If I said to you, "I know this little kid: He's a total Slyterin," you'd probably think of Macaulay Caulkin in The Good Son or the titular character in We Need To Talk About Kevin. Slytherins, very reasonably, have a reputation for not just dabbling in the Dark Arts, but for plunging head first with gusto into a bubbling cauldron of toil and trouble. While Hagrid wasn't exactly right when he said, "There's not a single witch or wizard went bad who wasn't in Slytherin," he's not far off. Slytherin has, in fact, produced more dark wizards than any other house. But the simple fact of the matter is that their good nevertheless outweighs their bad. So when I say, "I know this little kid: He's a total Slytherin," sure, I might be referring to a demonic little hellspawn. Or I might be referring to someone I consider a brilliant, cunning, talented, and tenacious dreamer who is destined for glorious acclaim.
Or both. It happens.
So before we go any further, let's just make sure we've got this down: Slytherins aren't inherently evil. Lest we not forget that Harry Potter himself would have been sorted into Slytherin had he not preferred another house. Honestly, in writing about both Slytherin and Gryffindor, I've found way more similarities than differences, which is perhaps what makes their rivalry so bitter.
So now that we can go into this objectively, ask yourself: is your bebbeh a Slytherin bebbeh? Let's find out...
Cunning is a chief trait of Slytherins. While many use this cunning for evil, they don't necessarily have to. Many Slytherins prefer harmless scheming, wheeling, and dealing to straight up machinations. Your kid might be a Slytherin if they frequently rely on their cleverness to get ahead... or if they have an endearing sneaky streak.
Slytherin kids don't need a Barbie Dreamhouse. Give them a shoe box, some string, a couple empty empty toilet paper rolls, and cotton balls and they'll build their own Barbie Xanadu. Slytherins are resourceful by nature. Like "make an Oscar-winning movie about their scrappy rags to riches story" levels of resourceful. They have an internal drive and ingenuity that sets them up to make do and succeed.
Slytherins are hugely ambitious and they do not settle for less than what they are after. Slytherin kids have lofty plans for the future, but unlike many of their peers, they are not merely capricious fancies: These are written down in stone and will come to fruition, come hell or high water. Ambition is a great thing, but be careful: Because Slytherins will allow absolutely nothing to get in between them and their dream, sometimes even scruples.
Like their rivals the Gryffindors, Slytherins have such a sense of drive and purpose that they are very willing to forgo following the rules to achieve their goals. Which might not be so bad if the rule is silly... But as an authority figure in a Slytherin child's life, be wary. Your child condescendingly flouting your laws might be another hint your kid is destined to speak Parseltongue one day.
Self-preservation is the name of the game when it comes to Slytherin tots. You know when your parents asked, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it to?!" Gryffindor kids would be like, "Yeah, because I'm brave AF and invincible!" Hufflepuff kids would like, "Well, I wouldn't be a very loyal friend if I didn't follow my friends, would I?" Slytherin kids would be like, "F*ck that noise! You're on your own, idiots! I'm gonna live!" Slytherins' survival instincts lend an air of cautiousness to them that is appreciated by worried parents of these adorable little snakes everywhere.
Do you think such an ambitious bunch will be satisfied in a support position? If you offered a Slytherin child the role of vice-president of the Student Council they would laugh in your face and orchestrate a coup within a week. They might be a titch dictatorial, but as my son's pre-school teacher would cheerfully tell me all last year, "This is just an indication of great leadership skills, mom!"
Salazar Slytherin, founder of the house, had a break from the rest of the Hogwarts founders when he got all creepy about only wanting to admit "pureblood" wizards (no kids from non-wizarding families allowed). #NotAllSlytherins hate wizards from Muggle families (like Hermione) or mixed familes. Even Snape, who was Slytherin's head of house, was of mixed lineage, as was Voldemort himself. But there is a tendency among Slytherins to close ranks and be a little haughty, considering themselves superior to their peers. If your child has exacting standards when it comes to friends, you may have a Slytherin on your hands.
You can't keep a Slytherin kid down; their combination of resourcefulness, cunning, self-preservation, and strong personalities ensure that they'll find a way to get back up. (Case in point: They really weren't ready to let that whole Voldemort cult fall by the wayside despite numerous, seemingly insurmountable obstacles.) Your little Slytherin isn't just going to get back on the horse after they fall off. They're going to get back on the horse and scream, "Your insolence will not be tolerated! BOW BEFORE ME!"
Slytherin takes pride in their heritage and history, which, contrary to popular belief, is not all creepy magic eugenicists and Death Eaters. The house produced countless renown wizards, including none other than Merlin himself. Slytherin kids are the first to remember holiday and family traditions, and may have a particular kinship with their grandparents or aunts and uncles. You may find that a school project on making a family tree becomes a subject of great interest to them.
Who likes a goody-two-shoes, anyway?
Slytherin children are a force of nature... and often a lot to handle. But if you have one you can be sure to expect great things of them.
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