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Only Child Syndrome

What is the only child syndrome?

It is a syndrome that has a negative connotation. It is more of a behavioral syndrome than a physical or biological of origin.

As the name suggests, only child syndrome is found on people who is the only child of their parents. The child behaves differently than others. (1)

Common misconceptions about the only child.image

Photo 1: Common misconceptions about the only child.
Picture Source: www.rocketcitymom.com

An only child in her frown face.photo

Image 2: An only child in her frown face.
Photo Source: static.independent.co.uk

A happy family with one child.image

Photo 3: A happy family with one child.
Picture Source: syndromespedia.com

Only child characteristics

  • Only child syndrome symptoms include the following:
  • Many people call the only child as a spilt or pampered.
  • The child finds it difficult to mingle with other people. He/she loves to be alone.
  • The child is shy.
  • There is a possibility that the child will talk to himself.
  • Only child matures slower than the normal kids.
  • The child finds it difficult to share secrets to other people (trust issues).
  • He/she does not behave properly like others.
  • Lack of competitive attitude.
  • The child is self-centered.
  • The child easily gets jealous.
  • The child has difficulties living life alone. (2, 3, 4)

Let us take a look at the only child syndrome psychology. Let us dig deeper into the interpersonal relationship of only child, only child adults in relationships, how they cope with stress, how they live their life, and a whole lot more.

  • Being an only child, the parents tend to do their best to raise the child and provide everything that will give comfort to the child. As a result, the child will do his/her very best to please their parents. The only child succeed in most aspects of life, but more on the academic side, to the point that the social life is neglected.
  • The only child spends most of their time interacting with their parents making them to mature faster. (5, 6)
  • Only child knows how to converse well with adults.
  • Once the only child reaches the teenage years, he/she develops a sense of independence and responsibility. They feel like they don’t need to depend on someone else because they can stand on their own. (6)

Common misconceptions

They are spoiled

A lot of people think that only child are spoiled brat. The truth of the matter is they are not. Being spoilt as nothing to with you being the only child. It is the way your parents brought you up. There are kids raised in big family who are spoiled. Being spoilt has something to do with parenting styles or upbringing. (7)

They are selfish

Not all only child are selfish. As a matter of fact, most of them are kind-hearted. They are people pleasers because they long for companion. They often say yes to favors.

They are achievement oriented

As an only child, they want to return the love and care given by their parents. So, they most likely focus on their academic studies. However, only child does not only focus on academics. He/she also focus on building relationship with others. Only children long for companion and so they make sure that they create a good impression to people they meet. (7, 8)

Only child only cares for own feelings

Many people think that only child does not give importance to other people’s feelings. They only care for their own feelings. This is not true at all. Only child may seem stubborn at times, but it does not mean that they disregard the feelings of other people. It’s just that they move on easily in times of disagreement. Just because they move forward does not mean they don’t care at all.

Only child always needs a moment of silence

Only child is used to being alone. They are self-reliant. They know how to handle their own problems. Sometimes, in the moment of despair, they want to be alone. When they are ready, they will eventually speak it out. (9)

Only child are anti-social and introverts

Only child are not anti-social or introvert at all. The thing is that only child is conscious of personal boundaries. They are quite reserved. With a little courage, they can eventually socialize with others.

Only child are attention seekers

Being the only child in the family, they are used to be the center of attention. They can be self-centered at times, but not in a negative way. Some people see it as an attention seeking behavior but in reality, it is not. Only child just love to be surrounded by people. (10)

Only child are unforgiving

Some people see the behavior of only child as unforgiving. However, this is not always the case. It is just that only child does not develop a sense of co-dependency. Only child have a good understanding of people’s behavior. They just tend to shield themselves from toxic people.

Only child syndrome is a behavioural syndrome that hardly need any treatment. In fact, it isn’t bad at all. There are good and not-so-good traits.

However, this does not necessarily mean that treatment is required. It will only be needed if the behavior is destructing to both the child and the people surrounding him. If the only child syndrome symptoms get out of control, the parents of the child should actively take part in making the child change for the better. A consultation to a psychologist along with support therapies can be extremely helpful. The negative effect of only child syndrome can be prevented provided the parents are responsible in raising the child.

As we all know, the home is the first school and the parents are the first teachers. The home is the smallest unit of the society and it is where the formative stage of the child takes place. If you notice that your child demonstrates negative traits, you have to correct it at an early age.

Remember the classic saying, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.” Commend the child’s positive behavior but do not forget to correct your child’s bad behavior. At the end of the day, it is the upbringing of the child that defines behavior. (3, 6, 9, 10)


  1. https://nobullying.com
  2. www.independent.co.uk
  3. https://syndromespedia.com
  4. www.care.com
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org
  6. www.lovepanky.com
  7. www.newkidscenter.com
  8. theprojectbond.com
  9. https://thoughtcatalog.com
  10. www.parents.com

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