Coming from vastly different backgrounds, Shepard and the Duke of Sussex discussed how childhood can shape someone as they grow up and how as parents themselves, they have used those experiences to parent their own kids.
Shepard and wife Kristen Bell are parents to Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 6, while Harry and Meghan have son Archie, 2, and are expecting a daughter in early summer.
Shepard’s co-host Monica Padman asked Harry if his approach to being a dad is “opposite” of how he was raised by not only his parents but the entire Royal Family.
“What you’ll see in ‘The Me You Can’t See’ is that very much a case of, I verbalize it, isn’t life about breaking the cycle?” Harry said.
“There is no blame. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anyone but certainly, when it comes to parenting if I have experienced some sort of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so I don’t pass it on,” he continued. “There is a lot of genetic pain or suffering that gets passed on anyway, we as parents should be doing as much as we can do say ‘that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you’.”
Up to the youngest generation of royals, caretakers played a big part in raising the children as their parents jetted off for work or undertaking long tours. The kids were also sent to boarding schools, away from family much of the time. Princess Diana tried to break that cycle, but it wasn’t until Prince William and Kate Middleton who were the first senior royals to really change this.
Padman noted that it is easier said than done, to which Harry agreed.
Adding, “But for me, it comes down to awareness. I never saw or knew about it, but suddenly I started to piece it together going ‘so this where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this bit about his life and I know that is connected to his parents, so that means he is treating me the way he was treated.’ Which means, how can I change that for my own kids?”
“Well now here I am, I’ve moved my whole family to the U.S. and that wasn’t the plan,” he said to laughter. “Sometimes you got to make decisions and put your mental health first.”
“The bad stuff that happens, what can I learn from it?” Hary added about his new approach to life.
The Prince Harry and Oprah produced mental health series “The Me You Can’t See” will premiere on Apple+ on May 21.