*Deep breath* I think we have reached a tipping point


New Member
Hi! I have been lurking for months and these forums have been so helpful.

My son R will be 14 in a few months. We have been struggling with his behavior for about a year and a half. A year ago, we discovered that he had been dealing vapes (he was in 6th grade at the time), had been stealing money from our wallets, had set up fraudulent paypal and ebay accounts and was selling things he didn't own to try to raise money to buy things that he wanted, and had purchased a BB gun and brought it to school (he wasn't caught but could have been expelled if he was). He was also doing poorly in school because of his dyslexia.

Since then it has been an ongoing battle. We took away his access to the internet. He snuck iphones and ipods into the house. We changed the wifi passwords and took away his bike. He retaliated by acting out. He swore he wasn't dealing any longer. We didn't believe him but we didn't have proof. Even when we caught him with a device, he wouldn't log us in to see what he was doing. Phone chargers go missing. He has been in therapy since December 2016, we have gone to counseling with him. On and off he is a total douchebag. We've had a hard time figuring out what is normal teenage behavior (leaving dirty clothing lying around? not flushing the toilet after use? looking at porn online?) and what is abnormal. Tried to give him chances to earn back our trust. He swears he isn't dealing vapes any longer and isn't breaking the rules. Every few months, we'd find another device and be back to square one. Last December he bought an iphone from a friend for $200 (where did he get $200?), which we force him to return and we pocket the cash.

He refuses to acknowledge that as his parents we have the right and obligation to monitor his use of social media. We find him up in the middle of the night in the basement watching TV or facetiming with a friend on a device. Install a lock on the basement door. He breaks into the lockbox and gets the key to the lock. A bottle of tequila is filled with water. Screens pop off windows. A ladder moves around outside. Our daughter tells us she thinks he is leaving the house in the middle of the night. Our friends tell us they hear he is dealing vapes and drugs. Plus, he's freaking unpleasant to be around--complains about everything, farts loudly and laughs, loud, hyper in the evenings, leaves his :censored2: everywhere, badgers his sister, resists doing his homework, etc. And so entitled.

Finally, I'd had enough. Last weekend, I figured out a way to break into his snapchat account and I do so. (It's not easy, by the way.) More than ample evidence that he has been dealing vapes all along. It's an epidemic in our middle schools and the kids are smart enough to figure out how to arrange drop offs so they don't get caught by the school or their parents. He also has been climbing out his second story window and riding his bike around town at 2 a.m. to hang out with friends. Kid is dumb enough to take timestamped photos in his snapchat account. Also videos of him drinking out of a bottle of wine.

He had a neuropsychologist evaluation in 2013 (diagnosis: vision processing disorder) and another one in 2017 (diagnosis: dyslexia). We put him in an intensive dyslexia remediation program last summer (100+ hours) that made a huge impact on his ability to read, but he still hates to do so and performs poorly at school. He just underwent a psychiatric evaluation on the recommendation of his therapist; we should get preliminary results next week. Will see if he gets an ODD or CD diagnosis or what else they might come up with. We hired a lawyer last summer to get him an IEP (he had a 504 plan). The district did all the testing and said that he doesn't qualify on the grounds of learning disability as he performed in the average range, but they gave him one on the grounds of emotional disability, so he is in a resource room every day to help him get organized and get work done. He also gets 5.5 hours of tutoring every week, but is still pulling Cs and Ds. And this is not a dumb kid! He's smart enough to skirt around every restriction.

I just don't see how his behavior is going to change unless we do something drastic. He is clearly entrenched in these "criminal" type behaviors and lifestyle. I think it must be an addiction for him. He must get some sort of high off of every time he puts one over on us.

So we are meeting with an educational consultant this afternoon to look into therapeutic wilderness programs followed perhaps by a therapeutic boarding school. I am so angry and stressed and full of adrenaline all the time that I just don't see how things can go on as they are. It would be such a relief to get a few months off from living like this.

Thanks for listening!


Well-Known Member
Well, it sounds like you are very resourceful and involved, and you've got a plan in place that you are executing. Your idea of wilderness and/or boarding school sounds like a good fit for your son.

My stepson is bipolar and while he isn't as antisocial as your son seems to be based on your description, he does display hyperactivity and impulse control behaviors that are somewhat similar to those you describe. Have you ever had him evaluated for mental illness? Sounds like you've focused on educational assessments, which is great, but if he has an underlying mental illness this will definitely exacerbate any learning or attention issues. The risk taking behavior, sneaking out of the house, etc. is definitely a symptom of bipolar disease in my stepson. It may or may not be for your child, but it's worth considering.

Do you know your son's biological history in terms of mental illness and/or personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder? So many of these behavioral problems are inherited, it boggles the mind. And often these disorders begin to show themselves in early adolescence. For my stepson, it began with a suicide attempt this past September which was very nearly a completed suicide. He was 15 when this occurred and just recently turned 16, which is when he had his first episode of mania.

A certain degree of defiance and grossness is normal in an adolescent boy, but the chronic lying, illegal activities, sneaking out of the house and dealing vapes/obtaining money through possibly illicit means, etc is definitely not typical and I don't at all think you are overstating the situation.

Are you and his dad on the same page? That makes a huge difference in your ability to successfully deal with son's issues.

Unfortunately your son may need to live away from the family for some time, possibly months or years, if you are unwilling to continue living with the drama and chaos he creates (and i don' t blame you one bit, I'd make the same choice). The answers will come in time. In the short term others will chime in here to share their experience with wilderness programs.

Keep posting, we're here and we get it!
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Active Member
I would urge you to have a mental health evaluation with a pediatric psychiatrist. I see a bunch of red flags that could mean many different things. The increasing hyperactivity in the evenings sounds like daily mood cycling. Also, it sounds like he's not really sleeping. That may not be the case, but you should have him checked out for a mood disorder.

I'm sorry you are going through this. You've done so much already to try to help him.


Well-Known Member
We had many legal problems with our son. One of the best things we did was to plea bargain him into a six month residential program. Has your son actually been caught and charged? It gave us a break and did help for awhile. You do seem to have a handle on things. I don't know anything about wilderness camps maybe others can answer that. Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I would have him assessed and his criminal behavior makes me think of Conduct Disorder with maybe other stuff co-morbid. Most kids his age, even with mental health disorders, don't break the law like he is doing. You have time to intervene and hope for the best. None of us can really diagnose so I would take him to a top notch Neuropsychologist. This is a psychologist with extra training in the brain. I myself have been a mental health patient all my life and my decades of experience is that neuropsychologists are the best at diagnosis, although no diagnosis is set in stone. I would see a good psychiatrist as a distant second choice. They do not do as much testing though. They are not as thorough and will push the most medication which may or may not help...psychiatry is not an exact science yet. No diagnoses can be proven by, say, a blood test...

Your son is young. Now is the time to do all you can. His dealing is troubling for such a young boy. It could mean antisocial traits developing. They need to be curbed while you still have control. At 18 you no longer have any legal control over him. The younger he is curbed, the better the long term prognosis.

I wish you and your son the very best.

Love and light!


Well-Known Member

I agree with you and everybody. His environment needs to be tightened up. You can't chain him to his bed. He lies. Thwarts basic norms let alone laws.

The school performance is the least of it. That can be cleared up later.

I would do exactly as you say. Residential. There are programs for kids with mental illness diagnoses and learning disabilities. Wilderness programs...I don't know.

The other thing I would consider is teen challenge. There is one near me that is a working farm with animals, orchards, a pool, etc.

There are a number of kids here who are thriving in this environment. It is religious. That is one thing to consider. While I am not that religion I would have sent my kid in a heartbeat. Or at least I hope I would

I agree that he is incorrigible and requires an environment geared to containment.

What lies beneath this acting out might be complex. But first he needs to be contained.

Glad you are here with us. (But of course, sorry you have this on your plate.)
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Well-Known Member
I think that maybe residential treatment may be best then. He is involved in criminal activity and regardless of his diagnosis, which can never be verified for sure, he needs serious behavioral treatment and protection from himself. In the meantime, a residential facility will do it's best to help diagnose and treat whatever is going on. I'm not an expert, but have been in the mental health system since 23 and I know that the treatment that works best for each individual is more important than a diagnosis. This child is complicated and may get ten differing diagnoses and may have more than one thing going on. Right now if the criminal behavior doesn't stop, he is setting himself up for a bad future and he isn't yet 16.

I normally do not like to see a child in residential, but if the child is a danger to himself or others, then I can't see another way. I do think he fits Conduct Disorder which is serious. I hope its not that although I doubt if anyone can say for sure. Anything else along the way is more treatable. I grew up with a serious mood disorder that kicked in badly at 13. I was very depressed and could barely function, but that did not cause criminal behavior. However, the two can co exist.

This may be the safest way to get help for him.

Love and light!
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New Member
Thank you so much for all of your responses. To answer a few questions:

We don't know anything about R's birth father. His birth mother was 13 when she got pregnant and 14 when she had him, so any adult onset psychiatric disorders would not have presented yet. We do have a family medical history for her and there isn't any significant mental health disorders. I make it a practice to always speak positively about my children's birth mothers; I love them for the decisions they made to make an adoption plan for their babies. But saying this as an observation and not with judgment--getting pregnant at 13 seems to indicate that she had some behavioral problems at that age as well. We had contact with her when R was younger but have not heard from her in at least 8 years. I could try to contact her to get more information, but I hesitate to disrupt her life.

To clarify, R has had two neuropsychologist evaluations for academic reasons, and just this month he has had one focused on mental health/projective testing. We will get preliminary results on Monday. I too had thought conduct disorder, but he lacks two of the major hallmarks (setting fires and hurting animals). So we'll see what the neuropsychologist comes up with. We went to the guy with the best reputation in our area.

He hasn't been caught, although I did call the police when I found the gun in his backpack last year (which turned out to be a nonfunctioning BB gun he had bought from a friend). The police officers decided to let us handle discipline and we signed him up to do six weeks of community service. The principal and I have talked a number of times as R's name keeps popping up as someone who is dealing vapes, but he hasn't been caught with anything at school. Last year they took his locker away for the last few weeks of school as teachers noticed that 8th graders were going in and out of his locker. I can't believe he hasn't been picked up riding his bike around town at 2 a.m.

My husband and I are probably 95% on the same page. He is a much nicer person than I am and maybe a little naive--he just wants to see and believe the best in people. Also, R is much nicer to him than he is to me. He's definitely the good cop and I'm the bad cop. If it were up to me, the transport team would show up tomorrow and take R to a therapeutic setting. My husband needs a little more time to work through the recommendations from R's therapist and to hear the preliminary results of the psychiatric evaluation. As an example of his naivete, we obviously need to remove the bikes from our garage. My husband just suggested that he and R ride the bikes over to the friends' house where they will be stored. Why would we want him to know where they are being stored? My husband is a really smart guy with a successful professional career, but sometimes I wonder about him...

We met with the educational consultant yesterday. I got her name from my longtime psychiatrist (for my anxiety), who herself had used the educational consultant's services for her teenaged son with a great outcome. She explained the therapeutic wilderness program as this: 12 boys around R's age, 1 therapist, 4 or 5 trained assistants with EMT training. No access to technology at all. Rolling admission, so the kids who have been there longer provide a mirror to the new ones by calling them out on their distorted thinking. Weekly family sessions via phone. The kids have to face their thoughts and fears, perhaps for the first time, because there are no distractions. Tons of physical activity, sleep and rise with sunset and sunrise, which helps reorder disordered sleep habits. Food intake is monitored, which helps with disordered eating patterns (he is a binge eater). The consultant visits and vets every program and therapist, doesn't work with programs she hasn't worked with previously. Program lasts for 8 to 12 weeks. The therapist really gets to observe the kids and understand how their minds work and what the best future interventions will be. During that time, we start to talk about whether he will be able to come home after the program or whether it would be best to transfer him to a therapeutic boarding school for up to a year. If he comes home, they arrange services such as a parenting coach, a mentor for the teen, maybe an appropriate group therapy or whatever they thing the best intervention will be.

We also had a session with R and his therapist yesterday. I was quiet for most of the session while my husband and the therapist talked with R. I did not see any signs of remorse or any indication that anything will change absent a big move. The therapist is in favor of the therapeutic wilderness program, but he felt that R needed some sort of heads up. But it was kept pretty vague--along the lines of "your parents are going to keep exploring options to help you."

Thank you very much for listening.


Well-Known Member
It would seem that wilderness is the best short term option. This will keep him busy over the summer months, which is great. And depending on how he does in the program, you can then determine whether he needs a therapeutic boarding school.

You can also meet with his IEP team before the end of the year. I would suggest that you do so, actually, given that you and the principal are in touch regarding R's potential involvement in criminal activities at school, though unproven at this time. You can use this information to argue for a more restrictive placement before he gets into real trouble where he is now. A resource room is not anywhere near enough support for him. They gave him an IEP for an emotional disability so they know that this is an area of need. A self contained behavior disorders classroom within the same school building, or even a therapeutic day school, should be on the table if they suspect him of criminal activity in the building, which sounds like is the case based on your recounting of your conversations with the principal. And be careful; if push comes to shove don't expect the principal to be your friend or R's advocate. If he has a reputation as a problem child they may eventually get to a point where they want him out of the building by any means necessary, which can include violating his rights under IDEA.

Keep us posted. You have more resources and support than many and I hope they serve you well.


Well-Known Member
Just my thoughts

Wilderness camps can be abusive. Many have been shut down. There have been deaths. Be very careful. Visit first. Look online for reviews. Check YouTube to see if anyone had a problem. They get money so of course the people who work there make these wilderness camps sound great.

Also, as an observer, I have been on this board for over a decade and read many stories. Not one time...not once...has this wilderness camps worked for the long term. It can help for a few months or it can enrage the kids and make them worse and hateful toward the parents. That is one option I would never use. There are not a lot of regulations...they can pretty much do what they want.

Residential is also hardly perfect. There is no perfect solution, no magic treatment or medication, for criminally inclined kids. Interestingly, I have read in a few psychiatric spots that the propensity to become a criminal is often inherited. As the mom of three adopted kids, this interested me and scared me but I only had one bad experience in that regard. Unfortunately, itiwas bad

We did foster/adopt a child who was a nightmare although he was 11 when he joined us. In front of us he was nice to us and our pets and never touched fire. After we had CPS remove him for molesting my beloved adopted littles, the young ones finally admitted that he abused neighborhood animals and killed our dogs (we had never ever suspected HIM of this horrible crime...he acted like he just loved our pets in front of us) and we also found out that he had stolen a lighter from Walmart while with us and enjoyed setting mini fires to scare our littles. He hid his worst well. The littles were too scared of him to tell us. He convinced them he would set the house on fire and kill us all if they ever tattled on him for anything. He convinced them he was The Devil although we never taught them about a devil. He was a good talker and actor, both parts of his dangerousness.

He was taken to a juvenile prison and diagnosed with Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder, which is like CD. A child who is leaning toward psychopathy. It took two years before he got a diagnosis that made sense. Your son may have attachment or conduct disorder because you don't know the entirety of what he does, as we did not with our child. Also, diagnoses are subjective, up to the interpretation of the professional. There are no blood tests to verify their being right or wrong. The DSM is not perfect and constantly changing. So by it's nature, it is not always correct.

Was your son adopted right away? Did his birth mother take any drugs or drink while pregnant? In utero substance exposure affects our kids very much. Two of my adoptees, including the dangerous one, was drug exposed in utero.

I think you need to watch R. carefully. Too often the mental health system misdignoses and gives wrong treatment to VERY disturbed and dangerous kids because these kids can put on a good face and because nobody wants to believe a child can be a criminal. As parents we sure don't. But our boy was. He didn't function in a family and we were allowed to give up custody. He would ave always been dangerous to the 3 and 5 year old. And to all of us.

I believe he may have set the house on fire and killed more animals. When asked he had no idea why he did any of these things.

This is very hard I know. Please do what you feel is best for ALL of you. Keep your eyes open for surprises with R. Report them.

We suspected nothing and he fooled tons of psychiatrists who loved him and thought he was normal, if a little slow. We think he was brilliant and obviously sicker than we or anyone guessed.

I don't think focusing on school will help you or your son. I think he is very sick and needs intensive help for that first.

He may or may not respond to help....but we have to try.

I am sorry. I get it. I wish I did not.
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Active Member
First, I have to say how impressed I am by what you have done so far to address his issues, and also how much you've investigated the wilderness program. I also want to acknowledge that sometimes, we, as parents, can literally do everything for our children. Everything. Investigate all opportunities and possibilities. And sometimes we can only do our best. And we can't beat ourselves up for it not working out. I say this not because that is what will happen in your situation. But because it's happened in ours. My son is not like yours. He does not have the anti social issues (yet. he's 12). He's a sweet, loving, empathetic boy but profoundly disordered by bipolar disorder. We've done everything we can but in the end, his brain needs to mature and we need to allow him to make decisions (as best he can) about how he will cope. Medication, therapy and a therapeutic school all help but won't be the deciding factor. He will. So, I say this to let you off the hook, basically. There is nature and there is nurture. And even with a kid like mine--who is sweet and loving--we can't alter the river.

Moving on: I'm on a list serv that organizes parents around the predominate presenting problems of their children. For the most part, these kids are bipolar with co-morbid disorders. The oldest child in this group at this point is--I believe--20. None of these children look the same or are treated the same. Some are highly functioning. Some are not. Some have anti social characteristics. Some don't. Some do wilderness programs. Some would not do well in that environment.

This is what I understand about wilderness programs and disordered thinking. There are many wilderness programs that are first and foremost bound up in the natural world and provide very basic things for kids that benefit them: sunup/sundown sleep. Heavy physical activity. An abundance of sunshine. Slowing down of the normal life rhythm. Structure. Gentle sensory input. Time to reflect. Time to understand reflection. In my daily life I know of two families who's kids have benefited from these programs. On the list serve I also know two kids. These programs are not "boot camps" or semi-military. They aren't punitive. They are focused on restoring a very basic rhythm back to the individual but with clear structure and a therapeutic base. I don't know why they work, but they do. Would they work for my child? Yes, likely. We send him to a two week wilderness sleepaway camp every summer and he loves it. But it's not what you're suggesting. What you're suggesting is a re-ordering of sensory and cognitive input for 3 months. It can be quite valuable. And I know one kiddo--who is now an adult--who has chosen to live this way (in a yurt. in Maine. subsistance farming 1/2 the year, tapping maple syrup the other half plus piece work). Is this what we want for our kids? Well, it's not what I envisioned. But it's independence. It's contentment. And maybe it's only temporary.

I would do what has been suggested here: a very careful investigation of this program. There are definitely punitive programs out there that are not what you want.

The other option is a therapeutic school if they will take him (as opposed to residential). But I think he wouldn't go for that. He sounds too mature for that kind of environment.

Again, I'm so impressed by your work so far to help him. This is not easy. We all know that. ((hugs))


Well-Known Member
My son was in two different therapeutic schools. He loved both. He did well. But my son was not acting out. He was well behaved for the most part.

I don't know how you contain him sufficiently to get him to a place where he could do a therapeutic school--without some sort of environmental containment. That is the thing.

A couple days ago when I was reading your posts I thought of Angela Lansbury the actress. I seem to remember that when her kids were teens both got on drugs. She packed them up and moved to Ireland!

It is not that residential is so great. But it cuts him off from his peers. He can't climb out the window. It cramps his style.

But the thing is, eventually these kids prevail. We have done every thing we can think of to pressure/steer/support my son. And the opposite. But eventually they prevail. They choose based upon their brain matter not ours. Like jrc writes: we can't alter the river.

I really like the idea of gentle nature.


New Member
Hi there, I am a new member and have been lurking like you sushi. I have quite a similar situation with my son which began when he was 14. I do feel your pain- it's such a lonely place to be which is why this forum can be such a help.
My son has predominantly inattentive adhd and I wonder if there is not some of that in the mix with your son. Your son does not sound in the least bit dumb to me. He's an enterprising, problem solving tour de force who is taking on the world and kicking its ass!! teens with adhd can be impulse driven, excitement seekers with no regard for rules or regulations or social norms and don't I know it.
My son has not been deterred by several arrests and a list of impending prosecutions let alone any sanction I can come up with, the school gave up and expelled him 2 years ago.
So what to do? Well I am in the UK and we don't really have the options of boarding schools or residentials there are limited mental health resources for children and your pretty much left to get on with it. But I don't know that sending somewhere would be an answer. I mean, what's the root of the problem ? if he has a adhd and CD I doubt it would do the trick although you'd get a break which wouldn't be a bad thing! My son was identified as having a mild/ emerging cd but he is not a nasty or cruel.
Your son does not sound particularly malicious to me just utterly resistant to parenting and possibly has a developmental disorder. In these instances, fighting fire with fire ultimately fails I have found. Being angry and or punitive is a waste of energy as it will not fix their brain! With age my son is starting to mellow. Although I have felt like a failure as a parent for 3 years I have held fast with my unconditional love, my criticism of the behaviour and not him, tried to set a good example myself; I point out the consequences of his actions and choices (over and over again). I have called the police on him; I have searched him, I confiscate things, but I refuse to live in one long acrimonious battle and our relationship is still intact.
I am not sure if any of this is helpful I wish I had the s answers but trying to discover what makes him tick might help you to deal as l with the anger and frustration.
Best of luck sushi,


New Member
Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to me. It has been a busy few days. We removed the bikes from our house on Saturday and locked up the ladder in the garage.

I met with the neuropsychologist yesterday, who I think I mentioned is the biggest and most well respected name around here.

IQ test--solid middle average of broad general thinking
visual spacial reading--low average
visual tracking--below average
Above average comprehension of social rules and norms; aware of what's going on around him.
Weakness in organization/executive function. Doesn't organize by category.
Impaired range for copying geometric shapes
No ADHD or impulsivity problems
Fatigues with lengthy visual demands
Couldn't pick out flipped letters--one of the four hallmarks of dyslexia. He performs in average for the other three hallmarks (phonological processing, memory demand, automatic process)
Can read regular words at a 6th grade level
Can read sight words at a 9th grade level
Reads nonsense words below a 5th grade level
Makes many transposition errors
Low average range for fluency
Low average range for comprehension. He is a labored reader. Decoding is so hard that he struggles with comprehension.
Upper end of average for math

Three tests:
1. Black and white pictures of families. Very inappropriate and immature responses, antisocial, aggressive and provocative responses. Physical violence, kids get in trouble.
2. Inkblot projective testing--what do you see, where do you see it, how do you see it. These conclusions are data driven from the this test--the evaluator plugs in his types of responses and it pulls up a profile of other kids with the same types of responses. Social skills problem. Interested in having relationships with others, but not able to engage in age-appropriate relationships. (Extra frustrating for him because as seen above, he does have above average comprehension of social rules and norms). Social ineptness, immature behavior, bad cycle. No coping strategy for stress. He is neither logical nor emotional in his problem solving. No plan for how to approach problem situations. So he avoids to make the stress go away for the moment.
3. MMPI (standardized test for adolescents). Questions about attitudes and beliefs. Answers indicate underlying strong insecurity and unhappiness about himself. No inner confidence or drive. Vulnerable and sensitive. Easily triggered and set off, primarily with the family. Defiant behavior--pushes back. Big, provocative behaviors in response to pressure. Yet affable, charming, and funny superficially.

1. He is fundamentally insecure with low self-esteem
2. He has social skills difficulty. No ability to apply social skills, so attracted to the fringe who are receptive to his "at risk" behaviors.
3. Coping. No adequate strategy so escapes or defiant.
4. Underlying depressive symptoms (irritability, lack of confidence)

So he did not get a diagnosis of CD, ADHD, or even ODD. The neuropsychologist thinks he needs more therapeutic interventions than he is getting. He thinks a therapeutic wilderness program followed by either a therapeutic boarding school or more intensive therapeutic interventions at home would be appropriate. The success of the interventions will hinge on R's ability to connect with the provider, the provider's training and skill set, and the intensity of attending.

SO--yesterday we decided to move forward with the therapeutic wilderness program. The educational consultant is going to send the names of programs/therapists that match R's needs and have availability. Then we will check them out online, talk to program directors, and call references. Target date is June 1. While he is there, we will need to work on ourselves to be able to parent him more effectively. I wish I had been less confrontational in the past and more able to listen and "mirror" his emotions and let him express himself as a way of coping. I wish my husband wasn't so quick to try to fix uncomfortable situations for him or comfort him with possessions or fun activities. But at the end of the day, I can't change the past, I can only try to put him in a different setting where his psychological needs will be addressed.

Meanwhile, last night I got up around 11 to adjust the thermostat and discovered R with another iphone (no SIM card but he uses neighbor's wifi) and new snapchat and instagram accounts. I can't get in but I don't suppose it matters--I pretty much know he's doing what he was doing previously. I awoke this morning to a nasty note from him calling me a fag (which when I texted his therapist, got autocorrected to "fat," an insult I felt much more keenly); that he and his sister both like my husband more; that I have made both of my kids depressed; and that I should just go die. I just don't see how this situation is tenable as is. He will not change in this same environment. That is very clear to me.

I am grateful that my husband is on the same page as me and that we have the resources to send him. Thanks for listening.


New Member
Hi sushi that's a really useful start knowing more about what us causing this behaviour. The options available there seem amazing you couldn't buy such things here even if you wanted to. Also I might add, my son wouldn't go I am sure. Good luck let us know how it goes....


Well-Known Member
I was told they lash out the most at the ones they are closest too. My son targets me as well. Don't let it get to you. My son has told me many of the same things. It is the illness talking


Well-Known Member
So glad you got a fast assessment from the neuropsychologist. You may wish to get a second opinion on a possible Axis I or Axis II psychiatric diagnosis from a child psychiatrist, if you can find one. They are both rare and extremely busy. But given your son's severe behavioral concerns, if he were mine, I would want a few different opinions if I could manage it.

Your son's lack of social awareness/social skills and immaturity make me suspicious that there may be an autism spectrum tendency hidden within him. You may want to follow up with the neuropsychologist on that. There's an assessment called the ADOS (autism diagnostic observation schedule) which is the gold standard for this diagnosis. It has to be administered over multiple days. If he does have a pinch of autism spectrum in his makeup, he may qualify for additional services and support both now and in the future, when he is an adult.

I am hopeful that your family will find the answers leading to a peaceful and harmonious home life, and that both of your children become their best selves in the process. Please remember though that if your son did inherit "criminal genes" from one or both of his biological parents, then NO AMOUNT of perfect parenting will fix him or make him give up his ways. He may be hard wired to do these things. At this point it is impossible to tell.

It will be so important for you, your husband and his sister to have this perspective. Nobody in your family made him the way he is. And conversely, nobody in your family has the power to change him. If he is compliant with prescribed medications and buys into a therapeutic program, and develops a desire to change, then he can change. My point though is that even at his young age, change comes from within.

I am really happy to see your family taking steps to protect yourselves, especially his sister, from his poor choices. I am also very happy that you are enforcing limits and consequences. So many of us never get there. My family - the one I married into, with my two stepsons- never did and the children's lives are now, if not ruined, certainly much more difficult than may have been the case otherwise. So many kudos to you.

Keep us posted!


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I think the therapeutic boarding school is a great idea. I wish we had done it.

From your description of your son's behavior, it sounds to me like he is using drugs. Do you ever drug test him? I'm at work and was not able to read all the posts so I apologize if I missed that.

You can see by my signature that we have been through a lot with our son also who is now 22. It has been almost 8 years of hell trying to get him on the right path.

Like you, WE were doing all the work. Running circles around each other. Nothing changed. When they are minors it's very difficult - in my opinion anyway.

I WISH I had this site and all this knowledge to tap into back then. It took years to even know what was happening. We kept thinking that it was a phase.

Good luck and keep posting. The support and wisdom here is what got me through thus far.