17 Telling Personality Traits Of Someone Who Grew Up an Only Child

Factors like less complicated family dynamics, reduced support networks, and more peaceful households can profoundly affect children growing up alone. While individual experiences obviously vary, we collected 17 general traits individuals who didn’t have brothers or sisters during their formative years often acquire.


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Children without older siblings to assist them often become strongly independent. Mom Junction reports “This arises from their time spent in isolation in their growing-up years. They have learned how to entertain themselves and are comfortable being alone.” This early-learned independence often translates into adulthood.


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Growing up without other children (particularly younger ones) forces only children to interact more with adults and to mimic adult behavior. This hastens their emotional and intellectual development and makes them more mature in general.

Strong Relationships

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When you don’t have a sibling (or three!) as a reliable, rock-solid friendship option, making relationships outside your family unit holds even greater importance and value. According to The Ethel, these relationships are frequently deep, meaningful, and long-lasting, with close friends even sometimes taking the role of siblings.


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Thriveworks Counselling states that, without siblings to lean on, only children become excellent at caring for themselves and doing things without assistance. As adults, they tend to be very capable of handling their own needs because they learned to trust their judgment and handle challenges alone from a young age.


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With plenty of time to themselves, only children often develop vivid imaginations, are good problem solvers, and are typically very creative. The British Psychological Society states that only children often become adept at creating their own entertainment, like inventing games, setting themselves tasks, and making up stories.


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Because most only children have their parent’s undivided attention, they tend to be more goal-orientated and ambitious than those with siblings. With only one child to ‘pin their hopes on,’ many parents of only children are particularly determined to motivate their lone offspring to fulfill their potential and be successful.

Strong Communication Skills

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With no one else at home to talk to but grown-ups, only children engage in more adult-level conversations from a young age. JSTOR reports that this significantly increases communication skills- improving their ability to listen, concentrate, and maintain a conversation while also increasing their vocabulary and comprehension.


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Only Child claims solo children are more likely to be perfectionists, particularly in academic pursuits. Being surrounded by adults at home means they tend to measure their own achievements by high standards, even as children. They may also feel extra pressure to fulfill their parents’ expectations.

Lack of Empathy

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Growing up without constantly having to consider the needs and feelings of ever-present siblings can make single children less empathic. A psychology study found that “only children scored lower on agreeableness, which is thought to be a measure of sociability, empathy, and connection to others” (Forbes).

Attention to Detail

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Without the chaos and distraction of a household of rowdy siblings, only children tend to be better at noticing small details and observing their environment. Consequently, they often notice changes that others may overlook and are adept at focusing on specific tasks.


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Only children often develop more ‘adult’ traits early on, which can translate to them being better leaders- more mature and responsible than other people of the same age. Medium claims that single children are more comfortable being in charge and more likely to be in roles guiding others or making decisions.

Happy Alone

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Unsurprisingly, growing up without brothers and sisters makes only children comfortable spending alone and more likely to crave ‘alone time.’ For many, having their own territory and social boundaries is important to their mental health, and they often need less social interaction than people from large families.


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Being raised without siblings throwing insults and generating self-doubt, only children tend to be more self-confident and emotionally resistant to negative criticism. It also helps that they’re often the center of attention and don’t have to deal with sibling rivalry- ultimately making them more self-assured.

Strong Work Ethic

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Only children are raised with the full force of their parents’ motivation and drive, so they’re often naturally very focused and hard-working. With fewer distractions and higher rewards for achievement, only children develop a strong work ethic from infancy and are often focused on achieving long-term goals.

Close Bonds With Parents

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With no sibling relationships, only children often form exceptionally close bonds with their parents. It makes sense that they value such relationships greatly and that, as adults, only children often make more effort to spend time and look after their parents than those who have siblings to share the responsibility.


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Being raised around adults means that single children are generally smarter and more mature than their classmates, largely because they have their parent’s full attention and focus. Parents of lone children also tend to have more time and money to invest in their children- providing benefits like a better quality education, more homework help, and extra tuition.


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Contrary to their self-confident nature, only children can be overly emotionally sensitive to harsh words or negative opinions about them. This is because they weren’t ‘toughened up’ during their formative years by the taunts, teasing, and even physical fighting associated with siblings.

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