Margaret is an author, support group leader, and Certified Parent Support Provider who has been supporting families for over 20 years. As a parent who struggled, she is passionate about helping others with troubled children of all ages.


Margaret Puckette is a compassionate and experienced coach for parents of a child, teen, or young adult with a serious behavioral problem or addiction. She draws on years of personal experience as a parent, social worker, and support group leader. Her book and this blog of the same title, “Raising Troubled Kids,” offer practical and sound information on how to reduce stress at home and holistically improve family wellbeing.

“My goal has been to gather wisdom from successful parents, and information from scientific research in mainstream and alternative therapy practices to parents manage a trying and stressful child.  This is the type of information I desperately needed while trying to raise a child with a mental illness.  Professionals didn’t tell me what to do, and I faced inappropriate advice or criticism that crushed my spirit.”

Family is the foundation of the troubled child.  Families need support for managing and supporting all members, the siblings as much as the caregivers.  Neglect the parents and family, and their child is neglected and robbed of the support they need in the future.

Have hope. Things will get better.
You can start turning things around today.


My Story

Life with a schizoaffective teen,” tells what happened in my life, and what I discovered about raising a very troubled child. I needed to parent her so differently than other parents, but no one told me what she needed or showed me how.  I almost lost my child. This experience changed my life’s direction, and I started mentoring other parents as a volunteer, then became a paid family support partner for two organizations and now a grant-funded support group leader.


Child and Family Mental Health

  • Family Partner, Trillium Family Services, Portland, Oregon – I started a program to support families as a peer; revised documents to use family friendly language; and trained staff on what parents needed, practical advice and support for raising their child… but also self-care and family balance.
  • Family Partner, Wraparound Oregon – Multnomah County Juvenile Justice, Portland Oregon – I mentored and coached families of youth with mental disorders who were involved in the juvenile justice system.
  • Family Coach, I specialize in helping parents and caregivers like me, with children with serious behavioral disorders and addictions, ages 5 to 25+.
  • Certified Parent Support Provider – conferred by the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
  • Support group facilitator since 1999 for parents and family members of a child, teen, or young adult with a serious behavioral disorder, supported by Providence Health & Services and NAMI Oregon.


Conference Speaker

Children’s Mental Health Conference Portland Oregon, 2011, 2012
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Portland Oregon 2010, 2011, 2012
Family to Family, Portland State University, 2009
American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, San Diego, 2008
American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, Tampa Florida, 2006

Guest Lectures

Portland State University – post graduate classes in the School of Social Work
Portland State University – undergraduate class, Social Studies
Oregon Health Sciences University – graduate class for psychiatric nurse practitioners, School of Nursing
George Fox University –post doctoral class, Department of Clinical Psychology
Oregon Health Sciences University – Presentation for child and adolescent psychiatrists


  • Oregonian interview on the subject of violence and mental illness, 2013
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting interview on the subject of teens and mental illness, November 2011
  • KATU-TV interview on the subject of bullying in schools, 2012
  • Clear Channel FM 107.1 interview on the subject of bullying and child behavior, aired 2012
  • KOIN-TV News interview on the subject of depression in children, 2012
  • Oregonian stories covering my support groups, here and here

Family Advocate

  • Family adviser for the child and adolescent clinical 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


“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



6 Replies to “Bio”

  1. I was surfing the internet in search of help on how to deal with my adolescent nephew, who I raised since 11.. There is always information about troubled teens and children, yet when they reach 18 it’s seems like that’s it and it is horrible. There does not seem to be alot of support for adolescent and they need just as much help if not more, since they are now considered adults.
    I came across this website and after reading testimonies , I realized it was one that could help me. My nephew had a tough childhood the first 10 years of his life. As he got older he started to act out and was very difficult to deal with and felt he was entitled. I raised him on my own.
    I made an appointment to speak with Margaret and was very happy I did! She speaks from experience and has so much knowledge. She made see things I did not realize and since he was so abused at a young age, I was not aware of all the emotional damage he suffered and I needed to treat him differently and realize even though he was 19, his emotional age was like a child. She really made me see not every teen or adolescent is the same and what happens in our early childhood, really plays a role in when we get older.
    She taught me to lower my expectations of him and to let him vent his anger, as long as it is not abusive and just listen to him, which I do now. I no longer tell him what to do or how to do it, I now tell him if he has any questions, I am here for him and he can always ask. He has calm down some when talking to me and I know it is going to take time for him to mature and figure things out.
    It is scary because you do not want to see your child get in trouble, yet controlling them is not doing any good. So now he knows I am always here for him yet I am not going to enable him by doing for him and telling him how to live his life.
    I also had to stop the worrying and take care of myself because it was causing me so much anxiety which I never had, since he is now out on his own. Margaret made it clear to me that I have to take care of me first and stay healthy.

    Margaret was great and I am so glad she has her website because as I said before, after 18 years old, it seems like there is not much help. She has been great checking in with me from time to time, which really helps so much because she understands, when others do not.

  2. My son has schizoaffective disorder, and still is a full time student at age 19. He has an IEP with an emotional disturbance disability, but the high school has directly placed him in a full inclusive setting (alternative program) mixed with students with behavioral issues for his entire term in this school of four years. He has earned 12 credits, and still has 12 more to go torwards his graduation. This setting is a credit recovery program where students use a software with condense coursework to makeup credits. It’s a challenge for my son whom also has a thought disorder and a specific learning impairment in math. Do you have any advise in the area of class settings?

  3. I am a mother of a 23 year old son who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder a year ago. This has been an extreme challenge to say the least. I am trying to get a better understanding of how as parents we can help our son cope with this disorder and for us as well. He is on medication and sees a psychiatrist once a month maybe. He has ups and downs. He lives with a roommate and holds down a full-time job. This hasn’t been working out the best for him and he wants to move back home and go back to college full time. We are okay with this but he has to live by the house rules while he is here. What I am looking for is there support groups out there for parents in the Portland area living with a child with this mental health issue? Where can I get more information about understanding and learning more about this disease? I’m thankful I came across your site it has been very helpful.

  4. I am a single mother with three children. My 17 year old son has severe discipline problems. He’s refusing to go to school for the last two weeks left. He just got a job cutting hair at a barber shop something he’s been working toward for 3 years. He’s never liked school and is staying back for the 3rd time. I believe he just gave up. He also is very fresh to me and I really just don’t know what to do anymore. He refused counseling,big brother,after school help,camp,ect. He is not diagnosed with anything. Please help any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for writing. From what you wrote here, things may not be as serious as they seem just now. Let’s look at what’s good such as the things your son is doing that demonstrate he’s trying to work things out for himself. First, he has a job, and better than that, it’s a job he’s wanted for a long time. This requires responsibility and focus, and job experience means he can take care of himself as an adult.

      Second, you didn’t say he was hurting anyone or property. Is this true? Really troubled kids usually cause harm to others or themselves or property. Self harm includes substance abuse, more than the usual experimentation done by teens. There is often criminal behavior or extreme risk-taking behavior.

      Third, being fresh with you (yelling, hurtful language, defiance) are typical for lots of teens. It’s not easy to tell the difference between what’s bad but ‘normal’ for teens, and what’s bad and abnormal for teens. I try to address this in my post titled “Is my teen ‘normal’ crazy or seriously troubled?”

      Your son has made it abundantly clear that he will NOT go to school. This doesn’t mean that he will never go to school. He may need a few years in the working world before he realizes he lacks an education. Lots of young people do this. There is something else to consider, is something bad happening to him at school? It could be anything: bullying, teasing, dyslexia (and shame he can’t read well), awkwardness at phys ed… There might be an unspoken and embarrassing reason he’s refusing.

      I can’t diagnose, and no one who can would do so over email, but it seems your son is coping with depressions. If true, and since he refuses treatment, you can change the environment at home to reduce his stress and outward symptoms of depression (anger, lack of sleep, sadness, irritability…). Try backing off on pressuring him for school. Offer some praise that he’s getting a decent honest job. Ask him his opinion about something, or ask him about his plans. Put effort into getting him to talk about things he’s thinking about and listen without responding. See what happens.

      You are being a good mom and showing proper concern for his future. But your son seems to be saying he is not ready to follow the paths of his peers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; its not unusual for young people to need more time. At his age, your job is less about parenting and more about mentoring. It’s really tough to let go of the mothering you’ve been doing for many years; goodness, I don’t know a single parent who finds it easy to let go and let their difficult child make their own decisions. You are not alone, but letting go of the unique mom-son relationship you have may be the best thing you can do for yourself and your son for now.

      These are my opinions, but your instincts matter most. You probably already know what you need to do. Trust yourself.

      Take good care,


  5. Hi There- Shannon here from a new TLC project with Jo Frost. Would you be able to post to your subscribers? I wuld be so grateful if yu could help me get the word out. Thank you so much. Please call me if you have any questions.
    Shannon/ 818.209.7225

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    Are you a family in crisis? If you are a parent with kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers in need of desperate help, we are SEARCHING for YOU!!! Are you at your wit’s end??? Are your kids lying, bullying, drinking, failing out of school or something worse? Or, are you just overwhelmed and with a your family’s circumstances and don’t know what to do? If so, Jo Frost CAN and WANTS to help you immediately!!!

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Your views help other readers.

You Can Handle This.

You Can Handle This.

You are not alone. It's no one's fault. Behavior disorders are disabilities! Troubled children need a very different parenting approach than 'normal' kids.

Care for yourself first, then set new goals:
1. Physical and emotional safety for all
2. Acceptance of the way things are
3. Family balance, meet the needs of all
4. One step at a time, one day at a time

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