11 Parenting Strategies You Didn't Realize You Learned From 'Harry Potter'
OK, I can admit that sometimes I look pretty closely for ways to connect J.K. Rowling's masterful works to my life. It can happen in a variety of different ways, whether that be celebrating the feminist acts of the female characters, sourcing Harry Potter quotes about parenthood, or figuring out what my Hogwarts house says about my personality. There is no shortage of content for superfans. However, something that's still new to me is figuring out just how the parenting ideas of the wizarding world can actually be applied to muggle life. Like, can anything a 115-year-old male wizard says actually apply to my life as a millennial mom?
YES. YES, IT CAN.
Granted, not every wisdom bomb that Dumbledore drops is relevant. Like, his subtle warning about vomit-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans doesn't really apply to most of us. But the wise remarks he makes about lightness and darkness and making the right decisions? I mean, that's all gold. And he's certainly not the only one with knowledge to spare. Here are a few nuggets that I've gleaned from some of the main characters for totally unselfish reasons, and not at all because it gave me the chance to dive deeply into my favorite series (again).
Stand Up For Your Kids When They Need You
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B*TCH!"
Molly Weasley, Deathly Hallows
Every. single. time. that Mrs. Weasley defeats Bellatrix Lestrange, I want to cheer. My son is young enough still that he's not tussled with any evil witches (that I know of) but I hope to someday be able to channel her strength should I ever need to, oh, I don't know, talk to his school about coach about something important, like grades or playing time, or a dark wizard overlord trying to take over the building.
Be Your Own Person And Don't Let Your Past Define You
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Dumbledore, Chamber of Secrets
Ugh, perhaps this one speaks to me because I am still recovering from my past and the many photos I have of myself with questionable bangs. Like, just because my college roommates could nail the side-swoop and perfectly style it on a daily basis, doesn't mean that I needed to commit to it for like four years, right? If only Dumbledore had been by my side.
You Can Always Change Your Mind
Inspiration: The Malfoys, who stopped fighting in The Battle Of Hogwarts at the very last minute. (Deathly Hallows)
Perhaps my son is tired of me exercising my power of veto, especially when we're about to leave the house and I decide that he should be wearing his dog sweater instead of his dinosaur sweatshirt.
Love Conquers All
Inspiration: Lily Potter, who died protecting her son (the entire series is pretty much based on this concept)
Indeed, I softly whisper this one to myself when woken at five in the morning. And when we're on the third dirty diaper since dinner time. And when he's cutting teeth and inconsolable. And I'm sure in a million parenting moments I haven't even encountered yet. Seriously, who other than J.K. Rowling could have created a character as perfectly aspirational as Lily Potter without that character even being alive for any of the book?
Stand By Your Partner...But Do Your Own Thing, Too
Inspiration: Ginny, who kisses Harry and then continues fighting like a boss (Deathly Hallows)
Sometimes, I have to make sure I'm not taking this one too literally. Like, gingerly patting my husband's back while he deals with our son's dirty diapers, and then going back to an app on my phone doesn't really count (although technically I am standing beside him as I do it).
Don't Underestimate The Value Of Loyalty
Inspiration: Snape, when Dumbledore asks, "After all this time?" and he replies,
Experts have yet to conclude whether or not Snape was the ultimate ride or die, or if he was just...well, obsessed. Personally, I'm in the camp that thinks his loyalty to Lily is admirable, but I can admit that there are perhaps some boundary issues going on there.
Don't Be Jerks, Or Your Kid Will Be Turn Out Terrible
Inspiration: Vernon and Petunia Dursley and their insufferable son, Dudley
If I ever catch my son counting his birthday gifts, I will most certainly cancel that day's trip to the zoo.
It's So Cool To Be Smart, Guys
Inspiration: Hermione, who's described as the brightest witch in her class, and who checks out ginormous tomes for "a bit of light reading."
Granted, I know geeking out and embracing one's inner nerd is all the rage these days, but it didn't feel like such a thing would ever be possible when I was a scrawny elementary schooler with glasses that made my eyes look huge, who brought home good grades on every single report card. The more heroes who value booksmarts and intelligence, the better.
Don't Hesitate To Have Some Fun Sometimes
Inspiration: Fred and George Weasley, just...in general.
Sometimes, when all else fails, fart noises and tickles are the best way to get my son to laugh, and there's no shame in that.
Love Them For Who They Are As A Person
Inspiration: Ron, who, once he gets past his initial interest in Harry's past, becomes Harry's best bromantic partner.
Even if my son becomes as famous as Harry Potter, Justin Bieber, and Beyoncé combined, I will not hesitate to keep him humble, and threaten him with those bathtub pictures we now have. It's on the inside that counts, not the number of Twitter followers one has.