Raising troubled kids is the hardest parenting job of them all.


This website is dedicated to helping parents and caregivers of troubled children, teenagers, and young adults.


If you’re just coming to terms with a child’s mental illness, this summary lays out absolute basics for any parent.


Here are over 70 articles on different disorders and behaviors, covering everything from what to know to how to manage. In the comments section, parents’ own stories are really helpful.


Read stories, advice from professionals, and wisdom from other parents’ stories.  This straightforward book clarifies how to reduce a troubled child’s negative behaviors  and strengthen the fabric of family life.  Truth in advertising: it’s not easy and there’s no quick fix.  So we prepare for a marathon.


Help is available



The onset of my child’s illness was devastating.  I watched her transform from an amazing person into someone who couldn’t manage life…  even trying to end it several times.  Doctors and therapists helped my child, but were unable to help me, the parent who loves the child and takes direct care 24/7.

What are you teaching her that I should replicate in the home?  How will the illness unfold over time?  What do we plan for?  What do I do in a crisis?

It took almost 20 years of committed study and communication with 100’s of parents and mental health professionals to gather the facts and wisdom that help parents, regardless of their child’s behavioral problems.

—-The bad news is that disorders are often degenerative; as an illness progresses it changes the child’s brain, and then it’s harder to treat.

—The good news is that an early start and the right approach, can turn their life path around. Have hope.



Raising your troubled child will change your life forever. You’ll become a stronger, wiser person who knows what really matters. You’ll never again waste time worrying about little things. You’ll be an extraordinary parent.

This month’s featured post


Question:   My daughter’s therapist keeps telling me what to do, or that I’m not doing the right things at home.  But my son is the one with the problem, why all this focus on me?

   You could be the problem or the therapist could be the problem.  You are working hard to manage a difficult situation, and you clearly care about your daughter because you are bringing her to therapy, but your own stress in the office may look like you’re the one with the behavior problem.

My guess is that the therapist is trying to tell you how to change your parenting or communication style to reduce your daughter’s stress and better manage her issues.  This is a hard message to take when you know you’re doing everything you can, and you’ve been put through a lot by a difficult child.

Someone who doesn’t know me is telling me I’m not good enough?  What?

How can you tell it’s the therapist with the problem?

One problem I’ve seen with therapists is that they simply don’t know how to talk to parents about parenting issues without sounding like they are making presumptions and blaming the parent for the child’s problems.  Our society blames the parents.

Some therapists try to protect the child.  That’s why they got into child therapy in the first place, they love children!  Yet ‘pro-child’ therapists have been known to subtly ‘protect’ children from their parents.  It’s taken a couple of decades for parents like me, working with the system, to change that attitude. The mental health profession has begun to realize how critical the family is to the child’s treatment success.

Another problem is when a therapist doesn’t have children, or doesn’t have troubled children.  They are confident in their own parenting abilities and don’t know what it’s like living with a troubled child 24/7, so they make assumptions and make you feel like you need to defend yourself.

The worst situation is when a therapist embarrasses you or blames you in front of your child.  That’s grounds for firing them!  You may need parenting guidance, but you should never have someone undermine your authority.  They are teaching your child it’s OK to challenge your rules and limits.

A good therapist or doctor will show compassion for a stressed parent, listen to their side of the story, and help the parent feel understood and believed.  Then they will take the time to explain exactly what the parent might do differently at home and why.

You should leave every meeting feeling better about yourself.

Try giving this therapist a chance first, and ask him or her if you can meet them without your daughter, and request that they fully explain their advice.  Let them know that this has been hard for you and you’ve felt blamed, and that you need their support.  Then listen carefully.  If you’re still not convinced of their point, ask them if there’s a book or a website or support group for you (it’s easier to accept frank, honest advice from others who’ve lived and learned from their mistakes).  If you feel you can’t work with this therapist, consider finding someone who takes a better approach to you and your situation.

You and your child have to “click” with a therapist or doctor, or they can’t help you.

Parent to Parent Guidance

Parent to Parent Guidance

Margaret Puckette is a Certified Parent Support Provider, and assists parents on how to effectively raise their troubled child. She believes parents need realistic practical guidance for family life and school, not just information about disorders. Margaret has mentored families for over 20 years. She is an author & speaker, and knows from personal experience there is reason for hope.

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

Practical Guide for Parents

Practical Guide for Parents

A guide with practical steps for reducing stress at home and successfully raising a troubled child. You use the same proven techniques as mental health and other professionals. It starts by taking care of your wellbeing first, then taking an entirely different approach to parenting.
Amazon $14.99, Kindle $5.99