How the ‘Prince Harry Effect’ Could Shape the Future of Australian Families
Who runs the world? Firstborns, according to a parental expert.
Sixty years ago a family of four was the norm, but today almost 60% of Australian families have two or fewer children.
Michael Grose, who is one of Australia’s foremost parenting writers, explains that firstborns ‘run the roost’ in their families because they tend to come first for resources and provide leadership at the top. within their home.
“A lot of responsibility goes on your side, the expectations of parents are pretty high,” Mr. Grose told ABC News Breakfast.
“And then you’ve got other kids and you’ve got somebody to lead, so to speak, and you like to keep your place in the family and be that boss.”
With smaller family units, the percentage of firstborns has also increased, with almost 50% of the population in the developed world being the oldest in their family.
First-borns are better educated and earn more
So what changes the dynamic between siblings who can see one being outgoing and playful while another is tense and anxious, despite sharing the same environment, parenthood and genes? ?
Mr. Grose thinks it’s a birth order product. This not only reveals who we are in our childhood, but also in our life later.
A study from the University of Sydney of more than 5,000 American children found that the benefits gained by firstborn babies begin as young as a few months to three years old.
These benefits, according to research, can be followed later in life through higher wages and better education.
He said firstborns are often very good performers, but tend to stick to areas they’re good at because they seek approval.
But with that comes some difficult character traits, including perfectionism and anxiety.
This means that in adulthood, they tend to be cautious and cautious in their decisions in life, Mr. Grose said.
In contrast, Mr. Grose believes second and second children tend to be more flexible and diplomatic.
“One of the things about secondborns is that they fit into the life of the firstborn,” he said.
“So from an early age, they are woken up to pick up the elder one from kindergarten or kindergarten.
“The former defines the pattern of life and the latter integrates … at a personality level, more able to cope with change, in things like COVID that are happening now.”
The Prince Harry effect
In 2003, the average family in Australia had three children. That number has now dropped to two.
This led to what Mr. Grose called the “disappearance of the middle child”.
In their place, Mr. Grose believes we are now seeing secondborn babies adopting the behaviors of the youngest child.
This means that if the firstborn is the keeper of the rules and the decision maker, the secondborn, who is now the youngest, is going to be the subversive at the family reunion.
Enter what Mr. Grose coined the “Prince Harry Effect”.
“Prince Harry – is almost the star child of this second youngest,” he said.
“So we have Prince William, who is that typical firstborn, born to rule, did it all in the right way.
“And poor old Harry, if William was the heir, Harry is the replacement. Every time William has another child, he moves back a… away from the throne.”
Prince Harry alongside his wife Meghan Markle appeared in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in February where he criticized the lack of support they had received from the royal family.
Harry said in the interview that he was disappointed that no one in his family had spoken about Meghan’s treatment in the UK press.
The lack of support has led Harry and Meghan to take an almost unprecedented step to step down from royal duties and move away from the UK.
“If William was the rule keeper then we start to see Harry as the rule changer and the rule challenge,” he said.
Mr Grose said the effect is especially strong when both children are of the same sex in a family.