I just got back from visiting him and am a little stunned at some of this so I'm just going to write it in factual statements until I can digest it all. 1) He turns 16 yo this week and it's just another big reminder that he's spent at least 90% of the last two years incarcerated. I don't know if he'll ever be able to function in normal society after that. 2) He now has a jailhouse tattoo on the back of his wrist. Of all things, it's of my name. I hate that for him. The ONLY good thing that can possibly come from that is maybe someday when he's ready to commit another offense, maybe, just maybe, he'll see it and instead of using any anger he has for me as more energy to commit the offense, maybe someday this will remind him of something to stop him. 3) He's already had several charges in there and has another pending right now so chances are he's blown getting out early. At best, they'll knock 1 or 2 months off so he can start next school year with everyone else but other than that, he'll have to do the 15-21 month sentence. Apparently they put a very disruptive kid in to be a room mate with difficult child, thinking difficult child's ability to conform would help settle the other kid. difficult child says they are both getting into trouble for what the roommate does. I don't know if that's it or that the other kid "unsettled" difficult child's conformity. Sigh. 4) I had written difficult child a few weeks ago about concerns I was having about him coming straight home to live this time. He kept saying he was working on a long letter to discuss it thru the mail because it's too difficult for both of us to discuss it face to face at visitation where there's no privacy. He told me today he'd written me a 50+ page letter and had it ready to send as soon as he figures out if they'll make him split it up into smaller "letters". He says he started out trying to explain stuff to me, then started thinking about his own feelings and how all this happened so it ended up ending a lot differently than he had expected. He told me that he wrote about a lot of stuff he'd been sneaking and doing and had lied to me about. He says he wants to work on our relationship. Hopefully, he got something therapeutic out of that and I did encourage him to discuss this with his therapist. I almost think he should discuss the whole thing with therapist before mailing to me, then taking out what he might ultimately want to keep between the two of them. But difficult child says his therapist is the type who either dominates the session with questions and direction or interrupts difficult child when he ttries to talk about what he thinks is important. I have seen this in a LOT of tdocs myself so I do believe difficult child about that. I suggested that the next time he goes in to see therapist, he start right off by telling therapist that he has some things he needs to get off his chest and thinks he should know. Maybe that will help. 5) Here's a shocker- difficult child said his therapist had already told him that he had distorted thinking. (SURPRISE huh?) 6) difficult child told me today that he had realized thru this long letter that he had been very stubborn in the past and wouldn't listen to anyone when they'd try to tell him something. I said that I had known that all along. He said "yes, Mom, but that isn't what was important. What was important was that I admit that to myself and start accepting it." I'll give him a point for that, for sure. I'm going to write him a letter to include in his b-day card. I think I'll barely touch on the subject that it appears he was trying to raise himself the past few years instead of letting me guide him at all. It's so hard to untangle normal typical teen boy stages from true difficult child'ness. It's so hard to know how exactly I can help him get thru this to become a little more mature and responsible, a stage at a time, when I can't even get all that web untangled in my own mind. Oh- he snuck a phone call into an 18 yo girl who I used to think was a good influence on difficult child but later learned she most definitely was/is not. She gave him her address, he wrote her giving her his, but he hasn't heard anything back from her yet- that was about 2 weeks ago. I don't think it was ever a sexual involvement but my guess is that she was the one buying him cigs, giving him rides to places, talking to him on the phone late at night about partying, etc. He says after writing that letter and realizing some things, he really wants to change now so maybe it's better if she doesn't write him back at all. (We'll see how long those thoughts last.) Anyway, I reminded him that in order to have a fresh start, one has to let go of the old and the past and move on to other things, friends, etc., which is one of our big motivators for wanting out of that last jurisdiction we lived in. I don't want to give up on my son but I swear, I just thing his chances are pretty hopeless and I HATE feeling that way.