You may be wondering how much we see parenting in Harry Potter's saga since — spoiler alert! But seriously, if you still need this spoiler, who are you and how did you find a remote desert island to live on that also has wifi? — a super crucial element of Harry's story is that he’s orphaned as a baby, when his parents stand up to the darkest wizard of all time like it ain’t no thing. However, since JK Rowling thought of EVERYTHING, of course there are a plethora of parenting examples sprinkled throughout the saga despite the fact that our hero doesn’t come from the most typical family situation. And not only are there examples, there is a hue range of them; including good examples like pretty much everything Molly Weasley does, ever, and the way Hermione treats Harry and Ron for the early books. The books also provide some pretty poor examples too, like everything and anything any Dursley does, ever.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m slightly more forgiving of some of the apparent blunders; we all make mistakes, parents included. I mean, it’s not like they’re as unforgivable as an unforgivable curse, am I right? Sorry, I’ll show myself out. But first, let’s explore some examples of the worst parenting moments from Harry Potter, shall we?
The Dursleys...Just, In General
Where to start with the Dursleys? I mean, clearly they love their son, but they aren’t doing him any favors with the endless spoiling and coddling. And, as tempting as it is to call them out on their treatment of Harry, I don't think anyone involved calls what they're doing parenting. And so, let’s focus on their strategies with Dudley. It’s difficult to pick a favorite/least favorite, but perhaps we’ll go with one of our very first interaction with them, in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone: Dudley goes bonkers because he got fewer presents than the previous year. Instead of punishing him, the Dursleys fold and get him more presents. WTF, Dursleys? That's not how it's supposed to work.
The Malfoys, Also In General
In Half-Blood Prince, Narcissa and Lucius allow their son to become a Death Eater, and let him promise to kill his school’s headmaster, who also happens to be one of the most powerful wizards of all time. Um, what? Let’s not forget that Draco is an angsty teen with feels that manifest themselves in snarly expressions. He is hardly threatening, and hardly equipped to commit murder. Yet his parents think it’s a good idea to sign him up for the job. As much as Narcissa is hair goals, and how I’m happy that they (eventually) abandoned their Death Eating ways, this is pretty much the worst parenting of all time.
I suspect Rowling included a few (minor) Weasley parenting gaffes because, without them, the Weasleys would just be too perfect. And let’s be honest, they did an impressive of a job considering Fred and George were part of their brood. Still, the scene in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets when Fred, George, and Ron steal/fly their father’s car to Harry, is pretty hard to dispute as questionable parenting. Like, yes, it’s awesome (and a required plot point) for them to rescue their friend, but doing so with a stolen airborne car is not the best decision making.
Oh, man. I want to give this man so many hugs. It’s probably not easy to be Xenophilius Lovegood. No one understands him, you know? And I cannot even fathom how it would feel to have a daughter who gets kidnapped by Death Eaters and held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, like what happens to his daughter Luna in Deathly Hallows. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. Still, while desperate times call for desperate measures, turning in Harry, Ron, and Hermione to save Luna wasn’t cool. She wouldn’t have wanted you to betray her friends like that, Xenophilius.
Hagrid (Yes, Even Hagrid)
Sometimes, when I lay down in bed at night, I imagine that I’m snuggling on Hagrid’s giant soft belly. Is there a kinder soul than Hagrid? I don’t think so. Which is why it pains me to call him out, but arguably, there were a few times when we all questioned his paternal judgment. Specifically, I think his desire to keep Aragog (the giant spider of doom, for those with a fuzzy memory) close in the Forbidden Forest, was not so smart. In Chamber of Secrets, Aragog nearly eats Harry and Ron, and as his caretaker, Hagrid should have made sure that was never possible.
The Grangers In Book 7
I’ve included this one on the list because, while surely the Grangers are awesome parents because they raised Hermione, this moment is gut-wrenching. Sure, part of parenting means that someday your kids will grow up and make their own decisions, but I don't think anyone expects them to involve memory-erasing charms.
Amos Diggory In Book 4
Oh, Amos Diggory. All you had to do was send Cedric an owl and tell him not to put his name in the cup. You had one job.
Sirius Black In Book 4
Speaking of sending owls, Sirius should really just tell Harry that the bird bites in the first line of his letter.
Harry Potter In Book 7
OK, I get it. It’s a beautiful sentiment, truly it is. But really, Harry? You and Ginny named him Albus Severus? You couldn’t have thrown him a bone? One of Dumbledore’s three middle names was Brian. And while not confirmed, the Internet speculates that Snape’s middle name was Tobias. Any combination of these names would be superior to Albus Severus. SMDH, Harry.