Help by Phone

Help by Phone

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

Margaret Puckette parent counselor

From my own experience raising a troubled child, my lack of knowledge and skills seriously hurt my ability to be a good parent.  I simply didn’t know what to do or how.  My own anxiety and stress worsened my family’s mental health.  I struggled to figure things out on my own and made many mistakes.

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

I’m dedicated to helping parents help their troubled child and create a therapeutic home.  How you parent can genuinely improve your child’s condition.  I have witnessed this after years of study, training, and working with hundreds of parents like you.  You can master new techniques to reduce difficult or unsafe symptoms and improve everyone’s wellbeing.

Helping troubled children requires a completely different approach than parenting a typical child.  Commonsense techniques usually do not work—things like praise, incentives and disincentives, reasoning, and fairness often don’t work or will 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.  Many of these are easier than you might think, but they require new skills.  You can get insights into how your child thinks and why they do what they do, 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.  

Tell me your Story by answering the questions at the bottom of this page.  I will contact you to discuss how we can work together, and how you can 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 will 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