Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Things have been a bit less chaotic around here. difficult child's medications have gone a long way to take the edge off of him. Things aren't perfect but the level of hostility and beligerence has certainly eased up a bit. Our medications are as good as they are going to get after many combinations. Some symptoms are just here to stay because if we tweak it too much he goes manic. I'm running into a bit of a snag though. difficult child is hard to motivate and depressed. We do our best to have positive reinforcement so that he earns rewards rather than being constantly punished. Punishment is not effective on any level so not even worth discussing. The problem I see is that even when making very easy to earn rewards he fails to do so. He just can't do the right thing to save his life. Okay, no earning reward, no reward gievn seems simple enough. The trouble is that difficult child is so unmotivated and so depressive that he is in a constant state of never earning anything and isolating himself. For instance, he FINALLY had a friend invite him for a sleep over. He NEVER socilaizes outside of school not even over the phone. This invite was miraculous and he really wanted to go. The glitch was he never set up a way for me to talk to his friends parents. It didn't have to be formal I just wanted to make sure they weren't psycho before I let him spend the night. No biggie. He just couldn't do it. He is almost 16 so me doing it for him seems a bit over the top. Maybe he needs nudges but I am not sure if that would make him look even more socially awkward. Then he goes and sabotages himself with his school work, again. Then it comes down to a painful choice for me. I have to follow through on consistant rules and expectations as any parent should. I have to remind him he did not earn the privilige due to lack of planning and bad choices at school. Bad choices including not doing homework and dropping grades down...staying home would seem perfectly reasonable if you forget about the part where difficult child is a depressed kid with no firends. -or- I try to be gentle to his mentally ill side. I do my best to give him positive experiences because he has so little that makes him happy. I avoid my own anguish by easing some of his but it comes at the expense of his behavior toward me. If I cave and treat him kindly when he hasn't earned it, it is without a doubt a free ticket for him to feel entitled, lazy and later on mean again. When I am nice he becomes abusive but I hate to be strict because he isolates even more. Then he truly is alone in the world, locked in his room and sleeping his life away. I'm just feeling very sad by the fact that in order to be a good parent I have to accept and facilitate his unhappiness. Although it is nice to think that if he makes bad choices he should be responsible for that, easy to say that with an average kid. The problem is that with difficult child issues you cannot extract the child and clear thinking from the disorder and the damage it does. difficult child is as much a victim of his chaos as the rest of the family is. The disorder is very ugly but underneath that I still have a child who is suffering and whose choices are absolutely impacted by a disorder he cannot control. Those choices just make his suffering worse. It's a bitter cycle that I don't know how to guide him out of. He just isn't capable of using the tools he needs effectively. He is his own worst enemy and obstacle to success. Watching him like a slow train wreck is heart breaking in ways I cannot find words to describe. I just want him to be okay and find some happiness in life. I'm not sure that is possible unless I plan to churn out a barely functioning and irresponsible adult. Of course that may be the case no matter how hard I try. I just feel lost and feel so deeply sorry for my difficult child who has to live the nightmare first hand. His sadness is so overwhelming for me to witness. Treatment is just a bandaide, there is no cure. Accepting that as he approcahes adulthood scares the heck out of me.