If you display these 8 traits, you probably grew up as an only child

We all have our unique quirks and characteristics that set us apart. But did you ever wonder if some of those traits are tied to your childhood? More specifically, to your birth order?

If you’re an only child, you might not even realize how much it’s shaped you.

You may often feel misunderstood or labeled as ‘spoiled’ or ‘lonely’. But, hey, there’s more to being an only child than these clichéd stereotypes.

Maybe it’s time to look at this from a different perspective. It’s time to explore the traits that make only children unique and special.

I’m not here to make sweeping generalizations or stigmatize anyone. I’m just here to share insights that might help you understand yourself better.

Let’s dive in and discover these 8 traits that suggest you probably grew up as an only child.

1) You’re comfortable being alone

One of the most telltale signs of being an only child is the ability to be alone and actually enjoy it. I have a cousin who’s an only child, and I remember that he could spend hours in his room alone, just reading or doodling in a sketchbook.

According to him, he could even just sit in silence and watch the world outside his window. Strangely, he says he never felt lonely, just peaceful.

Today, as an adult, he still cherish those moments of solitude. It’s his time to recharge, to reflect, and to simply be.

If you are an only child, you probably know how enjoyable solitude can be. In fact, it’s also one of the reasons why…

2) You’re often more creative

Research has shown that only children tend to be more creative. Without siblings to interact with, they often turn to their imagination to keep themselves entertained.

This innate ability to think outside the box and come up with imaginative solutions can carry into adulthood.

Whether it’s problem-solving at work or coming up with a unique idea for a social get-together, if you’re an only child, you likely display a spark of creativity that sets you apart. 

3) You are mature beyond your years

Aside from being creative, as an only child, you’re probably a little more mature than your peers. 

That’s because you often found yourself in the company of adults rather than kids your own age. Your parents’ friends, your teachers, even your parents themselves became your primary social circle.

I’m willing to bet you were referred to as a ‘little adult’ when you were younger. My cousin, the one I told you about, was like that.

He was always more comfortable discussing politics at the dinner table rather than playing catch in the yard with neighborhood kids.

This early exposure to adult conversations and situations often results in only children developing a maturity beyond their years.

This isn’t to say that if you’re an only child, you don’t enjoy fun and games; it’s just that you may sometimes prefer intellectual stimulation over physical activity.

4) You have a strong bond with your parents

So, because you didn’t have any siblings to bond with, naturally you are as close as a child can be to your parents.

In an only-child family, parents play a lot of roles. Yours weren’t just your caregivers. They were probably also your confidantes, your playmates, and even your best friends.

You share everything with them – from your smallest victories to your biggest fears. This bond doesn’t dissipate as you grow older, but rather strengthens.

You cherish their advice, value their opinions and seek their comfort in times of distress. This beautiful bond is a treasure that only children carry into adulthood.

However, even though you might have been very close with your parents, that doesn’t mean you were dependent on them. If anything, being an only child actually made you more self-reliant, as the next section shows…

5) You’re self-reliant

As an only child, you know the value of self-reliance at an early age. That’s because your parents can’t be there 24/7 to attend to your every need. Nor do you have siblings you can run to for help.

So you might have experienced how to solve practical problems early on. You might have gotten a crash course in DIY solutions, like fixing a broken bike chain or figuring out how to get the cookie jar above the kitchen shelf. 

And you know what? You’re also more confident. All that time you spent alone has given you a sense of personal ability. That there’s a lot you can do on your own.

On top of that, you don’t have any siblings to be compared to. And that can really give you a healthy sense of self-confidence

6) You’re goal-oriented

That self-reliance and confidence serves you well in other areas too. Because you’ve got goals to achieve and dreams to fulfill.

Only children are often ambitious and goal-oriented. Without siblings to share resources and attention, they learn from an early age to set their sights on what they want and work hard to achieve it.

Research has found that kids without siblings were more ambitious, topping even firstborns on ambition. 

It’s easy to see why. No competition. No distractions. With only one child to care for, parents have more time and energy to devote to them. They are also more likely to notice their child’s achievements. 

All of these factors combine to create an environment where a child can feel driven to succeed. 

7) You’re well-adjusted

It’s a common misconception that only children are spoiled, selfish, bossy, antisocial, and maladjusted.

The idea is that without any siblings to compete with, only children have their parents undivided attention and that they can get whatever they want.

In fact, there’s even a name for it – Only Child Syndrome.

But new research has proven otherwise. On the contrary, it seems that only children are actually more well-adjusted than people with siblings.

Ironically, it’s for the same reason that the original myth uses as a basis – that they have their parents’ undivided attention.

This means that their home environment is warm and emotionally stable. Plus, having only one child makes for less conflict at home, which leads to marital satisfaction between the parents.

8) You value your relationships

Being an only child doesn’t mean you’re a loner. On the contrary, only children often form deep, meaningful relationships with their friends or cousins, who often become like surrogate siblings.

Take my cousin, for instance. Growing up, we were practically inseparable. We shared secrets, had sleepovers, supported each other through life’s ups and downs – I was like the brother he never had.

Even as an adult, I see him having healthy relationships, whether friendships or romantic partnerships. 

Final thoughts

Far from the stereotypes that label only children as either “spoiled” or “lonely,” the reality is far more nuanced.

With early lessons in self-reliance and problem-solving, only children often develop into resourceful adults.

And while they may not have the built-in peer group that comes with having siblings, they usually form deeply meaningful relationships with their friends and relatives.

If you saw a bit of yourself in these traits, it could be a testament to the impact of your unique upbringing as an only child. And that’s something to be proud of!

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Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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