I rarely post about difficult child any more because frankly the past few years he's been more like a more difficult than average but still managable child. But things seem to be heating up again so I thought I'd post and get your input. I came here when he started first grade because he was in a rapid downward slide due to school anxiety, and made worse by reactions to the two medications we tried. Every issue he ever had reached sky high levels and it was a long road back to baseline behaviors. The good news is that that same boy who could hardly walk through the doors of first grade made a seamless transition to 5th grade this year. No signs of anxiety, no fear, no sensory overload--it's hard even for me to see that this functioning kid is the same out of control boy we couldn't coax from under the bed. On that plane, we have much to be thankful for. He's developed coping skills which I hope will carry over to future transitions. difficult child is now 11 1/2. diagnosis is Autistic traits leaning in the direction of Asperger's with all that goes with it (rigid thinking, sensory, executive function issues) He's made such good progress in all areas that school staff report he's no longer distinguishable from his classmates. He's a good student and has two good buddies. On the homefront it takes more to manage him than my easy child's but some extra planning and flexibility we can function pretty much normally. No medications. Around springtime I started seeing an increase in issues, all seeming to stem from the rigid, egocentric thinking style that goes along with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s. Here are some of the things we're seeing-- 1) Increased irritability--he's being set off far more easily than we've seen 2) Tears when frustrated at me--he seriously hasn't cried as an emotional response for many years now so it caught me way off guard when I first saw it 3) Increased anger--difficult child's mantra is "It's not my fault!" When someone in the house has wronged him in his eyes he starts with this comment and gets stuck there. It doesn't matter what the situation is--it's not his fault. 4) Heightened anger responses, including aggressive talk and actions, destruction. This morning he asked to play his Nintendo DS and I gave the okay. A few minutes later he changed his mind and wanted to play Wii instead but I'd already given his sister permission. He was mad, launched into this It's not my fault mode and quit functioning--hid from me, started looking for a way to take revenge on his sister (wound up throwing her karaoke machine to the floor), charged at her physically, came out to the kitchen while we were eating to make noise to irritate us, followed up by being angry at the rest of the family for leaving for church without him. Do you think this could be the start of teenage stuff? The pediatrician did say at his spring physical that he's started maturing. His "it's not my fault response" seems a lot like the "it's not fair" mentality a lot of teenagers have. He gets stuck and often doesn't get off it until he's had a night's sleep. The other thing is that my usual methods of dealing with him seem suddenly not to be working. For starters, he's smarter and things like distractions that helped him get over a hurdle no longer work. He literally told me a few weeks ago that such and such wouldn't distract him out of his mood. Another example is that I've always bought a few books to have laying around to help him through those rough first weeks of school--it's been a good, quiet help for him. This year he hid them because "You should ask my permission before ordering books." I need to go back and reread TEC again to see if I need to revise some of my actions, but I'm feeling like he's reached an age when there needs to start being a shift from mom managing his tough spots to difficult child being involved in managing his rough spots. He's never responded well to punishment but he's upping the stakes by doing things I can't ignore, like last week trashing his brother's room. Virtually all of his progress has been made through giving him time to mature, prevention, and incentives to get over hard hurdles. How do I address the need to be responsible for his actions when consequences have typically made him worse? Thoughts? Suggestions? Experiences from those who have been there, done that? Thanks for any help with this--I feel like I'm standing at a crossroads wondering where to go and what to do.