“It Is Only Fear That Gets In the Way” – Harry Potter and Parenting Through Puberty

June 22, 2015
Leslie Dixon

Yes, I was a big fan of the Harry Potter series. I have all the books and I’ve seen all the movies. So this morning when I was trying to figure out the best method to get a point across about the fear of sex and puberty, I thought of Harry and the fact that everyone — excluding Harry himself —  was terrified to say the name Voldemort.

What made the name and person so scary?  Somehow, people thought that it would conjure up the man himself to rain terror on those who dared face the fact he existed. But in the story it  was scarier to stay in denial. In fact, not saying his name made wizards and witches more and more unable to  deal with his existence. In the end it was better that they faced it and get over the whole denial issue.  Now I have to admit he was a pretty scary character and it took Harry, a true champion, to face and vanquish the fear surrounding him.

But if Harry hadn’t been brave enough to speak the name and face the person,  then eventually Voldemort would have won.  Voldemort was cagey and his intentions were pure evil and Harry had to face many challenges before he was able to overcome him, but Harry was relentless.

So what do Harry Potter and Voldemort have to do with the my work, the point I’m trying to address?  Time in time again my Voldemort is the topic of sexuality.  In our society sex permeates everything.  You can’t turn on TV, internet, magazine without SEX  being in your face. And yet, like Voldemort, we run in terror of facing SEX and addressing something that — once faced — is nothing compared to our imagined fears.

Now I don’t want to say I’m the Harry Potter of Sex Ed, but I have to say that twenty-five years in the business gives me some cred. Also there are some days I actually feel a little “Harry Potterish.”

In Harry Potter, oftentimes the showdown with Voldemort turns  out to be more illusion than reality, that is to say, what’s feared isn’t what’s faced. Once realized and faced, this takes the power away from terror and helps Harry finally vanquish Voldemort in the end.

So what are we actually afraid of when it comes to the topic of sex?  What is  the fear surrounding having open and honest conversations with our children? When referring growing up and SEX we oftentimes refer to it as just  “it” or having “the talk.”  And even when we refer to it as sex, that term leaves something to be desired.

For the most part those who attend my courses handle the frank and honest conversations around the topic of how to educate their children. In our Rites of Passage course (5th & 6th grade) one of the topics discussed is current statistics in the tween and teen community.  The environment is very similar to a Harry Potter movie when Harry openly says Voldemort’s name and the others cringe in fear. And in the end the only way to truly vanquish Voldemort was to face him head on. So it is with the topic of sexuality.

Sex and sexuality have  been and will be part of our society, we need to get over our fear of the topic, of ourselves,  and begin having open honest conversations with your children.


  • Too much inappropriate  information is being disseminated out in their community
  • They need correct information to make good choices
  • Saturation of sexual contact can lead to lower self esteem
  • If they don’t get this conversation from you then they’ll get it from the internet or peers

Like Harry, and his challenge in facing Voldemort, the only way to deal with the adversary is to face it head on.

So how can a parent embrace “Harry Potter” qualities?

  • Start simple and work up to the more difficult topics
  • Find a way to put on your “big girl/boy pants” and begin the conversation
  • If you have your own adolescent issues find a way to overcome them you are a mirror for you child
  • Get informed and educated. Read books, websites, and take courses
  • Leave the judgments and lectures behind, practice listening and communication

I have to say the beauty of our courses is, as a parent, if you’re faced with anxiety and resistance, we offer you solutions based on success. You and your child face the issue together in an open, safe, empowering environment. You’ll receive the tools you’ll need to have open conversations in the future with your child, and most of all, you will establish powerful connection has been whereby your child sees you as approachable. What more can you ask for?  And you didn’t have to spend 7 books getting to the solution.

In the end, Harry faced not only Voldemort but his own fears as well and we had a happy ending. Be willing to face your own fears around the topic because in the end every parent wants a happy ending for their child.  It is only fear that gets in the way.  

Educating and empowering!  

Leslie Dixon


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