People who had a lot of freedom growing up tend to share these 10 character traits as adults

Each of us has a unique upbringing that molds and shapes our adult personalities in nuanced ways.

What if that upbringing involves a lot of freedom and autonomy? 

Growing up with a lot of freedom means making your own decisions, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and learning from your mistakes. This freedom in childhood can shape you in unexpected ways.

As adults, those who experienced this kind of upbringing often share some distinctive traits. They’re typically traits that reflect their youthful independence and the lessons learned from it.

In the following piece, we’ll delve into the 10 character traits that seem to unite adults who enjoyed significant freedom during their formative years. If you find yourself nodding along, you might just realize how profoundly your free-spirited childhood has shaped you into the person you are today.

1) Independence

Growing up with a lot of freedom often translates into a strong sense of independence in adulthood.

This isn’t surprising when you consider the nature of a free-spirited upbringing. Children who are given a lot of freedom as a child likely learn to navigate the world on their own from an early age. Without excessive guidance or restrictions, they have the liberty to make their own choices and bear their consequences, fostering a sense of self-reliance. They learn early on how to stand on their own two feet and trust their own judgement. 

This independence and self-reliance likely sticks with them as they grow older and gets carried over into their adulthood. As adults, these individuals tend not to rely heavily on others for direction or validation. They’re confident in their ability to carve their own path and make decisions that align with their personal values and aspirations. They’re not afraid to take risks because they believe in their ability to handle whatever comes their way.

Independence is a common thread among adults who had lots of freedom as children. If you’re given a lot freedom growing up, you might likely become an independent and self-reliant individual. While some might see this trait as stubbornness or reluctance to ask for help, it’s just a testament to the resilience and self-assuredness that your childhood freedom instilled in you.

2) Adaptability 

Adaptability is another common trait among those who had a lot of freedom in their upbringing.

Growing up with a lot of freedom often means growing up with a lot of uncertainty. Without stringent rules or guidelines, you had to make your own path, never quite knowing what the outcome would be.

This experience likely made you more comfortable with the concept of uncertainty as an adult. Instead of being paralyzed by the unknown, you embrace it. You’re flexible, adaptable, and open to change because you’ve spent your life navigating through uncertain circumstances. 

Take my case, for example. Growing up, I was given the liberty to explore different paths and interests without much restriction. This freedom allowed me to face various situations, some challenging, some exciting, and others downright confusing. But each one taught me something valuable.

I learned to adjust quickly, to find solutions in unexpected places, and to thrive in ever-changing circumstances. It was about finding my way out of the maze, dusting off when I stumbled, and charting new paths when I hit a dead end.

Now as an adult, I see this adaptability as a natural part of my character. It’s helped me navigate career shifts, move across continents, and adapt to different cultures and ways of life. And I attribute much of this adaptability to the freedom I had while growing up.

Freedom encourages exploration and experimentation, which in turn fosters adaptability. So it’s no surprise that many adults who had a free-spirited childhood often exhibit a high tolerance for uncertainty and the ability to thrive amidst unpredictability. If you were given a lot of freedom growing up, you most likely grow up to become a highly adaptable individual. 

3) Self-motivation

Self-motivation is a trait that is often cultivated in an environment of freedom. When children are allowed the liberty to pursue their interests at their own pace, they learn to be self-driven and motivated.

Research conducted by the University of Rochester supports this idea. The study found that individuals who were given the autonomy to make their own decisions as children were more likely to be intrinsically motivated as adults.

This means that they’re driven by internal rewards rather than external ones. They don’t need the promise of a prize or the threat of a penalty to get moving. Instead, they’re inspired by personal growth, satisfaction, and the joy of achieving their goals.

These individuals are often go-getters, always ready to take initiative and push forward without needing constant supervision or prodding. It’s a trait that can set them apart in various aspects of life, from their careers to their personal development.

4) Creativity

It’s no secret that freedom and creativity are closely linked. Unhindered by rules and regulations, children with a lot of freedom to explore and experiment often have the liberty to let their imagination run wild. Freedom is like fuel for their imagination. They learn to see possibilities where others see dead-ends, and to create solutions from scratch.

Creativity isn’t limited to art or literature – it also applies to problem-solving, innovation, and even day-to-day tasks. It’s about looking at things from different angles and finding unique ways to tackle challenges.

Adults who had a lot of freedom in their childhood often carry this creative spark with them. They’re not afraid to think outside the box, to question the status quo, or to challenge conventional wisdom. This high level of creativity can make them particularly effective in roles that require innovation and originality. They are likely the ones coming up with out-of-the-box solutions, novel ideas or innovative approaches to problems. 

Despite popular belief that creativity can’t be learned, it’s been observed that environments that foster freedom and exploration can significantly enhance a person’s creative potential. So, your free-spirited upbringing might just be the secret behind your creative prowess today.

5) Resilience

Life doesn’t always go as planned, and those who grew up with a lot of freedom are often well-equipped to handle the bumps in the road.

When children are given the space to make their own decisions, they inevitably face the consequences of those choices. Sometimes, those outcomes are less than ideal, but these experiences serve as valuable lessons in resilience.

As adults, these individuals tend not to be easily discouraged by setbacks. They understand that failure is part of the journey and that each obstacle is an opportunity for growth and learning.

Rather than seeing a setback as a dead-end, they see it as a chance to reassess, adjust, and bounce back stronger. This resilience can help them navigate through life’s challenges with grace and determination.

6) Struggle with structure

Contrary to what one might think, individuals growing up with a lot of freedom don’t easily adapt to structured environments.  Instead, it might have made them somewhat resistant to routine and rules.

As a child, they were used to making their own rules, setting their own schedule and following their own path. The transition into a highly-structured adult world, with its deadlines, expectations and societal norms, might have been challenging for them.

Growing up without boundaries or limitations could have instilled in them a drive to always challenge the status quo, question the societal norms and standards, and push the boundaries. 

This doesn’t mean they’re incapable of adhering to structure or meeting expectations. However, they may find themselves craving flexibility and autonomy in their professional and personal life, as it mirrors the freedom of choice they were accustomed to during their childhood.

7) Open-mindedness and empathy

Empathy People who had a lot of freedom growing up tend to share these 10 character traits as adults

Open-mindedness and empathy are related traits often found  in individuals who had a lot of freedom while growing up.

Being allowed to explore freely during childhood can lead to diverse experiences, which might foster empathy and open-mindedness towards others and their perspectives.

Empathy is about being able to step into their shoes, to understand their feelings and perspectives. It’s a deep and compassionate understanding that connects us to each other on a human level.

Individuals who had a lot of freedom growing up often have this ability to connect with others in a profound way. They understand that everyone has their own journey, with unique experiences and emotions.

This empathy can make them exceptional friends, partners, and leaders. They’re able to listen, understand, and respond to the needs and feelings of those around them, creating stronger and more meaningful relationships.

I can share my personal story. Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to explore new ideas, cultures, and perspectives. They instilled in me the belief that there’s always more than one way to look at things, and the importance of respecting different viewpoints.

This openness has shaped my life in countless ways. It’s led me to travel and experience diverse cultures, broadened my perspective on social issues, and enabled me to engage in constructive dialogue with those who hold different beliefs.

Even when faced with unfamiliar or challenging ideas, I’ve learned to stay receptive and considerate. The freedom I had during my childhood has gifted me with an open mind and a deep sense of empathy in adulthood – a trait that’s proven invaluable in both personal and professional aspects of life.

If you find yourself an open-minded individual with a sense of empathy, it could very likely be deeply rooted in your free-spirited childhood. 

8) Confidence 

Confidence is another trait often found in individuals who had a lot of freedom in their childhood.

When children are given the liberty to make decisions, express their thoughts, and pursue their interests, they learn to trust their judgment. They grow comfortable with taking risks and making mistakes, understanding that it’s all part of the learning process.

This self-assurance often carries into adulthood. These individuals are likely to trust their abilities, make decisions with conviction, and express their opinions openly. They’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe in or take the road less traveled.

Individuals growing with a lot of freedom are likely to become confident adults who believe in their abilities and have the courage to take initiative, even in the face of uncertainty or adversity.

So if you often find yourself exuding confidence, it could be because of the freedom you were given as a child.

9) Risk-taking

Another common trait among individuals who had a lot of freedom growing up is the courage to take risks.

An upbringing filled with freedom often involves the opportunity to take risks and face the consequences. This could range from climbing a tree too high, navigating through a bustling city alone to choosing which college to attend. The freedom to make choices, take risks, and learn from both success and failure can instill a strong sense of courage and self-belief, helping them trust their own judgment and decision-making abilities.

As adults, those who had a lot of freedom as children tend to have the courage to trust their instincts and take risks. They’re not easily daunted by the prospect of failure or uncertainty. They’re more willing to step out of their comfort zone, as they might have learned during their childhood that the greatest rewards come from taking the biggest leaps of faith.

So if you were given a lot of freedom growing up, you might become a courageous risk-taker as adults. 

10) Authenticity and nonconformity 

Possibly the most defining trait of adults who had a lot of freedom growing up is nonconformity. 

An upbringing filled with freedom might have given them the space to explore their interests, make their own choices, and express their thoughts freely, giving them the ability to know themselves on a deep level. They learn their preferences, their unique strengths and weaknesses, their values and principles, what they believe in, and what truly matters to them.

With less pressure to follow strict rules or guidelines, these individuals might be more inclined to think independently and not feel as compelled to conform to societal norms and standards. They are likely to challenge the status quo, question the norms, push the boundaries and go off the beaten path. 

This self-awareness leads to living an authentic life true to themselves. They’re not trying to fit into someone else’s mold or live up to someone else’s expectations. They’re comfortable being themself, with all their strengths, passions, quirks, and imperfections.

They embrace their individuality without pretending to be something they are not. This authenticity and nonconformity trait might make them more likely to carve out their own unique paths rather than following conventional wisdom. 

If you find yourself a nonconformist who are not afraid to take the road less travelled and carve out your own paths, it could very likely due to the freedom and autonomy you were given in your childhood. 

Conclusion: It’s about the journey

The journey of growing up with a lot of freedom shapes individuals in profound ways. It’s a path of exploration, self-discovery, and personal growth, leading to unique traits that echo into adulthood.

While the ten character traits we’ve discussed are common among those who had a lot of freedom in their childhood, it’s important to remember that each person’s journey is unique. The impact of freedom on one person may not be the same on another.

Yet, there’s a certain beauty in this diversity. It reminds us that our experiences shape us in myriad ways, adding layers to our personality and coloring our perspectives.

So, whether you grew up with a lot of freedom or otherwise, reflecting on these traits could provide valuable insights. They could serve as a mirror to your past, shedding light on the experiences that shaped you or as a compass guiding your parenting choices for the future.

Remember, it’s not about labeling or categorizing people, but acknowledging the profound influence our upbringing has on us. It’s about understanding that the path of freedom in childhood often leads to a road rich with resilience, creativity, independence, authenticity, and nonconformity in adulthood.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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