I haven't posted anything new in a while. There hasn't been much to say, really. Difficult Stepson, while not estranged from us per se, is currently avoiding my wife's phone calls and overtures to spend time. He will occasionally respond to her texts by telling her it "isn't a good time" but that he hopes to see her soon. We last saw him at a family dinner several weeks ago, with his girlfriend in tow. He was pleasant and well-mannered during this visit. My younger stepson, who called his father to pick him up from our home on Mother's Day, did not initiate an estrangement of his own following that incident (which based on past history is what we were anticipating). We took him out to a movie recently. It was a brief visit, but pleasant as well. The boys are both growing up and developing their own lives. Our roles as parents are shifting as they age. In particular I am succeeding in detaching from both of them. Difficult Stepson is not a danger to anyone at this time - he is happy with his life and under no pressure -and because of that I do not need to protect myself from him, though there's always the possibility that can change. However, now that he has a car of his own and much more direct control over whether or not he sees us and how frequently, my sense is that the likelihood of myself or my spouse being in the direct line of Difficult Stepson's fire is much lower than it has ever been in the past. His tendency is to escape first and attack if escape is not possible. He has set up his life so that he can always escape, which is bad for his development as he will never learn coping skills this way, but sadly, safer for the rest of us because he will not try to harm anyone as long as he doesn't feel backed into a corner. The boys have chosen their father and his laissez-faire approach and there is nothing we can do about that. They will not accept our parenting - there is nothing we can do about that. They are who they are and once again, nothing we can do about that. Difficult Stepson is still enrolled in online school, but we know little about his progress. Younger Stepson may have failed one or more classes if he failed any final exams. Those grades are not yet available. He wants to play sports in the fall for his high school team, which gives us hope that Younger Stepson will find internal motivation to stay eligible and do better in his classes. I'm going to look for the portion of the site dealing with our own development and growth, as I am finding that my life is much happier and more relaxed when I'm not hand wringing over people I can't control (my stepchildren being just two of these)!