I figure you guys are the mostly likely to have been there done that and I need some guidance here. How do you balance your utter distaste (ie nausea) over your kids' appearance and interests with what is probably the closest, in thank you's case anyway, they've come to semi-normal typical teen junk? Forgive me if some of this seems trivial - I can't separate it out because the sum of it is more than the individual parts and the big picture just ... well, glurg. Clothes - I've bought a variety of colors but interestingly (or not) anything not black has disappeared. Black is not a complimentary color on my glow in the dark child. I've told him that I'm not buying him another doggone item in black, including shoes. You can imagine his response. Hair... either so long he's indistinguishable from a sheepdog or it's severely shaved (skinhead). It's like he's *trying* to be as unattractive as possible. I've been biting my tongue but I'm starting to lose my grip I think. Music - He gave me the lovely list at Christmas of Black Metal/Death Metal bands. Aside from the fact that it's all just so much noise, when you read the lyrics (and you have to because you can't *hear* a darn thing) it's dark. I refused at the holidays, but he proudly announced this week that he got a couple of those CDs (Residential Treatment Center (RTC) allowance). I don't want to reprint this blech. The theme is I'm common, I'm worthless, I'm dark, I'm evil, blah blah blah. I told him to bring them home, I'd listen (my ears!) and if I felt they were inappropriate I'd put them in a "hope chest" that he can have when he is on his own. Of course, thank you being thank you, he had to brag that he had them. I have to wonder if he *wants* me to be the bad guy and take them? And of course we have the neverending issue of Magic/Wicca. In and of itself I don't have a *huge* problem with- Wicca - not in my top 10 choices for his choice of spiritual expression, but it could be worse (I think?). I do have a major problem with- the concept of Magic (as in spells) to "cure" the problems of the world - just as I would with holy-roller prayer to do the same. Not to start a religious debate but I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how to explain to him self determination and spirituality versus handing it all over to whatever he believes in and sitting back, waiting. Does that make sense? He's passive yet again... taking no responsibility for changing his life other than "spells". I'm beginning to think I'm a hypocrite. I used to think, honestly and to my soul, that I could handle teen self-expression without flipping out too bad. The rule has *always* been, though, that if grades are good and attitude is decent, the exterior could be overlooked (this goes for all my kids). Of course his grades still bite, he's still cursing at teachers, and his attitude is one of total entitlement and general irritation at any expectation, which may be typical teen but I still feel like I have to fight this overall "thing" he's got going on. I feel like there's a thin line in his head between what's really real and *his* reality (two completely different things) - it's his basic skewed thinking. And I keep trying to figure out how on *earth* he's ever going to function independently like this. I can't even see him flipping burgers - who'd want to buy fries from a wraith?? Is it a losing battle? Am I just going to be pounding my head against a wall for nothing? If I crack down, confiscate the clothes and music, is it going to push him further underground? Make this all just that more attractive? Do I still have the right/obligation to try and direct my 16 y/o who will most probably never live under my roof again? I've already put a stop to internet and phone communication with- like-minded peers not in his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but then of course we have the peers *in* Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Short of massive quantities of botox, how do you keep the disapproval out of your face? How do you keep from physically flinching when the child who is so much a part of your heart looks so absolutely awful, spouts such foreign verbal junk, is just so... completely *out* there?