|Reviews for Perfectly Abnormal|
| Kristophela chapter 1 . 1/11
The Slytherib side of Harry, Nice!
| Liung Arkeanda chapter 1 . 12/20/2016
Diabolical Harry is delightful! So many ways to make things go wrong...
However, while this might be realistic for an older Harry who understood that what his relatives were doing was wrong, you'll notice that in book 1 Harry doesn't seem to ever question what they do.
A child wouldn't ever be passive-aggressive in the way Harry is shown here, because children are always looking for external rewards. If they're causing mischief, they're looking for a reaction. With spoiled children, you can see sneakiness—my brother-in-law, 10 years younger than my fiancé, at age 4 or 5, would secretly fiddle with the house thermostat, and then my fiancé's parents would yell at him to stop messing with the thermostat.
"It wasn't me!"
"Well it wasn't me or your father, and it's not like your brother could be doing it!"
And this went on for WEEKS, until he finally gave it away when he started giggling to himself in the middle of his big brother getting chewed out again.
But that's for spoiled children, playing pranks on someone with an end goal to monopolize attention. School kids will sabotage their peers, etc etc. But in every case, the ruckus is a secondary benefit; the primary reward is the increased attention they receive, either in approval from their peers (in which case they're not being totally sneaky, their peers know what they are doing) or they perceive that by targeting someone who is receiving attention, sabotaging them will transfer that attention over. This is usually between siblings vying for their parents' attention, but can be the schoolyard drama where a particular child is friends with two children who are not friends, and those two vie for the attention of the first.
Neglected children, on the other hand, are not sneaky at all. Because they aren't getting any attention, and that's more important to them than some internal gratification of getting revenge. Children aren't so good at internal gratification. Think of Harlow's cloth and wire mother experiments: baby monkeys put comfort and social contact with the cloth mother over the milk of the wire mother, only leaving the cloth mother if they absolutely needed to eat.
If you've ever seen Naruto, that's an excellent representation of what happens with a child who is neglected and becomes outwardly destructive instead of inwardly. The pranks and stunts are always focused on drawing attention at the end—to a neglected child, any attention is good attention, and attention is more important than approval. Disapproval is still a form of attention, so they act out and get caught deliberately. Nearly all problem children in schools act out because they're seeking attention.
(One of the worst bullies in my elementary school was badly bullied himself—but when he bullied others, his bullies gave him approval, cheered and egged him on. He knew exactly how much it hurt to be bullied, but the attention and approval was more important. Also, he was not subtle in the slightest: a favourite game of his was to casually swipe things off my desk as he walked by, and then have me chase him around the room to get it back. Any sneakiness was to hide from the teacher, as "getting away with it" received approval from the other students. If there was a lack of approval, he absolutely would do these things with the teacher in the room.)
The neglected children that don't act out, that are inwardly destructive, that's because the positive consequence of attention is either not there or negated by something else. Parents that completely ignore their children even if they act out, or that use a punishment that is more negative than the attention is positive, that's where these children come from. Harry, I think, falls under these, because he clearly doesn't act out, and the Dursleys obviously react to him and give him attention when he does something they don't like. Throwing him in the cubboard, especially, would stop that: he acts out, gets maybe a few minutes of attention in yelling, and then into the cubboard for a time-out that lasts much too long for the yelling to be worth the total deprivation of social interaction. Because that's what putting a child in time-out is: a negative punisher which involves removing a child's access to social interaction.
And these all apply to non-neglected children, too. The biggest difference between a good child and a spoiled child is that there are no punishments to curb the spoiled child's behaviour. They get attention for being good, and also for being bad, and the attention a spoiled child gets for being bad is not generally disapproval. A toddler throws an tantrum in public while mom is paying more attention to shopping, and/or the toddler sees something they want, and mom fusses and shushes and sternly gives out threats of punishment and then eventually caves and gives the toddler what they want. Attention AND a reward! Congratulations to mom for teaching her toddler how to blackmail her. And of course, Vernon and Dursley making a massive fuss over Dudley every time he objects to anything practically guaranteed that he would turn out needy and demanding.
Well-adjusted children receive enough positive attention to satisfy their needs without resorting to solicition of negative attention, and moreover receive appropriate punishment for misbehaving. Generally, that punishment is the temporary withdrawal of approval and attention, with the understanding that the punishment is a direct consequence of bad behaviour (and isn't something that happens randomly), and that the punishment can be avoided and approval consistently and reliably gained through good behaviour.
So the take-away is this: young children are almost entirely motivated in their social interactions by the need for attention. The only time a child does not actively seek attention is if their experience has taught them that their attention seeking behaviour will not result in satisfying amounts of attention—
(and the complete denial of any attention, btw, is how feral children happen—complete deprivation of social interaction results in actual mental impairment, and in extreme cases physical abnormalities ranging from stunted growth all the way to outright death. It's called "failure to thrive".)
—or it will result in negative consequences that outstrip the reward of attention (such as physical or emotional violence, which is about the only thing that can completely override the need for attention. An abused child avoids attention fastidiously).
I often find writers in the HP fandom have trouble with the very young characters, because children are simply fundamentally different from adults, and it's very hard to imagine the thought process of a person whose brain is physically different from yours. So I like to give a little insight sometimes that might help.
Try viewing the younger characters through this lens of their behaviour being driven by attention seeking; Hermione, for instance, makes a lot more sense in how annoyingly bossy she is to her peers, and how she's a "know-it-all" and a teachers pet. Kids like that don't get attention from their peers any other way, and making themselves obnoxious receives attention. Meanwhile, the teacher was experienced to be a source of consistent, positive attention. Generally you can assume "teachers pet" children have good relationships with their parents and are predisposed toward seeking adult approval before acting out, and moreover likely have poor relationships with their peers, making the teacher's good attention that much more important. (Around school age is also where attachment theory comes in, because school children should be moving their primary attachment figure from their parents to their peers, which is where the weight given to peer sources of attention begins to trump attention from adults and especially parents and you get kids from loving homes acting out from "bad influences" and peer pressure, but that's a bit more complicated. Just remember that attention is always the driving force for children.)
A passive-aggressive older Harry for sure would be believable, he's a sassy snarkfest in canon (in third year: "What were you doing under there, boy? And don't give me that "watching the news" rubbish again!" "Well it changes every day, you see...")
But younger Harry wouldn't be able to give up on gaining approval, likely, because he has no other source of attention than the Dursleys. He would likely instead internalize their hatred and disgust with him, because that's what children do if they can't see an obvious cause for adults doing things that make them unhappy. Think of how children whose parents are getting a divorce become convinced it's their fault: parents good at hiding their disagreements before the divorce from their children are even more likely to have the children blame themselves if the divorce is nasty, because from the child's point of view they were entirely happy and a perfect family until one day they weren't, and without any obvious cause children will almost ALWAYS assume an event is related to them. (Egocentrism is another big factor in child behaviour.)
I hope you have enjoyed this mini lecture in child psychology, and that it helps you in your future writings of child characters!
| UrsulaWitch chapter 1 . 12/14/2016
Now this is a real Slytherin!Harry story. It's subtle revenge that, I agree, Salazar would have appreciated. Very well written!
| Guest chapter 1 . 11/29/2016
Loved this fic, i like to think in some sort of Way twists around the kid fic...of revenge phase of harry's life
| Cztelnik chapter 1 . 11/5/2016
| Iceheart15 chapter 1 . 10/6/2016
What a refreshing new view on a very popular old trope. I think you're exactly right, this is a much more cunning way of getting revenge and, to be honest, more realistic view of it. It was great seeing Harry stand up for himself in a way that seems very in touch with his unassuming but Slytherin self. I'm having wonderful visions of the Dursley's being visited by a social worker/psychologist and participating in family therapy.
| TwitchPotter chapter 1 . 9/17/2016
STOP I LOVE THIS
| Guest chapter 1 . 9/13/2016
i love it
| BadAZKenB chapter 1 . 9/1/2016
Nice bit of revenge without repercussions (for Harry that is!)
Too bad the cracked china cabinet not being destroyed by Dudley's control-altered toy tank right in front of either or both of his parents!
| slytherclaw7 chapter 1 . 8/26/2016
Excellent idea. I've always wondered why Harry didn't do some small things to mess with the Dursleys in his early years. Brilliant story!
| Guest chapter 1 . 8/24/2016
Love it! I like the idea of it, i can imagine that this becomes and ingrained habit until he enters hogwarts, and i like to think this habits show themselves unconciously
| emeraldgroveswife chapter 1 . 8/14/2016
I think what I liked most about this story is that Harry reminds me a lot of Matilda, one of my favorite books growing up.
| Guest chapter 1 . 7/30/2016
Quite the Slytherin Harry you've created here. A few of the stunts were too mean for me (the pins in the carpet: ouch!), but your characterization of Harry was consistent throughout. Made me think of Amelie. Nice work.
| Squarekiddo chapter 1 . 7/12/2016
A TRUE crossbreed between Lily and James! James was a prankster of awful tastes, Lily was female... so se was dangerous, and scary when angry.
| jon reeve chapter 1 . 7/4/2016
Once you imagine foul-play, it becomes real. These issues would be self-sustaining once Harry goes off to school, because the Dursleys already had issues, and they would just compound..