My Potter-Aged Kids


I have three kids that are Potter-aged. As in, each of them is the same age as Harry in one of the books. My youngest recently turned eleven, entering me into this great state of parenting. So I’m going to explore the books through the lens of parenting, to see what I can learn.

My youngest, the eleven year old, has not read the series. He was too young when I was reading the series to my other two. With them, I instituted the rule that you have to read a book before watching the movie (not just applied to Potter, but generally). However, not wanting to penalize him for being so young, we relaxed the rules and let him watch during movie nights following the completion of a book. Back in the day, I would reference the books, and different characters, to teach my kids right from wrong, going so far as to forbid them from using unforgivable curses on one another (yes, I know they’re not real, but it’s the motivation behind them that I wanted to be sure to draw a line at). They made up their own versions of charms, including their favorite, Smelly Armpit instead of Expelliarmus. I’m not positive, but this may have been inadvertently cast by the youngest as he misheard the original.

These days, I’m hoping to convince my youngest to read through one Harry Potter book a year, corresponding with his age. We’re finishing up Cinda Williams Chima’s Heir Chronicles at the moment, but once that’s done, I’m hoping he’ll come on board. I can understand that seeing all the books lined up can be kind of daunting, especially for a self-professed non-reader. But, as he was the only kid to join me at Harry Potter World a couple summers ago (the other two opted to sleep in), I’m hoping.

Geeking out over Harry Potter is totally my thing. Which may be why it’s not a big deal for my kids … I don’t know. They’re familiar with it, but don’t obsess. They have never lived in a world without Harry Potter, so I don’t think they quite appreciate how special it is. I personally realized it one midnight, as I stood in line in a local bookstore, waiting to pick up my copy of the latest release (confession: I don’t remember which midnight release this was for, since I went to quite a few of them). But I had a moment when I realized that instead of camping out for concert tickets or the latest video game console, people are lined up for a BOOK! It was marvelous.

So now, I’m hoping the Harry Potter series will provide me with valuable insights into what makes my boys tick, and maybe glean a few tips on how to be a better parent. I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way, examples of positive parenting: Molly Weasley and Remus Lupin are sure to make an appearance in my upcoming posts on Harry Potter Parenting.

Nivi Engineer is a novelist and playwright in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a mom of three boys, and escapes the never-ending sports calendar through reading. This month, she's learning that the capital of Nepal is Kathmandu. And now, so will you.