It’s clear that a child’s personality depends on many factors, such as the environment in which he grew up and the type of education and upbringing his parents gave him. However, we can still point to certain aspects that many only children share, and that make up their personality.
So let’s take a look at the personality of the only child.
Only children tend to be winners because they are generally highly motivated. They demand a lot from themselves and they usually set high goals. So they tend to be responsible, organized, and meticulous.
The downside of this is that, since they are so ambitious, their expectations can be very high, which causes stress in them and in others. They can also become strict and impatient with people who are not up to their standards. They tend to be stubborn and hate unforeseen events.
Only children often have excellent linguistic skills as a result of constant interaction with adults. As for their thinking, they tend to be more logical and practical in problem-solving. They gather the relevant facts and information and then analyze things until they reach a satisfactory conclusion.
The negative side of this aspect of their personality is that, since they have these skills, they tend to be reluctant to accept others’ ideas or to admit they are mistaken.
Their educational level tends to be higher (better grades on tests and higher levels of academic and professional achievement). This could be because they had the advantage of having all of their parents’ financial resources and attention dedicated just to them.
Once again, there is a downside to every advantage. In this case, their parents may tend to be very demanding of them and they can end up feeling constantly pressured, which can create anxiety and fear of failure.
They also tend to be perfectionists and they expect others to do things correctly. When this doesn’t happen, they can get frustrated. This perfectionism can lead them to be too critical and intolerant with themselves and others. They often have a tendency to procrastinate, since they fear that their work is not good enough.
Finally, since only children have spent a lot of time alone and didn’t have anyone to play with, they develop their imagination and creativity. Since they didn’t have to compete with their siblings for their parents’ attention, they are less jealous and envious.
The downside to that is that some only children can become too dependent on their parents, or the reverse. So normal separations of life, like going to school, sleeping at the house of a relative or friend, going camping, etc., can be extremely difficult for both the child and his parents.
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This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.