This Viral Twitter Thread of Expert ‘Anti-Parenting’ Advice Is a Must-Read for Every Parent

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All it takes are two lines on a pregnancy test for people to start coming out of the woodwork with parenting advice. Before we even have the baby in our arms, we’re inundated with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” about raising them. Between the parenting books, the old wives’ tales, the Internet horror stories, and the advice of — well, pretty much anyone who’s ever had a baby, it can feel like we’re drowning in good intentions … but such an information overload can also leave us more unclear than ever.

Unfortunately, the noise doesn’t stop once your kids leave the baby stage. There’s so much more to think about with each new development: Potty training methods! Disciplinary styles! Screen time! We try to fill every waking moment with the best opportunities for brain development and learning, hoping that we’re doing enough to enrich their lives. (And, consequently, wondering if we’re falling short.) But this week, a Twitter thread emerged that should give every parent a reason to take a deep breath and realize that we’re all doing just fine. No wonder it quickly went viral — what parent doesn’t need to hear, from an expert source, no less, that they can relax?!

The expert source in question is behavioral scientist (and mom!) Dorsa Amir. Currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at UC Berkeley’s Department of Psychology, she also has a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from Yale (you know, NBD). And she begins her Twitter thread by introducing herself and her very worthy credentials: “I’m a developmental scientist who studies how children grow & learn across cultures,” she says. “I’m also an American mom who feels the extreme pressure put on parents in the West. I’m here to offer you some parenting ANTI-advice — here are a few things you can worry less about.”

Things we can worry less about? We’re all ears!

Not Everything Has to Be Educational

In this age of products purported to enhance cognition in even the littlest babies, this advice seems downright blasphemous — but it’s Amir’s first point. “It’s truly completely okay (and indeed, good) for kids to play for the sake of play. They don’t have to be learning the alphabet or animal noises. They can just do whatever silly thing they want to do. They are ALWAYS learning!”

This is, of course, backed up by science. A 2018 clinical report in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adult success.” So playing and using imagination is learning, regardless of how simple or non-productive it looks. And Amir’s second point?

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