is causing him to lose friends. difficult child 2 and friend were outside on our porch at night having fun. difficult child started to tell friend who he knows is scared of ghosts etc seriously from boy scout camping trips in past that he had seen a homeless mentally ill woman on our road (true) and that she was in the bushes (not true). Of course friend got scared and came in, it was time for him to go home so difficult child came with me to drive him home. For about the first five or ten minutes of the drive difficult child kept talking about the woman how she was going to come after them, seemingly enjoying friend's increasing discomfort. Friend told him to stop, I told him I didn't like it for a variety of reasons, but he wouldn't stop. Finally I managed to divert the conversation. later I asked difficult child did he like to have friends, pointed out that this was the only kid who would come to our house, and that he was seriously upsetting his friend. difficult child reacted with something like oh he wasn't scared. Maybe I got through, probably not. I want to discuss it with him again tomorrow but in a way that doesn't cause him to become immediately defensive. We have two competing hypotheses for this kind of behavior which we have seen ( a lot of annoying behavior that he won't stop when asked that alienates his friends). One is that he enjoys irritating/teasing his friends, school says only escalating punishment will stop it (no comment, lol). Another is that he gets so wrapped up in thinking its funny or in getting a reaction or in getting what he wants that he is simply isn't processing the social cues. He mostly gets wound up with other kids I think. I don't really see him as a mean kid but superficially the behavior sure looks like it. I'm trying to think of a way to get through the defensiveness and help him put himself in the other person's place, --he's not a great abstract thinker and I am not sure that he is very empathetic. He is very protective of his dogs though and sometimes of kids that other kids are trying to take advantage of. How would you have a conversation with him? Barring that other than redirection can you think of any way to stop the behavior when I see it? Problem is I'm not at school or around a lot of the time.