Help by Phone

Help by Phone

The best way to help a troubled child is to help their parents.

Margaret Puckette parent counselor

Parents and caregivers need extra help because there is little information or support for them, yet they are critical to a troubled child’s wellbeing. Parents will be a major support for them their entire life.  Mental health providers often focus on the child as a separate individual, and aren’t prepared or able to train parents in therapeutic techniques their child needs, or to support them emotionally.

From my own experience raising a mentally ill child, my lack of knowledge and skills seriously hurt my ability to be a good parent because I simply didn’t know what to do or how.  Plus my grief over the loss of my child, and the anxiety and stress at home, often worsened our whole family’s mental health..  I struggled to figure things out on my own.  I made many mistakes.

Parenting a troubled child should never be a do-it-yourself project

I’m dedicated to helping you turn your lives around and create a therapeutic home for your family.  You, and how you parent, can genuinely improve your child’s condition.  I have witnessed this after years of study, training, counseling, and working with hundreds of parents like you.  A professional parent counselor can quickly put you on a better path.  You can master new approaches and techniques that reduce problems and support your child’s and family’s wellbeing.  There is rarely a “quick fix”, but they work over the long term.

Parenting your child requires a completely different approach than parenting a typical child.  Commonsense techniques do not work, such as praise, incentives and disincentives, reasoning, and fairness, will not improve your troubled child’s behavior… in fact, they may not work at all or worsen your situation.

Let’s talk  

If your family is struggling and nothing is working, I can help you make breakthroughs with advice and techniques used by professionals which you can apply at home.  You will also get insights into how other parents have managed, and how your child’s life may unfold over time.

There are no simple answers–a new path may require effort–but I promise you will feel relieved and hopeful after your first call.  

Start by telling me your Story and answering questions at the bottom of this page.  I will contact you shortly to discuss how we can work together and help you help your child.

If you have general questions, email me at:  Read about my personal and professional experience here, and testimonials from clients.

Getting Started

1.   Tell me your Story

mother telling storyWhat do you need right now?  What’s going on with your child?  We can save much time on our first call if I know something about your situation ahead of time.  You may find that writing this down will give you insights into your situation.  If helpful, I can contact you in advance for a free 30-minute conversation prior to any appointment to see if you are comfortable working with me.

2.  Set up a meeting

I will contact you as soon as I receive your Story.  We can set up a time that’s convenient for you, including evenings and weekends.  If appropriate, I strongly encourage a couple to be on the call.  It is not appropriate for me to speak directly with your child however.  A call is about you and what you need as a parent, and what you need for your own wellbeing.

3.  Payment

I prefer payment in US$ using PayPal but will accept other currencies.  When you are ready, you can click the PayPal button to make a payment.  We can make other arrangements if you prefer not to use PayPal.

For counseling sessions outside the U.S. and Canada, calls can be set up via Skype.


Single phone session – $175 for a 90-minute session, which includes any follow-up calls, emails, or texts if you need help with an emerging issue.  You will receive a written summary with an assessment and recommendations.


The fees are reduced to $125 if you want additional sessions. This can help for addressing specific issues that come up once you start implementing changes.  You should expect new challenges when something is starting to work!

What you can expect from me

  • Belief in you without judgement
  • Respect and compassion from someone who’s been there and understands;
  • Clear practical steps for reducing your child’s negative symptoms;
  • Techniques for creating a therapeutic home for the entire family (e.g. teamwork, values);
  • House rules that work, structure that works, and communication styles that work;
  • Support for all family members; self-care, ‘mental health’ breaks, ways to bring joy back into your lives
  • Answers for coping with: schools, health care providers, relationships, or challenges with your child’s friends or others in your community

Please read the Disclosure and Ethics document.

Your Story

Please tell me about your situation taking as much space as you like, then click on Submit.  Absolutely everything you share is kept confidential as required by U.S. regulations on privacy, which are from the Health Information Portability & Privacy Act or HIPPA.

This helps to identify priorities, and focuses our session on the most important things first.
In your own words, write out concerns that need to be addressed, and describe the child's strengths.  We will look at your and your child's innate strengths to address problems.
We will discuss strengthening relationships with supportive people, and limiting those with people who are detrimental to you and your child's wellbeing. 
It helps to know what you've already tried and how it's working or not working.
When we can clearly identify existing causes or triggers for your child's distress, we may be able to develop ways to reduce their impact.
Please add comments about other concerns you may have, especially those that affect you and your ability to parent.

General questions about my services are welcome anytime:


troubled kids get better