Why My Kids Read Harry Potter
We are huge Harry Potter fans in this house. In fact, I wrote an honest letter to J.K. Rowling about how much we love the series and appreciate her for it. That said, Harry Potter can be pretty divisive in certain homeschool settings. If you want to see a group of moms clam up really quick tell them that you let your kid read Harry Potter. It’s almost comical. Suddenly you are viewed through a different lens and seen as a different kind of mom. This drives me insane. Today I want to talk about these divisive reasons and why my kids read Harry Potter.
Why My Kids Read Harry Potter
Harry Potter shouldn’t be a divisive marker at all. In fact, I think it is a great series for kids. I decided I would break down the reasons why I have been not just judged but have had my parenting outright attacked. I want to break down why I disagree and why we chose to read the books anyway.
This one gets me every time. I have had parents tell me that I am giving my child to satan because I let her read Harry Potter. Um, what? When I was a teenager I was a practicing Wiccan. I can tell you that there is a complete difference between the things I was taught as a teen and the things in the books. In fact, most of the “spells” in the book are actually words in latin. This article from Business Insider actually breaks some of these down with words like lumos meaning light and Avis meaning bird. Some will argue that it is the heart behind it. The element of magic. I ask this question, “Why is chronicles of Narnia ok with a White Witch?” Same concept of magic. Just a different execution.
I think that what parents need to do is look at where their child is developmentally and spiritually. If you are concerned about the influence of this, talk that through it with them or read it out loud. We had some fantastic conversations about our beliefs versus those depicted in the book. Our job as parents is to set a firm foundation for our child’s faith not to live their faith for them.
I get it. As you go up in the series the presence of dating and relationships becomes more prevalent. There are many references to snogging and crushes between certain characters. That said, they are done tastefully. I think there are two options here. Either wait until the child is older and let them read those books when they are more mature or have an open dialogue about the relationships represented in the book versus what your child may be expected to have. This area is a little more difficult for me because I believe that we have to give our kids all of the information to make the best decision on certain things.
It could be easy for me as a mom to say that I don’t want R dating until she finishes college and I want her to wait until she is married to have sex. I can shelter her from every mention of a relationship that doesn’t line up with that and play guard to virginity. OR, I can teach her the why behind what I believe and understand that she will eventually live in the real world and encounter dating situations. I can talk to her about what she believes and let her form her own opinions based on truth and trust. Reading a book like Harry Potter is not going to cause your child to date and have sex. Those choices will come from their beliefs and ultimately are up to them.
There are some darker elements to the books. These are even more prevalent as you move on through the series. In fact, the infieri are one of the things I was most nervous about when letting R read these. With themes that focus on death, torture, and pain it can be a very heavy read. However, it also gives your child the ability to draw some great parallels. R immediately equated Voldemort to Hitler. She said that what he did was no different than the torture and murder of people because they were different.
I think that when you look at these books with the understanding that they are fiction and not a fact it removes a lot of the fear. As I have said before, it opens the door for great conversation. What do we do when someone we love dies? What happens when we fail? How should bullying be handled? I answered many of these questions while reading this series.
Now let’s talk about the knee jerk reaction
So you don’t like Harry Potter? You think it is inappropriate for your child to read? Ok. I respect that. That’s your choice. Do me a favor. Don’t look down on a mom because she lets her kid read it. You don’t have to agree with someone to show them respect. I have been in situations where I was laughing with people and having a great conversation. I mentioned Harry Potter and it was like I said I worshiped satan himself. This is not ok. Homeschool moms have enough on their plate without being afraid to speak openly in a group. Disagree and move on. I may love Harry Potter but I’m an ok person to hang out with and I have some awesome wisdom from some of the times I totally messed up. Don’t miss out on a great homeschool friend because of Harry Potter. It’s not that serious.
Harry Potter Fans..
Don’t force your homeschool mom friends to listen to 100 reasons why they should love the books. In the same way that I hope they will back off, I challenge you to respect their beliefs. You can think they are 100% wrong while treating them with respect.
Looking for more?
- Harry Potter Food
- Harry Potter Snacks for Lunch Boxes
- Taking a Harry Potter Fan to Universal Studios
- Harry Potter Snacks
- DIY Harry Potter Book Tote
- Harry Potter Gift Ideas
- Harry Potter Inspired Gryffindor DIY Mickey Ears
Amen! Love your perspective and totally agree. We love HP, but entered into it (as we do with any books or movies) intentionally and prepared to discuss worldview, magic, and other issues. Not only would I compare Narnia, but ANY Disney movie (the fairy godmother in Cinderella has a wand and casts a spell, for goodness sake!). That hypocrisy has been my biggest beef with friends/family who tell us that we’re doing participating in something ‘evil’. I’m with you that we need to respect other’s parenting choices. Pinning to share this on my blog!
My son just flew through the series at 10 yrs old. We’ve had friends & family pushing us to let him read them since he was 5! While he would’ve loved the books in general, he also would want to read the entire series in a marathon. Obviously, much of the content would not have been appropriate or able to be understand at 5 yrs old or emotionally until now.
He’s always been a voracious reader! He read the entire series within a week. We’re a secular homeschooling family in the deep South, so I can relate to much of what you shared. We’ve been really fortunate to find a secular group to hang with that encourages and embraces each of us flying our “freak” flags. This post is my intro to your blog & I’m looking forward to exploring it more.
Sometimes I wish I could hang with a few secular groups. Some of the faith-based ones can be a bit overwhelming.
Yippy! This is exactly what has been running through my mind lately. How so many have very strong feelings against Harry Potter, but love Star Wars, Avengers, Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who and any number of other ‘magic’ filled movies/books. It doesn’t bother me at all if the reason someone doesn’t read it is, ‘I just don’t like it/it gives me a weird feeling.’ But, if it’s a different reason, are you following through on that in other parts of your life, have you stopped to think it through…have you taught your children to think things through, a skill that we all need to work on!
I totally agree with you on everything you’ve listed. When the books first came out and made a huge stink within the Christian community, my nieces were still in elementary & middle school. They lived with their mom & my in-laws and they were forbidden to have anything to do with HP…AT ALL..to the point that if their teachers mentioned it they were to leave the class. Because we also lived there & our oldest was just a baby, I never got into HP.
Things changed though as we left there & got older, I felt like I had to ‘sneak around’ to eventually become the Potterhead I am today. Our youngest received a HP calendar recently for her bday & my FIL was there. I felt like I had to rush it out of the way before he realized what it was. He has no clue she even got a whole Hermione outfit & wand for Christmas…oh lord, what would he think?
We have watched all the movies and are making our way through the books slowly now. The youngest is the most into HP w/ me & was too young to remember the movies, so we re-watch the movie after finishing a book to compare them. It’s so much fun!
Also, about the whole Narnia thing…that was also a big NO NO for my nieces & my SIL had a full on fit when she realized they were selling Narnia merch in a Christian bookstore. When her baby became a high schooler & had the opportunity to receive extra credit to bring up her grade, she was told to refuse it since it was to write an essay involving Greek Mythology.
A friend of mine was forbidden to read the HP series as a child/young adult.
Later on, as an adult, she decided to try reading the series because they were one of her husband’s favorites. She fell in love, she was super upset that she didn’t go to see the HP attractions in Orlando when she was there a year or two prior. She told me she wasn’t ready to watch the movies because she was too emotionally invested in the books, lol
I completely understand that feeling. It breaks my heart when people miss out on the series. I found that while the movies left some elements out, they did a brilliant job of covering some of the key points and couldn’t have cast many key characters better!
I don’t see the problem with Harry Potter. I don’t really care. I love Harry Potter land at Universal! I don’t really like some of the things Rowling has said publically, but like you said, you’re not supposed to raise them in a bubble.
I have nothing against the Harry Potter series. I don’t think it’s exactly high literature, but it is fun for kids. I’m a Christian.