10 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Parenting

10 things Harry Potter taught me about parenting10 things Harry Potter taught me about parentingI wish I had grown up reading the Harry Potter series, but my oldest son was born the year the first book came out.

My husband started reading the books out loud to him at bedtime when he was 5 or 6. I wasn't into it-Daddy time meant free time for me. But I got hooked towards the end of The Sorcerer's Stone. Since then we've read them all out loud and seen all the movies.

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So I experienced the Harry Potter series as a grown up (if you can call a person with their own wooden wand and dress robes "grown up"). The books are wonderful. They have been an amazing tool in getting our children to develop a love of books and reading and have become a delightful part of our family culture. I've even learned a thing or two about parenting from the series! Here are 10 parenting insights I learned from Harry Potter (spoiler alert!):

1. Choose good friends
Make sure your kids have good friends. Harry's many successes never would have come without a strong group of friends supporting him and I hate to think what could have happened if he had fallen in with a different lot.

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2. Make back to school a big deal
With the shops and fun of Diagon Alley to look forward to, who wouldn't be excited to go back-to-school shopping in the fall? We may not have access to Flourish and Blotts or a ride to the vaults in Gringotts bank, but by God, I'm going to make my kids feel like we do!

3. Family is extremely important
Even if sometimes they seem as horrible as the Dursleys, your relationship with your family is extremely important. Remember, Dumbledore sent Harry there for a reason and nowhere in the wizarding world could have kept him as safe as Privet Drive did for the 10 years before he entered Hogwarts. Even the Mafloys ultimately learned that keeping their family together was more important than wealth, power, and the Dark Arts combined.

4. Embrace their quirks
Celebrate, encourage, and love the quirkiest of their quirks. No one knows this better than Luna Lovegood (and all her fans!), whose quirkiness ideas and fashion sense made her a constant target of teasing and bullies. Luna's strange knowledge came in handy, however, as she taught Harry about thestrals and helped him solve the riddle that led to finding Ravenclaw's lost diadem.

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5. Make them feel like there's no place like home
My goal is to make my home feel as warm and cozy as The Burrow. It doesn't take a lot of money; The Weasleys aren't rich but with hard work, love and Mrs. Weasley's delicious cooking, they create a delightful and welcoming home.

6. Warn them about evil in case they encounter it face to face
Although it's important to make your home as loving, welcoming and happy as possible, you also have to prepare your kids for the dangers they might face in the outside world. You don't do them any favors pretending You-Know-Who isn't real.

7. Encourage your kids to do what they love
Mrs. Weasley had a tough time accepting that Fred and George would rather run a joke shop than pursue a "respectable" career in the Ministry; but their unorthodox path ended up being the right one for them, and an extremely lucrative one at that! I would, however, do everything possible to keep my kids from dropping out of Hogwarts (as exciting as Fred and George's departure may have been).

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8. Treat all living things with kindness and respect
Harry never treated loveable house-elf Dobby like anything less than human and how many times did that clever little elf come to his rescue? (Yes, I'm tearing up as I write this.) For that matter, Harry and his friends are constantly rescued by non-human creatures like centaurs, mandrakes, giants, and even a dragon! If any living thing seems small or unimportant, you may just be missing its true value.

9. Sometimes we sort too soon
Dumbledore was right: Sometimes we sort too soon. The series is full of seemingly evil characters who ultimately show their goodness (remember, Sirius Black was initially the villian of Prisoner of Azkaban) and vice versa (Who would have suspected "P-p-poor, stuttering Professor Quirrell" in Sorcerer Stone?). With a little insight into a person we might think differently about them and even, eventually, name our son after him.

10. The protective power of a mother's love
Don't underestimate the power of mom. Mothers will do just about anything to protect their children. Lily Potter's love and sacrifice left a lingering protection that kept Harry safe... at least for 17 years. That's big mojo. Don't mess with it.

- By Kacy Faulconer
Follow Kacy on Babble

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