Local Expert: Di Ana Pisarri and The Parent Shift

Hidden in the residential buildings of Tribeca are hundreds of folks running businesses that, without storefronts, are hidden from view. Some are brand new, some have been around for a while, and all are contributing to the hive of expertise we have buzzing down here. From time to time I will feature one of them in this series.

Di Ana Pisarri is looking to make a parent’s world spin a little slower (and really, who isn’t up for that?).

As The Kids Coach for the past 15 years, she has worked with families to help kids hit developmental milestones and identify issues kids struggle with and even help ID schools that are right for them. (She also has a six-month program called Family Legacy where she works with the entire family.) And now she has developed a program called The Parent Shift, which was a result of seeing parents and kids struggling with the burdens and challenges of too much structure, the internet and all the stress that comes along with them.

“We are going so fast and operating under so many different stressors – we find we are always reacting to that stress response first,” said Pissari, who at 45, has been at this a while. “I needed to understand why and see what we could do to help parents navigate that.”

The Parent Shift is a master class podcast series where Pissari interviews a parenting expert each week. A subscription gets you one podcast per week for one hour, delivered to your email inbox for 21 weeks. (You can listen to that month’s podcast for free, but if you want access any time, you must upgrade the subscription.) Topics include kids and pornography, intervening with a bully, and brain development. This month’s podcast is with Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of “How to Raise an Adult,” an anti-helicopter parenting manifesto which gave rise to one of the top TED Talks of 2016.

The idea is to make it a simple stop for key takeaways. “Not every parent can read 165 books,” says Pissari. (But if you can, here is Pissari’s healthy parenting reading list.)

Pissari has an interesting angle on this: she is not a parent herself, and she thinks this gives her an advantage. When she meets a family and experiences their family dynamic, she is a blank canvas – “I don’t bring in my own experience. I think it is one of my greatest gifts.”

What she is really driving at is what she calls directive parenting, which by her philosophy is a way to manage our *own* stress rather than help our children. But the result of the helicoptering is it gets in the way of the child’s ability to make choices and get things done on their own. An example: a parent who sorts out the yellow gummy bears from his child’s treats (true story) stymies the kid’s chance to just manage himself.

Her advice: let your kid pack his own backpack. It may take a long time for some kids to be able to do it and do it right, but parents have to have faith that their child will grow and mature.

“Parents have to trust that their kid will get there,” she said. “We can’t change our kids, but we can change our response to them. If your emotional response is bigger than your child’s, then you can’t help them.”


1 Comment

  1. What a great idea for a series! I live in the same building withDi Ana and never knew what she did (but liked her because she’s a dog lover). Thanks for sharing!