As a mom to three young kids, Lisa DiSciullo, our NJMOMpreneur of the week, knew that just surviving as a parent wasn’t good enough: She was sick of the yelling, disagreeing and feeling like a failure. Recognizing that she needed to be her best self to parent, she signed up for parenting classes, where she learned how to guide her kids with less stress (even through those bumpy teen years). That experience made her wonder—if she could change, why not help other parents do it too? Fast forward to now: Her kids are happy, resourceful adults and she’s a Certified Parent Educator at Parenting Matters, offering parents guidance through classes and one-on-one sessions. We sat down with Lisa to pick her brain about the ways that technology has changed parenting and kids, why it’s okay to start a business later in life, and the best place to pick up fresh produce in New Jersey.
Parenting Coach at Parenting Matters & NJMOMpreneur Lisa DiSciullo
NJMOM: Where do you live and vacation in New Jersey?
Lisa: I live in Summit and vacation in Avalon.
NJMOM: What is the business that you run, and why is it so unique?
Lisa: I am a Parenting Coach at Parenting Matters and there aren’t too many of us around, so my services are fairly specialized, offering private coaching with individuals or couples. I was a former corporate trainer, and have used those skills to build relationships with my clients. I give them the tools they need to gain cooperation, improve harmony and teamwork, and reduce frustration and conflict within their families. I also teach classes and workshops to share those ideas and strategies with struggling parents.
Trust your dreams, doubt your doubts. We all have doubts and it’s futile to listen to them—the only way to continue striving is to keep the dreams alive.” — Lisa DiSciullo
NJMOM: What inspired you to become a parenting educator and coach?
Lisa: I was a frustrated parent and didn’t realize that sharpening my communication skills and being clear on my long term goals—rather than just surviving—was the formula that I needed to have less stress. I had to give my kids the best of me so they could be their best selves, and through that, I was inspired to help guide other parents too.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about being a parenting coach at Parenting Matters?
Lisa: I love seeing and hearing about the changes in each family. My clients can’t believe the positive differences they see in their daily interactions with their kids and their parenting.
NJMOM: How do you juggle running a business and being a mom?
Lisa: I didn’t start my own business until my kids were in college. But I believe that every parent needs help—you can’t do parenting alone, especially if you’re working full-time. Lean in to all the help you can get: Organize play groups where you exchange kids and share responsibilities, hire a sitter to watch your kids or allow your mother-in-law to help here and there.
NJMOM: Have smartphones, tablets and other new pieces of technology changed the way you coach parents to raise their children?
Lisa: Fundamentally, no, because it’s all about creating boundaries and helping kids self-regulate. The challenge is that technology is so fast-paced and addictive to everyone that we don’t know what to do with it yet. Kids should explore boundaries, so that they can take ownership and create their own limits. It’s like overeating Halloween candy or playing in the pool for three hours and then having a meltdown—or for teens, dealing with drinking and sex. When it comes to these thrilling types of things, we must teach our kids to learn some self-control. What you can do is hold off on getting a phone for them as long as you can and then set limits when you do. It also means keeping up family communication: Set aside an hour or two with no screens and share one-on-one time, like playing games or taking a walk. In the disconnected world we live in, we need to connect with our kids to encourage person-to-person communication.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Lisa: My business doesn’t feel like work, it’s incredibly fulfilling, and I love the flexibility.
NJMOM: When a mom or dad feel like they’re at the end of their rope with their kids, what do you suggest is the first thing that they do?
Lisa: Take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. Think about what you want your children to learn in that moment, and all the things that are going well. Practicing gratitude reaffirms all the positive aspects of our life, and brings down stress. Once your stress level is down, you can move to problem solving the situation. In reality, there are very few parental situations that need to be addressed immediately. Waiting to resolve the problem (unless it’s a health or safety issue) helps you think more clearly, instead of offering a knee-jerk reaction.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Lisa: The Parent Encouragement Program, a non-profit in Washington, DC, changed my family and my life. The organization and the people are shifting the conversation about parenting to maintain and improve connections between kids and parents.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is it so important to you?
Lisa: Trust your dreams, doubt your doubts. We all have doubts and it’s futile to listen to them—the only way to continue striving is to keep the dreams alive.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Lisa: I’ve been vacationing in Avalon since I was 9 years old, when my grandparents took me there for the first time. My kids have gone every summer since they were born. Now that everyone has grown, we still go every year for a week-long family vacation. We love the beach, cooking dinners together and walking around town.
NJMOM: What are some New Jersey businesses and products you can’t live without?
Lisa: We love Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream in Stone Harbor and always stop there during our vacations. At home in Summit, we do dinners out at Huntley Taverne and pick up breakfast or lunch at Batavia Café. We also never miss the Summit Farmer’s Market for fresh NJ produce and delicious prepared foods—they even do a winter version at a local church.
NJMOM: What is the most rewarding part of motherhood?
Lisa: I would say, being on the other side and looking back, what I’m most proud of is the fact that our kids love to spend time with us as adults. While we’re together, we really enjoy each other and value our family time, which makes me feel like we’ve reached our goal. They’re independent, financially on their own (I always joke that they’re off the payroll now), and two of them are getting married. They have great jobs that suit them, and they’re all in good places—that’s the most rewarding part.