Hi! You may remember me from my posts in May about our problems with our son R. To recap, R is 13 (will be 14 this week). For more than a year, he was dealing vapes, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night to hang out with friends and deliver his product, stealing from us, trying drugs and alcohol, refusing to let us monitor his social media, sneaking numerous electronic devices into the house, and using his snapchat and instagram accounts to deal vapes. Nothing we tried worked to curtail his behavior...not therapy, cameras in the basement, taking the door off his room, talking kindly, getting angry, consequences, etc. He did not recognize that as parents we had authority over him. In addition, he was bombing school, partially due to dyslexia and partially due to lack of effort. And he was very unpleasant to deal with. With the help of an educational consultant, we picked a therapeutic wilderness program and had him transported there. We wrote and received letters from his weekly and talked to his therapist once a week as well. We also visited him in July and did a lot of reading assignments about the best way to set boundaries, reflective listening, etc. The program staff was incredible. The program itself must have been a big adjustment for him--no electricity, no running water, sleeping outside under a tarp, hiking five days a week, with 24/7 supervision and therapeutic interventions. R has made a lot of progress over the past almost 12 weeks. He has developed much better communication skills, learned how to check in on his own emotions, developed some insight (although limited), and taken a bit of responsibility for his actions. His therapist says he is very immature and that his communication with us is very different than his communication with others--in other words, he is much better able to deal with others than us. On his therapist's and our educational consultant's advice, we have decided to send him to a therapeutic boarding school (TBS) for at least the next year. The hope is that the school will be able to meet his academic, behavioral, and emotional needs. He will be well monitored in a structured setting, with weekly individual and group therapy. The school does not allow use of social media. If he breaks school rules, he will have consequences. We will have unlimited contact with him. Will probably visit him at least once before bringing him to a family celebration over Thanksgiving. At first he was unwilling to consider the TBS and was insisting on coming home. In fact, we got 4 weeks of letters in a row insisting on coming home. After looking at information about the school and having a phone interview with the admissions director, he agreed and now I think he is excited about going--or at least about getting out of wilderness, sleeping in a bed, and using a toilet! He will be brought to me today and then he and I are flying tomorrow to the closest city to the school. My husband is meeting us there tomorrow and we will bring him to the school the next day. I am hoping everything goes well and that he does not challenge our boundaries while out of a structured environment. I will say this: therapeutic wilderness is very expensive and therapeutic boarding is beyond very expensive. We have hired and Special Education attorney and had additional neuropsychologist testing done to try to make the case for the school district to pay for some of the placement. I don't know yet whether they will do so. We are so very fortunate that we are able to pay for this. My hope is that R will thrive at the new school, follow the rules, earn himself up through their levels of privileges, continue to learn how to communicate with us, develop more insight and maturity, and be able to leave the TBS in a year to either start our public high school, a private day school in our area, or a regular boarding school. I'm sure there will be boundary testing and setbacks. My hope is that my husband and I will be able to face them without falling back into our own bad habits (for me, yelling and not listening, for my husband, attempting to rescue R from unhappy emotions). I'm following you all. Best wishes!