectations. Of course there was a lot of frustration, coaxing, prodding, behavior charts, teacher/parent conferences, study skills classes, many long heart-to-heart talks, etc., along the way, but it just didnt sink in. Fast forward to middle school/high school - hes was kicked out of a Catholic school with-7 weeks left of his 8th grade year - we were told he was the brightest boy there but they could no longer allow him to break the rules (even if they were minor violations) he was accepted into a Catholic HS (I know, what were we thinking!) for 9th (because of his achievement test) but was asked not to return the following year (also for a litany of minor infractions). He did begin seeing a psychologist for a while (beginning about 13) but that didnt seem to help. He didnt mind going but had no effect on his outlook or motivation. He moved on to a public HS for 10th grade but things got much worse rather quickly as he discovered drugs, started skipping classes, lying (which he had NEVER done before) and running away from home. He was grounded a good part of his 10th grade year; at home drug tests began; and we completely lost that kid who didnt mind being grounded & was such a pleasure just to be with and would always hope and I believe really meant to do better next time. He has been in a total of 8 different schools. During the summer of 06 our whole world started to unravel. He was out with-his friends one evening & called home to be picked up early (quite unusual). When husband & difficult child walked in I knew something was wrong after a few minutes he told us he had eaten a couple of flowers called Angel Trumpet. I called the poison center and we immediately took him to the ER. After a few hours there he was transferred to another hospitals Intensive Care Unit for 3 days. He nearly died. After the on-call psychiatrist met with-him he was not considered suicidal or homicidal and was discharged. At our insistence he had a couple of weeks of intensive out-patient therapy and we thought he had really experienced a wake-up call we spent so many hours talking and had a real sense that things were going to turn around. That wasnt the case. After about 2 weeks into 11th grade he ran away yet again (4th time) I dont think I mentioned, every time he has done that, he leaves little notes that apologize and ask us not to be angry with him - he just needs some space - its not our fault, etc. After finding him with 6 or 7 other kids at a sleazy motel a couple days later we escorted him to an adolescent rehab facility where he spent 63 days inpatient we visited on Saturdays for 2 hours (where we found out that he had been smoking cigs & pot since he was 14, did X & Coke several times & acid a few) when he came home in Nov 06 he did very well he was allowed to transfer to another public HS to be away from his triggers/temptations; we enrolled in a family group session with about 8 other troubled teens & their parents led by a MSW to talk about drugs, etc. After about 2 ½ months into that program he was smoking pot again, skipping classes & hanging with his crowd. He is on probation now because we have asked the court to charge him with an "ungovernable minor" charge due to his disregard for our rules of "no drugs period", running away & truancy. He knows the potential consequences but doesn't seem to care about anything at all. Its like the façade is off and he has been exposed. He failed the last drug test (pot & coke) & was placed on house arrest for 3 weeks. No biggie. He just got off a few days ago. Three hours later he left home with a friend reported to work and was fired. Apparently, he showed up stoned. He also just recently had a psychological & psychiatric profile requested by the court but the psychiatric profile came back as invalid - the psychologist said he did not take it seriously too many exaggerations not consistent with his upbringing. The psychiatrist believes he is depressed and we should try Wellbutrin (no Adderall) but can't say if the drug use caused the depression or the depression caused the self-medicating behavior. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do - I am obsessed with researching options to help him find himself, but feel like I'm stuck in quicksand at the same time. How do you come to terms with the fact that you just can't reach out and help your own child overcome whatever it is that's holding him back? We cant COMMUNICATE with him at all any longer. He doesn't open up with-us - just wants to leave high school because he is absolutely "miserable" while there (even though he has friends) and promises to stay drug-free BUT will not give up his drug using friends. I think I also forgot to mention all Fs this year. I must have 20+ parenting/ADD/Gifted books around the house - some deal with drug experimentation, etc., but the more I research the more confused I am with- "sending him away" to a wilderness camp/therapeutic boarding school to be "fixed". I realize we may be in a denial of the true depths of his problem but I'm sure you know what I mean when you THINK that your child is different - you hope & pray he'll see the light and just WAKE UP and realize where he's headed but it never happens. He is such a frustration in that one-on-one, most of the time, he's an affable, mature, all around really good kid, but when he's out of our sight he morphs into, well, you know what! He's totally mixed up (like I was at his age) but couple that with-today and the world we live in and the outcome may be another story. We will also start family therapy soon but not sure if that will be enough. Bottom line currently is our struggle a) do we let him face the consequences of his actions by allowing him to go the GED route, continue to drug screen, follow the courts recommendations, let him work full-time, give him enough rope to hang himself, etc., or b) send him to a WC or another drug rehab & hope and pray that he benefits from the intensive therapy and overall experience of being "forced" to see where he is ultimately headed. Thanks for listening to me ramble and if you have any advice it will be very much appreciated.