Still on the downside of the track, need to vent.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
Just needing to vent, because I feel backed into a corner. difficult child has become the master of the relationship because we're now emotionally paralyzed, and he knows it.

I finally spent a lot of time writing him a letter explaining exactly how we feel, what we're worried about, and asking him to think about his actions. The letter ended by saying that he had a choice to make, and that we would be talking about it soon.

Choice was whether or not he still wanted to be a member of the family. If so, he need to start giving as well as taking, and that he needed to give us at least as much respect as he demands for himself. And that if he chose to continue acting out, there would be consequences - starting with a drawdown in the "family benefits".

From time to time, we still see the old easy child in him. We don't know if it's just a ghost he keeps around to manipulate us, or if he's still really in there like his therapist and some teachers say. I was trying to appeal to his easy child side to at least start some dialog with us. Can you guess how this ends?

Besides substance abuse, his big thing is ignoring curfew. That night, after getting the letter, he was over an hour late getting home. So I guess I'm not the master wordsmith I thought I was, because if it was going to have any effect on him it would have been right after reading it.

Since then, I've given him a few days to think it over to see if he would bring up the subject of the letter. Nope - not so far. Also, after nearly dying a few weeks ago from asthma attack, he had to stop smoking - everything. But now I fear he's moved back to booze, because the last few times he's ignored curfew and either stayed away or come home late, he's had beer on his breath.

His therapist has a copy of the letter, and thought it was a very good "groundbreaker" for serious discussions (negotiations?) with difficult child. He has an appointment this evening with difficult child, and was going to try again to start up the discussion. Only now, difficult child says he doesn't want to go see "that shrink" any more.

On top of this, his alternative school also informed us that he can only go one semester next year beause he will have completed all academic requirments to graduate by then. There's a waiting list for the program, and regardless of the fact that difficult child is thriving in the program they can't give him a seat in the spring. So now, even though he can graduate in the fall, he wants to go back to his old school for spring semester and graduate. He plans to take "stupid" classes (his words) - photography, weightlifting, stuff like that.

Bad, bad idea because that's where he got into so much trouble ditching class, getting stoned before class, and his drug buddies all go there (which is why, of course, he wants to go back).

At this point wife and I just don't know what to do. We're paralyzed, difficult child knows this, and is driving the car. He knows that we don't want him running away, or starting to smoke again (which could kill him if he has another asthma attack). Yet, he still throws these things out there. And somehow, I have no doubt that he'd follow through on them.

So we're trapped on one big anxiety roller-coaster. Either we start the fight and spend our time worrying about his acting out, or we continue to placate and worry about him when he's out doing whatever he's doing. Sometimes, I get so angry at him I want to start the fight, but then I think of him going out the door and not coming back and I completely cave.

I know I should detach. I know I shouldn't feel responsible any more because difficult child is making his own choices now. But after spending nearly 18 years taking care of him, loving him, and enjoying him (during the good times), I can't just suddenly bottle all that up and say "there's the door - I don't want you to go, but if you feel you must do these things against our will, then do them on your own".

And I cave because there's a sneaking feeling in the pit of my stomach that difficult child would rather live on the street and eat out of garbage cans than submit to any kind of control by us at this point. I think this saying's from Dante's Inferno: "I'd rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven". That's my son. He'd rather starve on the streets, under his own power, than place himself in the hands of another and live a happier life.

Darned if I do and darned if I don't. Start the fight and watch him go, or continue placating to keep him in the house and live with the disrespct and anxiety when he acts out.

I just don't know what to do any more. For now, I guess I'll just up the Klonopin and Xanax, eat more St. John's Wort, and pray a lot more for guidance and serenity. Miracles do sometimes happen, don't they?



Hi Mikey,
only have a minute but wanted to respond. Your son sounds much like my dtr (she is nearly 19 now). We sent her to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when she was 16 and she was court ordered to drug rehab when she was 17 (she relapsed in between Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and rehab). Anyway, nothing we did seemed to matter til I kicked her out when she was 18 (she had left voluntarily a few months before but returned when she had nowhere else to go). We couldn't have her living with us for a number of reasons but just as importantly, she could not make a life for herself while with us. She was so bent on defying us and manipulating us that it wasn't til she was living on her own that she felt in control of her life. She had to stay in a homeless shelter in our town for awhile but then got an apt. with boyfriend and got a job and while she still seems to be making a lot of bad decisions she also has progressed and knows that she is the one in charge of her life. She actually asks me for advice sometimes!

Basically, she seemed to be directing all her energy towards defying us while a teen and while she had to live with us. We found out she is far more capable than we thought once she no longer felt the need to do that.

I would say the one of the worst things you can do is let yourselves be emotionally paralyzed by your son--not good for you and even worse for him! I say LET HIM GO

Good luck!


Psycho Gorilla Dad
Thanks JBrain. If only it were that simple for us. difficult child is a master manipulator, and has stated that he shares at least one goal with us: to graduate HS. Of course, if he runs away, well then I guess he just won't be able to do that any more.....

That's the hook he has us on. He wants to graduate. We want him to graduate. So far, regardless of any other acting out, the one place he HAS made significant progress is at school. Teachers now describe him as respectful, hard-working, attentive, and participates well. I never heard that in the previous 2 1/2 years.

So there it is. It's almost like he's toying with us: giving us something we want (success in school), but demanding concessions in other areas. It doesn't matter that what he's giving us is also something HE wants, but I'm pretty sure he'd throw even that little bit of success away in a heartbeat if he thought it gave us any control over him at all.
We're hooked. Do we put up with his acting out to keep him in school (and maybe grow up a bit over the next year)? Or do we push harder for more changes that are just as important, and risk losing everything?



New Member
I can assure you that your son would not rather be living on the streets and eating out of garbage pails, it is only what he has you believing because he is running the show. You have to gain control of this situation. He is heading downhill fast and you are enabling him to do this. By enabling him you are driving the car thats going downhill. I know it's hard, I know it's heart wrenching, because I have been there. My son hardly ever broke curfew and somehow remained pretty much respectful to us through our entire ordeal with him, so we never had to deal with that part of it, but by our ignoring his pot smoking when he was younger, wanting to believe it wouldn't turn into anything worse, and then enabling him for a very very short time after discovering his heroin addiction, we as parents did not do him one favor.
By writing that letter to your son and telling him he had a choice to make in regards to being a part of the family, and that there would be consequences, and then him still doing whatever he pleases with no consequences, you just pretty much told him he can do what he wants and that you have no clue what to do about it.

You and your wife have to come up with a plan to save him, and then stick to it. You have to gain control of this child in order to save him. Until you are ready to do this, his behavior will not get any better and will rapidly get worse. Maybe he needs to live on the street and eat out of garbage pails in order to realize what he is missing out on in life.

My son was only 18 years old the day we threw him out of our home and it broke my heart. I thought I would never recover from that feeling and had no idea what would happen to him. I cried, I thew up, I was so confused. Tomorrow my son will be six months clean and is living in a soberhouse, going to work everyday, paying his rent, has a sponsor, goes to his meetings and is a happy healthy responsible adult. If I had allowed him to live in our house and didn't learn how to detatch and stop enabling, he would still be using daily, if he were even alive! I truly believe I saved my sons life by making him face his choices in life. I'm not saying you have to kick your child out, but you have to find a way to take a stand against him and gain control of your home and the rest of your families life. The most important thing is that my son knows that what we did, enabled him to be where he is today. He doesn't hate us for it, he loves us for it.

You need to get yourselves to a parent alanon group meeting.

I don't mean to sound harsh and I hope I'm not offending you, but my son celebrating his 20th birthday yesterday is proof that detatching and not enabling works.


New Member
I just wanted to add that your son can someday get his ged, once he gets through this mess. Graduating highschool isn't the most important thing at this point, saving his life is. I'm not quite sure what kind of drugs your son is doing, but believe me once he starts hitting the big stuff like heroin, it is a lifetime battle to stay off of it that no highschool diploma will help him with.

difficult child has you over a barrel and knows it. Nothing will change until you and wife take back control. You're not doing him any favors by letting this continue. You can't force a change in his behavior at this point; all you can change is yourselves, by not letting this situation rule your lives anymore.

Watching a difficult child go out the door to learn life's lessons the hard way, and possibly not survive the curriculum, is the most excruciatingly painful thing imaginable. We understand this. We spent years fighting with our difficult child, trying to get through that armor plating that she had no idea what she was in for. But she had it all figured out. Her "friends had her back" (yeah, as long as she was partying with them and putting out; turned out they didn't, when it mattered).

We've all seen our dreams and hopes for our difficult children go up in smoke (literally). It is so painful to watch them throw away opportunities and make bad choices that will dog them the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, there comes a time when reality has to be faced, by you and wife as well as by difficult child. Our difficult child was a one-time star student and still had some teachers eating out of her hand (fewer and fewer by 12th grade, admittedly) up to her senior year but dropped out. She just didn't get it that that diploma was necessary, that being pretty and popular with the boys wasn't a ticket to the good life, just a ticket to be used up and tossed out. (She went back later and got her GED.) [Added in edit: Point being that it's time to let go of the summa :censored2: laude dreams, your concerns are on a more basic level now.]

The letter is a good opening. Tell him you meant what you said and that decision time is right now. Maybe you could draw up a contract spelling out expectations and consequences. In any case, next time he misses curfew or breaks the rules, he no longer has a bed under your roof. Period.

And I hate to say it, but putting him out the door won't be the end of it. If it's anything like our case, there'll be constant calls wanting to come back just overnight, just needing $5 for this or that, has to get a ride here or there (always for something essential, you understand). Our difficult child was contrite one day, wheedling the next, defiant the next. You have to stand your ground and insist on full compliance or no favors, none.

Sounds like you know all this and know what you need to do, and are just getting up the nerve to endure the big showdown and stick to your guns. Believe me, whatever difficult child acts like on the outside, it'll be the shock of his life when he gets that you are deadly serious. The time is now. Good luck!
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: KFld</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I just wanted to add that your son can someday get his ged, once he gets through this mess. Graduating highschool isn't the most important thing at this point, saving his life is. I'm not quite sure what kind of drugs your son is doing, but believe me once he starts hitting the big stuff like heroin, it is a lifetime battle to stay off of it that no highschool diploma will help him with. </div></div> Good point. I went on about the importance of a HS diploma in my reply; I think I was flashing back to the early battles with our difficult child. At this point gaining control of the situation is paramount and all other concerns have to take a back seat.


New Member
I keep coming back to this post because I'm hoping to say something that helps both your family and your son. You are getting it, you just aren't ready to react yet. That time will come when you least expect it. Up until the hour before I told my son he had to leave our house, I swore I would never be able to do it and that nothing he did could be bad enough that I would or could make him live on the streets. I went home from work one day and went online just to balance my check book. As I scrolled down I saw a check number that cleared that was way beyond the numbers I was currently using and clicked on view. Staring me in the face was a check written out to cash for $350.00 in my sons girlfriend's handwriting and signed by my son. I went straight to my checkbook and found more checks missing in between and called the bank immediatley. Luckily he hadn't cash anymore yet, but he had also taken checks from my line of credit checkbook, but luckily wasn't aware that if he could have gotten away with it, there was a huge limit on the amount he could have written.

At that moment I knew what I had to do and there was no turning back, as he had become so desperate for drugs that he was willing to steal from us at any cost. We needed to protect ourselves and in return, protect him from himself. We called his cellphone, told him to come home and pack his bags and as soon as he left my husband changed the locks on the doors. Believe me it's an awful feeling to know you have to lock your own child out of his home.

You will know the moment when you have to take action, whatever that action is, but you will know it and nobody can tell you when or where that will be. You'll know it in your heart!!


Psycho Gorilla Dad
Thanks KFld. As always, I truly appreciate your responses, and I respect the path you have walked. I totally agree with the need to gain control - still looking for ways how. Also, I may be in the wrong group here because while difficult child has substance abuse issues, docs don't think that's the primary problem - just a symptom of something else. To answer your questions about which substances...

Drugs of choice for my difficult child are cigs, pot and booze. When we were testing him regularly, all they found was pot - and even then, sometimes the levels were so low that the test showed negative. And these are tests at a lab, with the THC numbers, not the at-home dipstick tests. Full-panel screening, including cough syrup. Nothing but pot.

Therapist thinks that he talks bigger than he walks, because the drug tests (including one blood test) don't bear out his claim as a "master stoner". He definitely smoked, but doctor thinks he talked big to fit in. Current thought is that he wants the stoner lifestyle because nobody expects anything out of them, but he isn't the total pothead he claims to be. Who knows?

I also know that difficult child has occasionally tried X, and "skittling".

After his last asthma attack, the doctor at the ER got right in his face and told him that if he didn't stop smoking EVERYTHING that the next time he came in to the ER with an attack, he might be going out the back door in a hearse instead of the front door to the family minivan.

When he was blue and couldn't breath, that was the right time for him to hear that. So far, I think he's stayed away from anything smokeable, and is taking Chantix to try and stop the cigs. That rules out a lot of drugs. I don't think he'd take anything now that he has to inhale.

And needles, for sure, don't work. That same ER visit, they wanted to admit him because he came very near to "coding". In order to admit, they would have to run an IV. difficult child refused, and threatened to "deck" anyone that came close to him with a needle. So he didn't get admitted.

So he can't smoke anything, and won't shoot anything up. That leaves stuff he can ingest, and right now that looks like booze. We'll see, though. Another test coming up on Monday that he doesn't know about.

Again, I truly appreciate what you say, and will take it to heart.

Thanks so much,



New Member
I just have to laugh at the hating needle thing because my son is a recovering heroin addict who won't let anyone near him with a needle. He snorted it.

You may want to post more on the pe board, though I think that may be for difficult child's over 18, but I'm not sure and I don't know how much it matters.


Warrior Parent
Hi Mikey

Others here are already giving you good advice and support, and I don't have much to add except I see you list ADD in your difficult child's profile, and I'm seeing a lot of ODD in his behavior as you describe it.

I have some experience with ODD (which, in case you don't know, is Oppositional Defiance Disorder, the politically correct way to say, 'my kid blows up when he hears something he doesn't like')

My easy child has ODD, and even tho it's gotten MUCH better as he's grown older, I see glimpses of it regularly. A LOT of my easy child's ODD comes out as a result of HOW people address him.

His dad talks to him in a very authoritative way, gives him orders, uses sarcasm, etc., and easy child responds with big disrespect.

I approach easy child more of in a partnership type of way, and he does much better with this.

When he does blow up, I do not respond to him (that took some practice on my part!) but I let him explode and then he retreats. I do not chase him or holler back. He reappears on his own, in his own time, and more often than not, he apologizes.

I will bring up whatever it was LATER, and talk about it with him WAY after the episode has passed. Like, not even that same day, but sometime within the next couple days.

I wish you the best in your dealings with your son. I feel for you in your dilemma of what action to take. The point made about getting an HS Diploma not being the most important thing is true.

Education is important, but if his behavior isn't checked, he won't have much success out there in the real world, anyway. No employer will put up with what you are describing his actions are like. (You shouldn't put up with it, either ;))



Wow, Mikey,
I thought I was a little blunt but the others really told it like it is! I have to agree totally with them. He is holding you hostage with the "wanting to graduate from high school" thing. If he really does want that then he should abide by your rules. I know it is scary to actually see your kid throw away their opportunities but he has really raised the stakes to this height. My dtr ended up getting a GED. She, unlike your son, was not doing well in school--hated it and just didn't go. Yet, when she was in rehab she decided getting her GED was her top goal--we weren't even expecting anything educationally by then--it was all her idea. She was one of the top students at her rehab and did get the GED. It isn't the end of the world if your kid doesn't get the high school diploma. I think your best bet may be to let him know that--that you are not willing to let him control you and your household in order to see him graduate. The choice is truly his. I would be furious to be used by my kid this way--he knows what is important to you and uses it against you--been there done that!

As far as the drug use goes, I'm not sure what to think. My dtr's therapist downplayed it in our case and so did we. We thought she was claiming to do a lot more than she actually was doing and I still don't know about that. She certainly had many underlying issues and the drug use just seemed to be symptomatic. She would say now that a lot of her behavior was due to doing drugs and I tend to agree with her.

Well, we are all here for you and I appreciate your openness and willingness to hear us! We all do feel for you and know what a tough spot you are in. Keep coming and posting!



Well-Known Member
We all know your other skin.

He will do and say anything to keep you off his back AND to get
what he wants. Don't think for a minute that he is sweating
what the MD told him. He knows you all are sweating it...but he
is not. He may in fact smoke just to prove how manly he is!

The playing field is not even. DDD


New Member
Nobody said that parenting would be an easy task. Mikey you know my current situation with my difficult child and I know this is your worst fear. I wish it on nobody. It seems that he does have all of the control. Hes just dangling that future diploma in front of your eye balls knowing full well that this is something that you really want and using it to his advantage. My difficult child would do really well with her school but then make stupid choices in other areas and think that it was justisfied because she was doing so well in other areas. In her thinking it should be no big deal that she would come home here and there drunk because she was doing everything else that was expected. Sorry charlie. No valid reason for under age drinking regardless. I'm so sorry that you are struggling with the wanting to not let go, Its the fear that stops allot of us from doing the right thing. Its a tough call for any parent knowing that it is a gamble. I know what I would do under the circumstances and am now in the process of hanging in there to see what happens next. You have been given some great advice Mikey.

One more thing, Knowing that he is drinking, Why would he still be privilaged to be driving a car? Regardless if he bought it or is paying for it does not matter. The fact is that he has no business driving while intoxicated. He not only is putting his life in jepardy but he is also putting innocent families and children in harms way (They have no choice), Your son does have the choice to drink and drive. Another thought, How would you react if he were to get pulled over and arrested for DUI or even worse get into an accident involving innocennt people. And for the drug use (Pot) Not every difficult child will choose to go any further then smoking pot but unfortunately some do. I have heard for many years that pot is called the gateway drug, Now I can say that I have experienced it to know first hand that the chances of your difficult child moving onto heavier drugs is higher then you can imagine. I the "Anti Drug Queen" now have a Meth addicted difficult child. Never did I imagine that my difficult child would go that far but she has. And the counceling you say he does not want to go. Well I know that you can't get a dead horse to get up but I'll tell ya I would not give him that power, It would not be a choice for my difficult child. The only way counceling would stop is if the therapist decided that your difficult child is no longer a willing participant. Parenthood is a journey with many challenges. Just keep in mind that nobody has the power to change another and that it takes a willing participant for any therapy to work for that individual.


Active Member
:rofl: So sorry, don't mean to be laughing, but this is EXACTLY the forum you need to be in.

Pot shouldn't be taken lightly. To some people the psychological and physical effects are very devastating. Pot is many people's drug of choice. If your difficult child's THC level is in the 700-800's then he's a pretty regular user. Going off will take close to a month to get clean. Pot can really mess up their brains.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Mikey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I finally spent a lot of time writing him a letter explaining exactly how we feel, what we're worried about, and asking him to think about his actions. [b]Writing is good, it's a way to start communication without being the aggressor.[/b]

The letter ended by saying that he had a choice to make, and that we would be talking about it soon. Alot of parent speak here. Most difficult child's will blow this off.
Choice was whether or not he still wanted to be a member of the family. What choice? your difficult child knows he will always be a member of your family no matter what. He knows you may get mad at him, but you love him unconditionally and whatever happens he knows you will get over it. Therefore he can blow off this statement.

I do understand your dilema....really I do. I was there once. Now I don't know where I am but I remember being there.

You could negotiate on the curfew. sounds like your difficult child is doing school well, how about a job? what if you don't pay the car insurance and demand he be gainfully employed?

Exactly what does difficult child want? is what he wants within the negotiating realms that you and wife want to deal with?

The problem I see with negotiating is that you won't win. difficult child is pushing away, wanting to be an adult, and acting like a child.

I don't believe for a minute that your difficult child will run away far and stay away long. He's got it too good and he knows it. He'd probably go off and stay with some friends for a few weeks. He'd probably even say you all kicked him out. But in what? It's your house, your rules.

I know Alan wouldn't agree with this (Sorry Alan) but unless you take control somehow...your difficult child will.

One of my difficult child's left at 15 1/2. (January of his sophmore year he refused to go back to school) He went to live with a friend (a buddy we knew who was 4yrs older than him). I helped with rent/food and that's it. At 16 he got his ged and worked part time jobs until he went back to school at 18. He has lived with his girlfriend and her dad and brother for the past 3yrs. I still assist him with rent/food, but he hasn't lived here. I know what you mean about not being able to totally kick him out with no supports. For us this is what worked. My difficult child 2 has come quite a long way.

It's not easy hearing what any of us have to say. That's ok though. What helps is posting and getting opinions and ideas. You will find what works and we'll be there to support you.

:rofl: leaving Teens and S/A


New Member
"The problem I see with negotiating is that you won't win. difficult child is pushing away, wanting to be an adult, and acting like a child."

Geeze SunnyFlorida, That was my difficult child to the T. All in all I think that I was pretty fair with her as far as compromise when needed (I refused to walk on egg shells in my own home) to alleviate allot of the unecessary drama. And I let her know straight up what was expected as well as letting her know upfront what the consequences would be if she opted not to follow through. Although she is now 18 she thinks like a 15 year old.


New Member
I don't really know how much I can add to the sage advice you have received so far. I've been there done that with my difficult child, and I can honestly say that living with him and walking on eggshells was horrible.

The hardest part, I believe, is when there is a glimmer of your old easy child. It is painful, but I hold on to those moments because they remind me of what I am fighting for. We all have different stories but in the end, we all have the same goal.

I'm sorry I can't help you with any advice. I wish you and your family strength through this hard time.



Psycho Gorilla Dad
Thanks, all for your words of support and advice. I truly appreciate both the effort to help, and the experiences behind what you're saying.

I don't want to harp on the school issue too much, but the most important thing about that situation is NOT the degree. GED or diploma, it doesn't really matter to me because (a) He doesn't have any idea what he's doing after HS, (b) neither will keep him out of college, if that's where he chooses to go, and (c) the diploma isn't the most important reason to keep him in that school.

The real reason for keeping him in school is that he's actually changed his ways for the better. The teachers at the alt. ed. school seem to have found a way to get him to be responsible, participate in class, and actually invest in his future. That's a behaviour that's been desparately lacking in him for years. I could care less if he got the degree, as long as he stays in that school and starts to "deprogram" some of the junk habits and self-images he adopted before we started down this path.

He says he wants the degree, and I want him to stay in that school for my own, different reasons. I don't tell him that, though, because he would instantly rebel since it's MY goal, not his own. So instead, I simply agree with his goal and support him; conflict avoided, and I get what I want (which is also in his best interests, long term).
So, now for an update: difficult child did end up going to his therpist last night. Came back in a really good mood, and the therapist didn't call (which he said he would do if there was anything critical that needed to be discussed prior to our next meeting).

So, that's a start.

Something else happened as well. My older son went yesterday to try and get into the Navy. He was completely turned down for the jobs he wanted because he is colorblind, and came home completely depressed. This morning, wife and difficult child were discussing how my older son's dreams were basically smushed.

wife was expecting a "sucks to be him" attitude in reply. Instead, though, difficult child actually responded kindly, saying that maybe it just wasn't meant to be, but that when some doors shut others open. He also said he thought this might have happened "for a reason", and he was certain his older brother would eventually find that something better was waiting for him as a result.

Hunh? This is my son? Sounded almost, mature, and even somewhat like a person with a little faith in something beyond his own cunning brain {gasp}.

Oh well, I'll take the good days and cherish them. Memories like that get me through the bad times (which I'm sure will keep on coming for a while).

Also, I'm going to hold off on the drugs and booze issue until after I get back the test results. I know the booze has to be dealt with, but if there's something else "in the mix" I want to hit it all at once.

Thanks again, everyone. I'll keep you posted.



New Member
Sounds like younger difficult child is kind of getting life, huh??? Those are the type of moments you definatley have to cherish.

Good idea to wait on the drug test and see exactly what you are dealing with before confronting him. let us know how it turns out.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SunnyFlorida</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> ...You could negotiate on the curfew. sounds like your difficult child is doing school well, how about a job? what if you don't pay the car insurance and demand he be gainfully employed?

Exactly what does difficult child want? is what he wants within the negotiating realms that you and wife want to deal with?

The problem I see with negotiating is that you won't win. difficult child is pushing away, wanting to be an adult, and acting like a child...

Exactly what difficult child's therapist said. He has a job, and so far has been able to pay for his car note, insurance, cell phone, and gas on his own (occasionally needs a loan, but always pays it back). Will probably have more money now that he quit cigs and pot (we hope, but then again nearly dying doesn't have much of an affect on teens the first time around :frown: )

What he wants is (a) privacy, (b) less intrusive parents, (c) to move to the basement, and (d) did I mention privacy?

He has a job, and has always done pretty well paying his own way. We're contemplating letting him move to the basement, but if so will use it to negotiate a solid, written agreement with real consequences and benefits. It's not a big space, but it would give him more privacy from the rest of the family (which most teens seem to need). It's also big enough for him to have a few friends over comfortably.

It's a big enough concession that we should be able to negotiate something good with him. Maybe giving him more private space will help him through the normal, teenage stuff, which may help with the difficult child issues (those two things seem to amplify one another, don't they?)

difficult child won't have anybody over because his room is small and there's no privacy. So he leaves whenever he feels like it to get away. Maybe giving him private space in the house will give him more reason to hang around instead of getting antsy and having to escape from the 'rents. And if he hang's around a bit more, we hope he'll act out a bit less (he's never abused or acted out while in the home - one rule he's never broken, so far).

If that works, at a minimum the difficult child issues should be a little easier to bear. wife and I have gotten to the point where we can tell if it's going to be a bad night when difficult child leaves. He gets antsy, calls anyone/everyone he can find to "hang with", then runs for the door like he has a demon on his tail. Bad, untreated ADD, and when he gets like that he usually has to escape, which then leads to some form of acting out. With his own space in the house, we're hoping he can escape to the basement instead of out the door.

Lots of maybe's, hopefullys, and possiblys. But all we can do is try. I think if the negotiation is handled right, though, and he buys into it, it could be good. The only promises he's made that he HASN'T kept deal with his curfew, his location when he's out on walkabout, and his substance abuse issues (not so bad there, he doesn't seem to care much if we know or not). He really wants the basement, and says he'll stay home more if he gets it.

So, what's the groupthink about this?