I am new, so I'll try to explain where we are. My son is the difficult child. He's nearly 15 (September), and has recently been diagnosed with conduct disorder by a therapist. He was also recently diagnosed with ADHD, during a neuropsychologist evaluation in 12/07. I don't question the adhd. We adopted him at 19 months from a teenage relative. She has issues as well, possibly cd herself. Family has had substance abuse problems and mental illness (i'm related, and I know their history). He's never been very good at school. We've had issues for years - constant calls home from school, poor grades, no real education going on. A Few Memories Worst memory: at 6, he ran away on his bike. Took police 2-3 hours to find him, and he tried to get away even then! Found a few miles from home. No other run attempts. Worst from elementary school: stabbed another student in the leg with a pencil. Funniest: brought home (stole) his teacher's key ring the night before we went on vacation. We took it back to the school at 4 AM, in an envlope addressed to his teacher. Before we dropped it in the slot, I saw a jeep in the parking lot. I pressed the button on the ring, and sure enough, it was the jeep. I pressed the lock button to relock it and put the keys in the mail slot. I felt awful. There are too many stories like this to tell. I'm sure most of you have your share. Stealing and Lying Recently: In the past year, 9th grade, he has been caught stealing from store at least twice, maybe 3 times, from a teacher once (diet coke from his fridge), from other students possibly several times (no direct evidence). And from us, at home, several times - mostly money. One item he stole from the store was a lighter, which he sold or gave to two friends. They used it to burn a telephone box (the little ones about 2 feet high). They committed arson, and the school police officer told us that difficult child would normally be prosecuted on accessory to arson, but since he wasn't there during the arson (thank heaven), and no one saw him provide the lighter, the officer dropped the idea of charging him. (Theft and lies to cover have been going on for years. Probably since about 6. Some we catch, some we don't. Very problematic when my difficult child comes home with a valuable object and says "he gave it to me." I get upset, call the friend...and he DID give it to him. Other times, no back up, no receipt, so we assume it's stolen.) Nutty Pills For my wife, another problem was her last straw: The school said he was selling nutmeg pills as halucinogens at school. For a quarter each. He took some regular supplements, opened the capsules, threw away the contents, and filled them with nutmeg from the spice rack. Then he relabeled the bottle "nutty pills" and sold them. About 35 of them. The school police officer said he called the situation in to see what he could charge difficult child with. Since we wasn't alleging drugs, but legal substances, there was no charge. The officer said he could only charge him with selling without a business license...(not a great situation for humor, but he was half serious). The intention appears to be drug dealing. Serious, right? Can I expect that is where he is going? School Performance This semester of school, he ended with about 4 D's and a B (in his Special Education class/IEP in place as of Feb 08), and a C, I think. I spent the last 2 days of school helping him finish a few assignments to get UP TO a D. Halleluia, he got a D+ in Math. (I went to the school for an hour on Thusday, and half day on last Friday to get this done.) He was in ISS: In School Suspension. As a favor to us, the school let him come to ISS the last week to finish up his classes - his behavior would have kept him home all week otherwise. Other than the last week - not counting that week - he spent 2-3 weeks in ISS this semester, and 2-3 last semester. ISS is like an in-school holding cell, but it looks like a classroom. You get to read, surf, or do classwork if you are disciplined, and, of course, associate with other ISS kids. Negative reinforcement. Boarding School? Which brings us to or close to today. My wife is fed up and overstressed. She wants to send him to a therapeutic boarding school (TBS, emotional growth type school). We toured one where we could come in for weekly therapy with him, have had a few conversations with another. She wants to reset his direction before he actually gets arrested and sent to detention. And won't allow drugs/prescriptions, plus the idea that he might have sold them (the school officer said the same). I am in a quandary. I see his direction. I am worried about him and his choices. The lack of motivation at school worries me, too - he doesn't do hardly anything for school. He failed some classes last fall - math and science. But I am concerned that sending him to a TBS would wreck his attachment to us and his sisters. The cost is astronomical, but I can see that we could arrange a way to do it. I am thinking of hiring an educational consultant (Easy Child). I was leaning toward a summer program, but have reconsidered. One summer program said that 45% go on to a longer term program, and this is fairly typical from what I have read. (I read the Lon Woodbury 10 mistakes article - thanks for posting it.) I can only expect that eventually this behavior pattern will return, though he seems to be okay at the moment. We are in counseling once a week. I suspect I'll be disowned if we go with the boarding school. Any ideas? Am I wrong to consider the boarding school?