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Developmental scientist shared her 'anti-parenting advice' and parents are relieved

In a viral Twitter thread, Dorsa Amir addresses the "extreme pressure put on parents in the West."

parenting, dorsa amir, parenting tips
Photo by kabita Darlami on Unsplash, @DorsaAmir/Twitter

Parents, maybe give yourselves a break

For every grain of sand on all the world’s beaches, for every star in the known universe…there is a piece of well-intentioned but possibly stress-inducing parenting advice.

Whether it’s the astounding number of hidden dangers that parents might be unwittingly exposing their child to, or the myriad ways they might be missing on maximizing every moment of interaction, the internet is teeming with so much information that it can be impossible for parents to feel like they’re doing enough to protect and nurture their kids.

However, developmental scientist and mom Dorsa Amir has a bit of “anti-parenting advice” that help parents worry a little less about how they’re measuring up.

First and foremost—not everything has to be a learning opportunity. Honestly, this wisdom also applies to adults who feel the need to be consistently productive…raises hand while doing taxes and listening to a podcast on personal development

“Not everything has to be ‘educational.” wrote Amir. “It's truly completely okay (& 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!”

Amir also encouraged parents to remove the pressure to be constant teachers, offering the reminder that “direct instruction” is actually quite rare, and that kids are “extremely good” at learning through observation.

This hands-off approach can be good for parents who also might feel they should provide neverending entertainment. According to Amir, “Kids should be allowed to experience boredom.”

“It's part of the human experience & it's okay if they're bored. You do not have to feel obligated to constantly entertain them or provide new activities for them. They should be allowed to generate their own activities & ideas,” she wrote.

Similarly, Amir stated that kids should experience arguments, disagreements, negative emotions and general conflict. Instead of “getting involved” to prevent these uncomfortable situations from happening, she suggests letting kids practice resolving and processing on their own.

Amir then gave full on permission to simply be the “boring” parent. Not the “zany cartoonish friend.” Not the supplier of “600 toys.” Not someone whose schedule “revolves 100% around your child’s preferences.” In fact, she noted that kids actually enjoy “mimicking” adults, so it’s completely okay to have them do household chores, play with “adult-utilized” objects instead of dolls or action figures and do “adult-centered” activities like grocery shopping.

Ultimately, Amir’s goal was not to bash any particular way of parenting, but rather to encourage parents—especially confused first-time parents—to give themselves a break. “There are a million different ways to be human and they’re all valid,” she wrote.

This anti-advice clearly struck a chord with parents who have indeed felt pressure.

“Loved this thread, thank you. I spend a lot of time worrying I’m a bad parent - are my kids spoilt? Are they sad? Am I overprotective? Is letting them walk alone to school dangerous? Have they eaten enough? Have they eaten too much Etc etc..,” wrote one person.

Another added: “Thanks for this!! The pressure in the US to be my toddler's entertainment 24/7 and to buy the best organic and educational everything marketed by influencers is absolutely bonkers.”

“Incredible thread. Those of us on the fence on becoming parents get overwhelmed with the frankly absurd expectations that modern parenting appears to require.…a post like this gives me hope!” commented one person, noting how intimidating these societal expectations could be for those who are still figuring out whether or not they want to start a family.

As Amir said—at the end of the day, we’re all human. Part of being human means making mistakes and allowing for imperfection. That goes for parents too.

You can check out the full thread here.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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