The beginning of chapter 4 is one of my fears. No! I don’t have a fear of my children finding out that they are wizards. I am a bit scared of having my wife nudging me in the middle of the night to tell me that she hears a noise (yes, I sleep sound, so I doubt that I would even hear the loud booms of Hagrid’s pounding on the door) only to go the door and find that a gianormous man has broken the door down.
For Harry this begins a whole new series of emotions and events for him. Although I refuse to believe that he and Dudley didn’t soil themselves at that moment. As we discussed in the kids’ discussion, Harry has to be going through quite a bit of confusion at this moment. After all, a giant that performs magic is telling him that he is a going to a wizard school, his aunt and uncle reveal more about his past, and Dudley sprouts a pig’s tail.
As a foster/adoptive parent, the thing that I really notice is I don’t want to relate myself to the Dursleys (they’re the evil influence of the book) but I do parent like them some of the time.
Ok. ok. I haven’t dragged my family out to an isolated shack in the middle of no where because I was scared that magical beings were going to blow us up. I do know however what it is like to tell my kids that they can’t wrestle around together because they may act out inappropriate behaviors that they should not know how to act out. I know what it is like to time bathroom use to ensure that no one has a chance to eat soaps, deodorants, or other non-food substances. I know what it is like to yell at a child for what was probably innocent behavior, but I’m scared the action has been acted out as a result of past abuse. As a foster parent in particular, I know what it is like to be paranoid that a child’s skinned knee or bruised elbow would somehow be seen as abuse on my part. I mean, a caseworker once accused someone caring for our children of burning one of them with a cigarette. This person didn’t smoke, the child picks at their skin leaving all kinds of marks, and the person was highly offended, of course! Horror stories run rampant of false abuse charges.
The worst part of the Dursleys parenting is that failure was NOT acceptable. I know that there are times when there is a crying child in my presence when I failed as a parent. My guilt runs over me like a ton of bricks and it is unacceptable.
This is NOT how I want to parent. It’s not how I want to live.
Chapter 4 presents Hagrid as the polar opposite to the Dursleys. He doesn’t have it all together though. However, Hagrid looks upon Harry with fondness and a sparkle in his eye. He tells Harry the truth even when it’s difficult for him. I mean in my head he stuttered for at least 30 seconds when he tried to say the name Voldemort. Hagrid makes mistakes, and he accepts them.
As a parent I want my child to have a Hagrid father. However, I think it’s tough for two reasons.
- There is not one parent on Earth who hasn’t made a mistake and felt the heavy guilt.
- As a foster/adoptive parent, I was not naturally bonded with the child in my care.
I think it takes practice, effort and support from other parents to get to this kind of parenting. I need to practice not being upset when the dessert has been devoured by the child who fears living a life of hunger again. I have to force myself to realize that my child from a hard place can handle more truth about their past than I conceive. I need a shoulder to cry on when a tantrum has lasted for 4 straight hours from an older child and nothing I do makes the screaming stop. I need others to refocus my perspective so that I don’t concentrate on all the issues my child and I need to work out.
I don’t think Hagrid is seen as the brightest character in the Harry Potter series, but I would like to adopt his vision.
Now It’s Your Turn:
- How do you see your parenting as the Dursleys? as Hagrid?
- What are 3 traits about your child that make you proud of them?
- Do you think it’s ok for you to make mistakes as a parent?
- Who do you call or talk to when you feel overwhelmed as a foster/adoptive parent?
- Do you feel like you have bonded with your child(ren)?
- Do you feel like your child(ren) have bonded with you?
Help Other Foster & Adoptive Parents:
Comment below to tell us some bonding activities that other parents can do with their children. We would also like to hear your thoughts and questions.