About me

About me

When parents are supported and guided, troubled children do well.  As another parent trained in mental health and coaching, this is what I do.

Margaret Puckette is a compassionate and experienced parent peer counselor for those raising a troubled child, teen, or young adult with a behavioral challenge or addiction.  She is a Certified Parent Support Provider (CPSP) conferred by the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health in Washington DC.  Her book, “Raising Troubled Kids,” offers practical, clinically sound, and frank information on how to effectively parent a difficult child, support their future, and reduce stress at home.

“I draw on mental health research and current professional practices; my social work experience; my experience an training in peer support; and wisdom gleaned from 100’s of other parents.  It is possible to manage a trying and stressful family situation and keep your own wellbeing intact.  You have strengths to draw upon that you may not have realized; maybe you need a simple way to address a chronic problem that seems unsolvable; or maybe a few new skills or household practices that can improve everyone’s wellbeing.

Parent testimonials

My Story

Life with a schizoaffective teen,” tells what happened in my life, and what I discovered about parenting a troubled child.  I needed to parent so differently than for ‘normal’ children but none of the commonplace rules applied.  No one told me what I needed or showed me how.  No one noticed or cared that I needed as much help as my child.

Searching for help, I dove into the books, read everything I could, and queried mental health professionals and other families. I also got important counseling for myself.  One thing I discovered was my need to heal old patterns I grew up with, the other was to reach out for help from other family members and friends and ask them to be part of my “team.”

I am passionate about helping parents get ahead
of their child’s illness,
avoid mistakes, and stay strong
so they can give their child a better chance in life.

Parent Mental Health Support Experience

  • Certified Parent Support Provider – conferred by the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.  This certification requires over 2000 hours providing family support under the direct supervision of a licensed mental health professional, over 100 continuing education units during that period, and passing a rigorous 3 hour exam on the principles of counseling and family support.
  • Certified Mental Health First Aid USA provider – National Council for Behavioral Health
  • “Talk It Over” – A parent support group facilitator since 1999, for parents and siblings of a child, teen, or young adult with a  behavioral disorder.
  • Family Partner, Trillium Family Services, Portland, Oregon – I consulted with this residential care center for children in numerous ways to make their programs parent-friendly: revised documents to use family friendly language; trained staff on what parents needed from them; and supported parents practical advice and cheerleading for parenting with self-care and family balance.
  • Family Partner, Wraparound Oregon, Portland Oregon – I mentored and coached families of youth with mental disorders who were involved in the juvenile justice system.



Instructor:  Psychological First Aid for supporting disaster victims, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, 2018, 2019

NAMI Oregon Annual Conference, Salem OR, 2018
Children’s Mental Health Conference Portland OR, 2011 and 2012
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Portland OR, 2010, 2011, and 2012
Family to Family, Portland State University, Portland OR, 2009
American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, San Diego CA, 2008
American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, Tampa FL, 2006

Guest lectures

Portland State University: post graduate classes in the School of Social Work
Portland State University: undergraduate classes in Social Studies
Oregon Health Sciences University: graduate class for psychiatric nurse practitioners, School of Nursing
George Fox University: post doctoral class for clinical psychologists, Department of Clinical Psychology
Oregon Health Sciences University: Presentation for child and adolescent psychiatrists
Multiple locations:  Mental health first aid after disasters


  • Oregonian interview on lack of mental health services for children in Oregon
  • Oregonian interview on the subject of violence and mental illness
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting interview on the subject of teens and mental illness
  • KATU-TV interview on the subject of bullying in schools
  • Clear Channel FM 107.1 interview on the subject of bullying and child behavior
  • KOIN-TV News interview on the subject of depression in children
  • Oregonian stories on my support group, here and here


  • Member: Family Workforce Association – Alliance of parent peer professionals in Oregon, 2018
  • Family representative/adviser for the child and adolescent psychiatric program at Unity Hospital, Portland OR, 2016 – 2017
  • Letter of Commendation – Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, for “contribution to the well-being of adolescents and families with serious emotional and mental health issues.” 2012
  • Volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, ongoing
  • Chair, Benton County Mental Health Advisory Board, OR, 4 years
  • Member, Commission on Children and Families, Benton County, OR 4 years

Online publications

DrLaura.com:  “Typical Parenting Mistakes: 9 Ways We Make Things Worse“, 2017
Parentingbookmark.com:  “Strengthening Families Living With a “Black Hole” Child“, 2017
Wellness.com:  “Life With a Schizoaffective Teen“, 2017
ProfessorsHouse.com:  “Is my Teen ‘Normal’ Crazy or Seriously Troubled?“, 2017


“The Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry commends Margaret Puckette for your contribution to the wellbeing of adolescents and families with emotional and mental health issues.  Your book “Raising Troubled Kids” has helped many parents and is helpful to families internationally.  The members of OCCAP look forward to work together with you, and to learn even more from you in the future.”

–Marvin Rose, MD, President, 2012


Stand-up comic with Mental Health At the Mic

Mental Health at the Mic
“Reducing stigma one joke at a time;” I’m part of a troupe that teaches others about the experience of mental illness.  We perform at comedy clubs and other performance spaces. 

Scheduling a Session



Contact me:

3 Replies to “About me”

  1. Thank YOU! This is helpful. I would appreciate attending coaching sessions on where is my place as the mom and how I can provide the support she needs now. We are looking at Portland DBT, and I am not sure whether or not she will commit to the regular sessions.
    Your suggestions for coaching? ;D Nancy

  2. Hi
    I have a 24 year daughter
    Identified as. A high functioning ASD
    She is struggling
    I’m struggling too because of her

    1. Hello Nancy,

      When a child enters adulthood, it’s common for parents to feel so many complex emotions (helplessness, sadness, guilt…) because they’d hoped their child, who they believe in so much, was more ready for independence and functionality.  Adulthood also means they may have less control and influence on an outcome.  I know well how this might feel. I’ve found over many years that parents’ mental health is possibly a priority over the child’s mental health.

      With your comment, did you have a question or were you interested in a coaching session?

      I encourage you to have hope.  Children who struggle with a brain condition–not neurotypical in your daughter’s case–fall behind their peers.  This is practically universal.  I don’t know if this applies to you, but it may be helpful to lower expectations of her progress.  For example, many young adults with all types of disorders finally start getting their act together around the age of 30.  So in the meantime, a parent’s job may be to mentor, support, and coax them along and realize their child will continue to struggle for a while.


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