I was hoping to do a little communication project in family therapy with difficult child 3, but it didn't work out over the thanksgiving holidays... so I did it on my visit (first visit in 3 1/2 months) with him. it turned out really well and we all had fun doing this (difficult child 1 helped too). I tried to think of how i could let difficult child 3 know how frustrating it is to always have your efforts to get things rolling smoothly destroyed before you can even get them half accomplished... and I came up with this ... I bought a set of infant building blocks, and wrote on them all the things that it took to build a "happy home/family". then with him playing the mom role and me playing "life" (difficult child 1 played murpheys law) I systematically crashed what he had built. "ooops - the car broke down- that knocks out the bills, schedule, and special gifts; ooops- kid acted up at school- meeting with the school staff replaces money making project; etc." after 30 minutes- I told him I was not getting rid of him but had to freeze the source of disruption until i could get something accomplished and locked in place - difficult child 3 got the idea that every uncooperative act creates a whole chain of events to be shuffled around, and that some things have to be put on hold. just wanted to share this with everyone.