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Solo Success: Why single children thrive in adulthood

advantages of being a single child

Contrary to popular belief, growing up as an only child does not hinder social or professional development. In fact, only children often excel in adulthood. With 20% of American households being one-child families, it’s time to debunk the myths and highlight the unique strengths that only children bring to the table.

Childhood dynamics of single children

Psychologist Dr. Brianna Gaynor, an only child herself, recalls a joyful childhood filled with parental attention and ample social activities. According to Dr. Gaynor, the solo experience fosters creativity and the ability to enjoy solitude—traits that siblings often learn later in life. Dr. Adolph “Doc” Brown, III, also supports the positive outlook on being an only child, which contrasts with the 2015 Pew Research Center finding that 86% of people believe families should have at least two children. He notes that only children often receive continuous attention and positive reinforcement, promoting creativity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.

Seven traits of single children

Maturity: Only children often display greater maturity due to undivided adult attention during their formative years.

Independence: They become self-sufficient early on, mastering self-reliance and often excelling as self-starters in adulthood. However, this independence may sometimes make it difficult for them to ask for help when needed.

High achievement: With focused parental support, only children frequently set and attain lofty goals, driven by a desire to please and succeed.

Need for solitude: Comfortable with alone time, only children often need solitude to recharge and de-stress, which is crucial for their well-being.

Deep friendships: Valuing their friends as chosen family, only children are often loyal, understanding, and willing to go to great lengths for those they love.

Trustworthiness: Their independent upbringing makes them reliable and committed, traits they carry into adulthood.

Confidence: With close parental guidance, only children often develop strong self-confidence.

Dr. Brown attributes the success of only children to the absence of sibling competition, which allows parental principles to remain unchallenged. Dr. Gaynor adds that only children often become self-starters and hard workers, finding comfort in solitude and trusting their inner voice. However, she also emphasizes that personal growth and development vary, and everyone has the potential to strengthen their weaknesses and achieve a fulfilling life, regardless of sibling status.

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