New to the forum, new to this life....


Psycho Gorilla Dad
difficult child 1 surprised us last year with an "out of the blue" confession that he'd been using pot, cigs, and booze for several years (since late 7th grade). We really didn't know, but should have seen it coming when he started losing interest in everything (gymnastics, his guitar, tinkering with electronics, etc...).

Lots of ups and downs in the following year, but some progress made. Moved him to an alternative school where he's doing well. He's also in a 1/2 day graphics arts program and learning that being a stoner doesn't mean he doesn't have talent in other areas.

Last week, he nearly died from an asthma attack. He's now on Chantrix and "says" he's been smoke free for over a week with no desire to start again. Given his track record on truth and trust, though, I don't know how much to believe.

Biggest problem right now is that he refuses to acknowledge any parental authority. Stays out late, won't answer his phone, refusees to come in by curfew, and is generally inclined to use his middle finger whenever we try to get him to comply.

It's really hard for us because this is so new. At this late date, he's less than a year away from his majority, and has already run away several times to prove how little control we actually have over him. We've tried giving in on most things that are unimportant, hoping he'd give back a little on the big things.

Nope, not going to happen. He still treats the family like a buffet, taking what he wants, leaving behind the things he doesn't, and wasting most of what he DOES take after one or two bites.

We love him to death, but we're at the end of our rope. Can't push him too hard, because we don't want to drive him out of the house (at his age, he might not come back). At the same time, we can't go on letting him live like a squatter with free room, board, and maid service. Me and my wife deal with it via Rx: anti-anxiety medications for me, Prozac for her. AT least it keeps our bodies from overreacting and letting us deal with the situation a bit more rationally.

I know this probably isn't news to most of the folks here, but it feels good to at least get it out in words. At some point soon, this will have to be dealt with because the drama surrounding him and his poor choices is stealing the life from the rest of my children and my wife.

Got some good book suggestions from this site, will start reading tonight. Ciao, and hello to all my fellow sufferers.



New Member
Hi Mikey:

Welcome to our world! You will get alot of support here. :warrior:
It sounds like your son is exhibiting alot of the same behaviors that many of us have and are facing with our difficult child's. Although there is no magic bullet, we do understand.
17 is the age where they are legally able to do as they wish pretty much, and your options to force him to comply are limited.
It's hard when you can't discipline them in the "normal" way. These kids don't respond to parental authority and discipline in the "normal" way either.
Will he be graduating from high school this year or next year?
What are his friends like?
What interventions have been tried?

It may help to read the articles on this site regarding "detachment".



New Member
Hello and welcome. Your story is not unlike many of ours here, yours just happens to be at the beginning stage. The staying out all night, being disrespectful, most of us have been there done that. Some of us have figured out ways to gain control and others are still working on it. I think it all depends on your tolerance level. My difficult child is a 20 year old recovering heroin addict who started pretty much the same way as yours did. He never stayed out all night and was never really disrespectful to us, so we were pretty much blindsided by his addiction, but we did know he was smoking pot and just always hoped and believed that was as far as it would go. You mentioned the alternative school. We sent ours to one also, which in one way was a complete blessing because he never would have graduated highschool otherwise, but it also put him into the mix of kids who were what I guess you would say "just like him", adhd, learning disabilites, low self esteem, pot smoking, which eventually led to other things, because there really wasn't any other type of kid there to get involved with, so you couldn't really choose the type of people you were going to hang with.
We discovered his heroin addiction 3 weeks before graduation and it's been a long, but right now, successful road.
You and your wife should get yourselves to a parent alanon meeting. It will make you much stronger people while dealing with this. Everyone in the room has been where you are now at some point and there is so much you can do for yourselves, that in return will help him.

I have to run off to work, but will check in later and I'm sure many others will respond soon.


Well-Known Member
Welcome Mickey. I'm glad you found us, sorry you had to become a member of "my child uses drugs and tries to make our lives miserable" club. Hopefully the asthma scare is enough to change your son's pot use, but be prepared, he may move on to other recreational drugs to make up the difference. I look forward to gettting to know you.


Warrior Parent
Just wanted to say hello and Welcome. Sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. Indeed, it is a blessing to come here and see we are not alone.



Psycho Gorilla Dad
Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone. Part of the problem is that we've had to move several times in the last 10 years (usually at critical points in my boy's lives), so it's hard to get connected and find someone to talk to. As you'll all find (or suffer through), I like to talk, and it's my way of working things out. It seems here that I've found a group who's been there done that and understands what I'm saying - hard to find here in the "perfect" little rich, snobby county I moved to because of my job.

Top 10 richest counties in the US (not us, though), full of PP's who have no idea what their kids are <u>really</u> doing, and don't really want to know. Most folks around here have enough money to treat their kids in a "here's lots of cash, don't ask, don't tell" kinda way, and they only get involved when the police are called (usually to buy them off). If it's a medical emergency, well, there's always LOTS of private, discrete "facilities" where their perfect kids can dry out, come home, and find sneakier ways to go right back into the life they left.

As you can imagine, they don't want to talk to someone like us whose kids aren't perfect, and who's trying to make an actual difference. Kinda lonely, here.

Anyway, had difficult child 1 evaluated last year by an adolescent clinial psychiatric: no depression, no BiPolar (BP), no autisim/aspie, high self-esteem and personal confidence. Nothing out of the ordinary, just ADD, substance abuse, and what the doctor called a "rebellion reflex" that was as strong and uncontrollable as the actions of a Touret's Syndrome patient.

The worst part for us is that our easy child is still in there, and sometimes comes out for a visit. But when his rebellion reflex gets triggered, he might as well be on crack, and becomes a completely different person. Even when he was a kid, he was prone to fits of rage and outbursts (never violent, though, not even now). We found that the best way to handle it (then) was to put him in his room, let him alone, and a half hour later our easy child had returned and the demon had fled back to wherever it resided, waiting for the next chance to possess our easy child and turn him into a difficult child. We still have to do that now, only it takes longer, is scarier because he has a car, and sometimes means he's gone for a while (like days).

Only thing we've learned so far is to try and stay far away from his rebellion triggers. That meant giving in on a lot of things we were't comfortable with, but was the lesser evil of having him become possessed again by his rebellion reflex. Worked for a while, but now he's grown accustomed to what we've given, and wants the last little bit of what we held back as well, i.e. our rights as parents to exercise some control over his actions. Now, he uses that as an almost daily excuse to trigger his own reflex, and then uses his reflex as an excuse to do anything he wants.

Not sure how much we should fight back at this point. Wrestling with the question of "is it better to give in some more, keep him in the home, and hope he continues to mature", or "stand our ground, make him show some respect and concern for the rest of the family, and risk having him bolt for the door (permanently) before he's able to take care of himself". Seems like the right answer to that question changes on a day to day basis, and that's the way we take it right now (along with a handful of medications, that is). Just makes it hard on the other two kids and my wife when 90% of our energy goes into the Aaron drama every night.

Anyway, thanks again for the welcome.



Psycho Gorilla Dad
TYLERFAN: He's 17, but has another year of school to go. Technically, he could graduate mid-term from the alternative school, but wants to go back to his original school for final semester. Why? to "hang out and graduate with his (stoner) friends". That's a bad place for him, but I can't seem to talk him out of it, and he'll be 18 by then. He's pretty smart when he wants to be, and could start junior college in the spring. But that's not his plan (he doesn't even have a plan).

He's really smart, but instead of using his brain he chooses to fully embrace the 'stoner' persona, even though it isn't who he truly is. We've only tried one intervention (two days ago, with his therapist), and it ended up with him bailing out of the session when the topic of what we (the "rents") were doing wrong and moved to what "his" issues were. The goal of the session was to try and find common ground where we could both get some or most of what we want. Didn't work for him, he reflexed, and our easy child morphed back into his difficult child persona. Session over.

He had friends - "good" ones, but they slowly faded away and have been replaced by a group of stoners who are simply biding their time in school (when they actually go) until they graduate. What they hope to do afterwards is anyones guess, but that's their plan, such as it is. Maybe I'm a deluded parent, but I really don't think my difficult child is a natural part of that crowd, but has sought them out and fights like heck to stay there for some reason. Wish I knew what it was. Funny, since when he's in easy child mode, he looks down on all the people he hangs with, and sometimes shows regret for some of the good things he's let go of in his life.

His only "normal" friend is his girlfriend; textbook easy child - straight A's, all AP classes, no drugs/booze/partying (other than lots of sex with difficult child 1), plans to go to MIT as a Chem Engineer. Not sure what she sees in him, but glad she's around because she's the only positive member of his crew, even if she is a "co-dependant enabler" (or so says his therapist).

He tried to break up with her a few weeks ago, and told me that "it wouldn't work; he's just a stoner loser, and she's a straight-A easy child". Two days later, he was staring death in the face from a severe asthma attack, and all he wanted was her. He's since said that the "other" girls are either pretty and brainless (lots of those, since parents start grooming their daughters as trophy brides from an early age here), or they're "party girls" with worse drug problems than his own. Is going to try to get back with his ex, which is probably a good thing.

There's a book I'm reading right now, "Before it's too late", and there's a chapter on symptoms called "There's only one way - my way". Right now, that's where we're at. I did have a teacher tell me something, though, that seems to make sense. Pot may be the "lesser" drug when it comes to physical damage, but it retards the emotional growth of the person using it. During a particularly bad time last year, the teacher told us we were dealing with someone who was 17, nearly into his legal majority, but was a mental 13yo. How true, but it sure limits what we can do. Push too hard, and when he's 18 (physcially) he'll move out on his own. As an emotional 13yo, that's a recipe for disaster.

Guess that's our cross to bear. Serenity prayer, here I come..



New Member
You have done what we all have. Giving them what they want in hopes they stop aggrivating you and get better, but you now realize like most of us, that it only made things worse and he has learned to manipulate you. This is where the detatchment comes in and learning how to react to situations differently. It takes a ton of practice, but many of here are proof that it works. Go back to camom's posts and read how her story started with her son and where she is at now. She has come a long long way and it is just starting to show in the progress her son seems to be ready to start making.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
KFld I hear you on the alternative school thing. Lots of folks tried to talk us out of it. But at the time, difficult child was truant, disrespectul of teachers, never worked in class (when he was awake), and made himself into the favorite disciplinary target of the school administration. It couldn't have gotten much worse.

However, he's capabable of so much more. His Algebra II teacher told me a story early last year that really changed my perspective. She was demonstrating some new algebra problem that had 12 or more steps to follow for the solution. difficult child, as usual, was asleep (and stoned) in the back of the class. About halfway through explaining this new problem, difficult child wakes up, raises his hand, and says "Ms. XXXX, if you would just do this....." and proceded to explain how the problem could be solved in three steps instead of 12. He then went back to sleep.

His teacher said her jaw literally dropped, because it would take a college-level understanding of Algebra to make that kind of intuitive leap on a completely new subject. Her suggestion was that difficult child was capable of high academic achievement, but wasn't able to learn in "traditional" environments. So she suggested this alternative school.

Yes, it's filled with "at-risk" kids, but the structure is more one-on-one, and the schoolwork is the same. And so far, he's gone from a 1.2 GPA to a 3.8 GPA on the same material. And now he's actually talking about graduating, and I'm glad he finally has one positive goal in his life he's willing to work for. No plan for afterwards, but it's a step forward, and I'll take it.

And his new teachers use words like "respectful", "works hard", "plays well with others", and "shows leadership to other students". wife and I are thinking "wait, are you sure you're talking about OUR son?" Haven't heard those kinds of comments about him for many a year.

I guess most of the other kids there are there for other reasons (discipline, low achievement, etc..), but what they need is what difficult child needs as well. And I can't think that the kids he's around now are any worse than the crew he was hanging with at his old school.

Same teacher told me that difficult child was on a "roller coaster", and that the goal wasn't to elimante the down drops, but to try and balance them with the "ups", and eventually to have more "ups" than "downs". It's only been a year, and we're still on the verge of tears every other night, but we haven't given up yet.

Small steps seems to be all we can manage. So far, school is better, and that's a start. We're still working on the family part. But every once in a while, difficult child morphs back into a easy child for a short time, so we know he's still in there somewhere. And we keep trying, one day at a time. It's just nice to have a place to go and talk now.



Psycho Gorilla Dad
Hi katmom Yep, we thought of that, and so far he's come home a couple of nights with beer on his breath. Told him that if he drinks and drives, he will lose his car, maybe his freedom, possibly his life. Started a fight about us interfering in his life to discover his "new high". Ugh.

Luckily, he is still seeing our primary doctor for drug screenings, and he doesn't know when they're happening until the day before. I worry that one day he'll go completely off the deep end and won't care what we find out. But I'm not borrowing trouble. We're hoping that he has enough sanity left in the part of his brain where my beloved easy child is hiding to stay away from the "hard stuff". If not, then the game changes, and not for the better - for anyone.

But... we've seen more positive progress in his life over the last 4 months than we have in the last three years (even if it is everywhere else except at home with us). I can only hope that he's making some good changes in his life because he wants to, and extend that hope to his choices about his substance abuse habits. I guess we'll see.



New Member
many people tried to discourage us again sending our son to the alt. ed. highschool also, but he was hanging around all the same type of kids anyway, so in the end it didn't really make a difference. Most of his close friends went there first and he just followed. I know in my heart he still would have gotten into the drugs in the regular highschool because of who he hung with, and he would have never graduated. Atleast I only ended up dealing with one of the two. Grade wise he did great there and his teachers absoluteley loved him. He actually graduated half year ahead of time because he had extra credits, but he also graduated a full blown heroin addict.

Your easy child son is still in there, it may just take some time for him to come back out. We discovered our sons heroin addiction in June of 05 and immediatley got involved in the alanon parent group. By August he was stealing from us left and right and once I discovered he was stealing my checks and forging them and pawned half of our belonings, we had to ask him to leave our home which totally ripped my heart out. He had been arrested twice for posession of narcotics and with the help of a great attorney he was mandated to a state rehab for 45 days and after that we would not allow him to come back home and gave him the option of moving into a soberhouse. He didn't stay at the first one long enough and relapsed, put himself back into the state rehab this past September and is now living back in a soberhouse and will be 6 months clean next Thursday and 20 years old on Tuesday. This is something we never thought we would see happen, him being clean and sometimes even living until another birthday. He is working full time, paying his own rent, all his bills and is happy, healthy and a joy to be around again. He has a sponsor and goes to meetings as required by his house. Just like him, my husband and I take it one day at a time, but for today we are really really proud of him and how far he has come. This is a kid I did everything for and never thought he'd be able to tie his own shoes without me :), now he even buys his own :smile: Only scarey thing right now is that his girlfriend had a baby 5 months ago and we are waiting on the results of a paternity test. Awful, unhealthy relationship, but he and us will have to deal with whatever the answer may be and take it from there. If the baby is his, he will have to learn to support her just as he has learned to support himself.

Keep your eyes open and follow your heart. Learn how to not enable and become strong against his manipulations. I was such an enabling person and my son used to be the master of manipulation when it came to me, but through much practice I have learned how to not enable and to detatch with love, and most importantly he has learned how to be an independant responsible adult. He was only 18 when he had to leave our home and he probably will never live home again because it would not be healthy for anyone involved. I feel he would be moving backwards to ever come live back home.

Hope this isn't too long and boring, I just wanted you to know there is always hope. That is one important thing I always hung onto was to never ever give up hope.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
re: ...Learn how to not enable and become strong against his manipulations. I was such an enabling person and my son used to be the master of manipulation when it came to me, but through much practice I have learned how to not enable and to detatch with love...

Hard to do. How do you do it? And I had to grin at your comment about not thinking he would ever tie his own shoes. That's us, both me and wife. We were the same way with our difficult child (all our kids, in fact), doing everything for them. The only difference is that <u>suddenly</u> ended for them when wife had to take a job. Suddenly, we moved; suddenly, Mom wasn't there every minute helping out and guiding; suddenly, all your friends are gone, and new culture is foreign and you don't fit in.

Okay, time to get off the guilt train....

We've pulled back on some things, given in on others, but from where I sit the landscape looks like this: we've peeled away all the layers of the relationship between difficult child and ourselves, and have left only the bare essentials in place. I had hoped to start rebuilding on top of what was left. Truth be told, most of what was pulled away was probably false, anyway. But what's left, small as it may be, is what I most value.

And he knows that. And he knows just what string to tug, and how hard to tug, to get exactly what he wants. wife and I were just talking about the fact this week (spring break), he's probably going to stay away as much as he possibly can. We don't think he's doing anything harmful, since he's less than a week away from dying in the ER. But we don't know for certain.

Detachment with love would be nice. difficult child knows that he doesn't have to actually "do" anything to get to us. The sheer fact that he won't tell us whether he's doing anything harmful is enough to hurt us; he doesn't actually have to do anything to pull that heartstring.

Someone told me to research detachment on this site. Can you (or someone) help out and point me in the right direction?

Thanks a bunch,


New Member
There is information on detchment, a link I think, hey that rhymes, but I'm not sure where. Someone else will lead you to it I'm sure.

You asked how you do it? With lots of difficulty and time, beleive me. I was a huge enabler who had to step back and really see the harm it was causing. I was giving my difficult child money left and right for everything he said he needed and all he was doing was buying more drugs that were going to kill him. I went to alanon every single week for almost a year and that is what gave me the strength. Even if you can't get to a meeting, somehow find the book, one day at a time in alanon. I read that every single day for a year also. Probably much longer then a year, but that book, my meetings and this site were my savior.

Learn the serenity prayer and really really think about how it pertains to your relationship with your son.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference, Amen!

I repeated that over and over in my head many a sleepless night and really thought about each word and what it meant. I learned to let go and let god take over. I am not a hugely religious person, I haven't been to church in years, but believe me, I couldn't have gotten through this last almost 2 years without putting my son in gods hands and sitting back and allowing him to take over.

I just had another prayer answered today as a matter of fact. I just got the word that the baby my son thought could be his is not, and that is a great thing. He can now continue to move forward in his life as he has been and take care of himself.


Well-Known Member
Welcome. My post won't be long today or full of too much advice,
I promise BUT it sounds like you all are focusing on his strength
areas in order to fade out the substance abuse behaviors. Most
of us have done that but the bottom line is that your son is NOT
the bright kid he used to be. Many of us have certifably gifted
kids who have been outstanding achievers in sports, music etc.

The first step is to force yourself to "see" the person who now
lives in your sons skin. The two hardest lessons we learned from
rehab experts were (1) the emotional development stops when the
pot starts and (2) you will never regain your original child
again...he's gone!

None of us want to truly believe those two things. It is far
too painful. Sadly, they are true and parents have to fall back
and regroup and hope that their child will somehow end up being
someone they are comfortable loving.

I'm glad you found us but sincerely sorry you had to. DDD


New Member
Hi Mikey, Wanted to welcome you to this awesome site, You will find that many here have dealt with a difficult teen. You can get some great advice here. My difficult child would be the reason as to why I found this site. I can tell you that I have yet to ever find another site that would even compare to this one. The members here are very supportive and do not hesitate to share their thoughts and encouragement and advice based on what they have already been through and more. I discovered that my difficult child was smoking pot and drinking back in 2005, She too lost interest in everything that she typically enjoyed and just blew off any rules that I had in place, Coming home at her convenience and failing in school. She never did have the opportunity to steal things because I pretty much had the valubles locked up. In my case I also had a curfew time set for her but when she started blowing it off I informed her that if she was not home at the curfew time that I would be calling the police and report her as missing. She complied at first but shortley thereafter I was calling the police and making missing reports. Part of the reason why I started calling the police was to get a papertrail started by the local police to use later if needed. I to found out that I needed to request that they make a written report to be filed. I also started drug testing her on a random basis with the understanding that she would face consequences if she should test positive. and told her that if I ever found drugs of any type in our home that I would be calling the police and reporting her. Recently I discovered that she valued trolling the streets with her friends and lost a great job because of it and also found out that she has opted to not go to school. She turned 18 in Dec so legally there is nothing that I can do about it. She knows the rules, Continue her education, No drug or alcohol use, Be home at a certain time to remain in my home. On March 6th she decided that she did not have to go to school so I told her to find another place to live. As far as I know she is living on the streets and word has it she is now doing Meth. Yes I am devastated that she has chosen to make bad choices and she has been given the opportunity to get treatment in order for her to become a drug free productive citizen but she opted not to go that route. She has never exibited violence or disrespect in the home like your difficult child using his finger although she was very good at just blowing me off when expected to do simple tasks around the home. As far as detaching? Its really hard but I believe I have it mastered to the point that I am not allowing the wicked thoughts of her safety and well being consume my every minute thoughts. I figure if it were the other way around I would be a basket case and in no way be level headed enough to care for her brother that is severely disabled and requires hands on for his every need. I guess I am just waiting for her to crash or get arrested with the hopes that it would be a huge wake-up call for her to get the desperately needed help she needs. This tough love thing is very hard to pull off but I know that I cannot allow myself to enable her in any way and have concluded that I am in no way responsible for her bad choices. I am glad that you have found this site and even more glad that you have seen improvement with your difficult child along with him surviving the episode in the ER. Hopefully that was truly a wake up call for him to choose another road (A positive one).


Psycho Gorilla Dad
Hi Mom_in_training.

"middle finger" was a euphemism for him flagrantly disobeying us. In truth, he's never flipped us off and the worst thing he's ever said is that we were "stupid".

That said, I guess I still have a lot to learn, because I'm not at the tough-love point yet. wife and I were talking that our difficult child still lets us get glimpses of the easy child we love, but we're starting to understand that it's his way of keeping us hooked.

I guess I haven't been hurt enough yet to finally draw the line like you did. Some things in life you don't get a "do-over" on, and right now if my son hit the streets he'd be in jail or dead inside of a year. I know that he may end up gone anyway, but at the moment he still wants to graduate from HS, and recognizes that he needs us to make that happen. So, even though I complain, I guess there's still enough in the tank to keep him around in the hopes that he'll mature somewhat before he breaks camp and leaves the house forever.

I know I'm staring 18 months of h-e-l-l in the face, but I can't bring myself to kick open the door for him. Right now, his therapist says that's what he's looking for: an excuse to leave, but to be the victim instead of the agressor. Laying down the law like that, when he's reflexing in his difficult child mode, is giving him exactly the reason he needs to hit the street without guilt. I'm certain he wouldn't survive if that happened, especially if he left in a pique of difficult child defiance.

Maybe I'm stupid, but I can't let that happen. Not yet, not while his therapist thinks there's some hope of bringing him back to some kind of decent level. And he has made progress in other places (school, holding down a job, keeping up with his car note/insurance/phone payments, etc). My frustration is that while he seems to be doing the things he needs to do for some kind of success on his own, he's doing nothing to build or preserve any relationship with us.

So, if I have to pick, I guess I'll trust his therapist for now and put up with the pain, eat more Xanax and Clonopin, and hope that he at least learns enough before he leaves to stay alive and out of jail.

Am I deluded? Probably, But like my difficult child, I may have to learn some things on my own. And I'm still hopeful as well.

Thanks very much for your post, and I look forward to your reply.



Active Member
Hi and welcome. I can't read all the posts today as I am so pressed for time. I did read your reply about the coach etc to CaMom. Boy do I wish that were true for most of us! That would be the easy child person not the difficult child's I have.

Most of us have probably tried that way only to be bushwacked by our difficult child's.

Pot usage is fine for many people, however, many people with BiPolar (BP), ADHD etc self medicate...this is true. They also feel that this drug helps them. They'll fight to the end of the earth to convince you and everyone else it does.

Bottom line's illegal. Because of that it's just plain black and white and right from wrong. No sugar coatin' it honey.

Pot changes the chemicals in their brain. It uses up some and leaves others in disrepair.

The "helping professions" may want us to parent being coaches, guideposts and whatever, but society and especially the legal system is still cut and dry.

Your difficult child sounds like he's a smart cookie. If you lay down the law and say no illegal substances in my home or on my property and if you find any...the keys/car is gone. No backing down, no nothing.

You'll be surprised how much your kiddo will whine etc, but in the end he'll thank you for it. They really are searching for boundries.


New Member
Mikey, No you are not stupid nor are you deluded you are a parent on a mission to save your difficult child and being the loving parent that you need to be. My difficult child obviously lost her desire to continue her education but that was the agreement and for whatever reason she chose to go the other way. Your difficult child is showing progress and has the desire (His choice) to be responsible by not only going to school but holding a job and paying his car note and ins all by choice. As far as trying to preserve a relationship with you? I see that as being typical behavior at least from what I have experienced, My difficult child will be an angel for anybody else but when it comes to Mom, Not going to happen unless of course she wants something lol. I am not saying that just because they are a teen that it justifies bad choices, Attitude or bad behavior towards you as the parent or anybody else for that matter. I saw this in my difficult child and as any parent it is my desire to have respect from her or anybody else. I would never allow a stranger to disrespect me in my own home and never could see me allowing her to get away with it because of who she is (My daughter). Many on the board have been in your shoes and it is scarey to say the least not knowing what choices your young teen or young adult will be making for now or in their future. We as parents do not raise up our kiddos to become addicted to drugs or alcohol but sadly sometimes this is the path that they choose and it is us parents that will do everything in our power to pull them back and go into what I call save mode by providing the much needed counceling or program that will hopefully turn things around. In 2005 I was grasping at anything I could find to aid in turning my difficult child around, Some worked, Some did not. But we all know that it takes a willing participant to grasp onto the tools that are given to them to even make a difference for themselves. My difficult child was doing well for a long time but when it comes down to it all it takes is for them to get with the wrong crowd and unfortunately in my difficult children case she wanted to be a part. Please don't let this discourage you though. Your difficult child is making the willing effort and that is awesome but it does not excuse how he treats you as his parent. Believe me when I say I understand your fears of letting go to soon or giving the boot. It took a long time for me to finally go through with it and it is the fear of their safety and well being that drives us parents up the wall. Its allot to deal with mentally (The unknown) especially when it comes to our own children. Although my situation might seem worse then what your dealing with at the moment does not alleviate the seriousness of your situation. I am just in a different place is all with my difficult child. I am sure you have heard many say "Children do not come with instructions" Although we all wish they did Lol!! I am still learning myself (Mom_in_training)Our kids are great at throwing us through hoops while we just stand back thinking " Oh god, What do I do now" Lol!! We are all in training when it comes to our kids (Teens) and do get it eventually. Hang in there Mikey, Your doing what any loving and caring parent should be doing. I would definitely recommend that you keep up with the drug testing and let your difficult child know that drugs are illegal and you would not hesitate to call the police if you ever found drugs in your home, Some here have gone as far as searching their difficult children opon arriving home. I know this sounds harsh but you cannot allow your difficult child to have the control or the comforts of home when he is choosing illegal activities if he does. Please don't be offended when I say this but it does seem that you are kind of walking on egg shells in your own home, please correct me if I am wrong. I myself went through a phase when I blew off some things because I did not want to rock the boat when my difficult child was doing well but caught myself and opted to take my chance. Just because she was doing well in one area did not excuse her making no effort in other areas or coming home drunk. I put my foot down.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
Nope, you're right, eggshells it is for both me and my wonderful, warrior mom wife. But that was by design, in concert with his therapist. We started off with three goals: try to get him to take an interest in his future (and do something about it), try to get him to see the damage he's doing by abusing drugs and living the stoner lifestyle, and (c) try to get him to re-engage in the family and start rebuilding a loving, mutually beneficial and mutually respectful relationship.

We made a decision that the life skills issue (first one) was most important, because at the time he was running away and likely to hit the streets on his own. So when he actually responded to a "change of venue, i.e alternative ed HS and specialized program in Graphic Design, we thought "Great!" He even wants to get his diploma, which is a good "first start" life goal.

So, we walked on eggshells to keep him on the road to improvement in this area. Even if he doesn't stop with the pot, and even if he completely trashes his relationship with us, at least he's back on a path to self sufficiency beyond the soup kitchen and the local Salvation Army shelter. And that's the most important thing to us.

Still working on the second issue, pot smoking. Fortunately, uptill last week that was all he was doing. Unfortunately, he almost died from an asthma attack last Wednesday, and has had to stop smoking EVERYTHING. Put him on Chantrix, and that's helping loads with the cigs (smoke free for over a week, no cravings). He says no pot, either. But now the worry is that he'll move to something else for a high, and while pot's not good, it's definitely the least harmful of the various drugs of choice around this part of the country.

Come to think of it, not being able to smoke pot may be why he's so dadgum grouchy and acting out! Doh!

It's only been in the last few days that we've tried to work on the third issue, reintegration with the family. Tried to have an "intervention" brokered by his therapist on Tuesday where we would try to meet somewhere in the middle; he gets something, we get somthing, and we all claim some form of victory. THAT went over like skinheads parading in Compton. But I'm willing to back off a bit to keep him moving forward in other areas. It hurts, but I'd rather see him leave hating us but able to take care of himself than push for the total package and lose him completely.

Guess I'll see how that works out. Oh, and I'll be investing in whatever pharma company that makes my anti-anxiety medications and prozac - they're going to get a LOT of my money over the next 18 months :wink:

Hey there, welcome from a fellow relatively newcomer, also male, also a techie, also moved around job-chasing. For four critical years I did consulting gigs that had me away from home two-three weeks at a time with 4 to 5 days at home in between, so the biggest part of parenting fell on my incredible wife's shoulders alone. I've often wondered how much that contributed to our difficult child's story. She was abandoned by bio dad, who she was very attached to, he just up and disappeared without a word when she was 8. Then I came along and stole away some of mom's attention, then uprooted the whole clan and dragged them off to a well-to-do bedroom community of a huge impersonal city, much like what you have described. The kids went from a school system with three to four hundred in K through 12 to one with a dozen 6-A high schools. difficult child started doing a lot of things we didn't find out about 'til later; maybe I didn't want to know, either.

Though I don't blame myself for what happened, now that wife and I are raising her daughter as our own* I'm determined that I will be home every night and really engaged in her life.

* Funny story about that: at church one night my granddaughter pointed me out to one of the other men, "That's my dad, his name's Papa." The man, a fellow expatriate Okie, had already met me and knew what our relationship was, so he gave me a wink and said, "Now I know you're from Oklahoma."