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Why Only Children Are More Successful


I was raised as an only child and was not ever made aware that I had brothers. I found my brothers by accident. Looking back I am grateful to have been raised as an only child in ignorance of the knowledge of any siblings because according to statistics, only children are 98% percent more likely to succeed (a statistic concluded by Harvard University.)

In 1978, the Chinese government introduced the one-child policy, arguing it would help alleviate social, economic and environmental problems. At least, that was the official story. Success is the real agenda, It did so because only children are brilliant, only children are forced to use their imagination to overcompensate for their lack of siblings, we learn communication skills early because we are more involved in an adult atmosphere, we learn rejection early and make friends with it because rejection is our Ally, rejection teaches us strength and we learn new techniques as we even create our own. Only children have to exist within society the same as everyone else.


My experience of being an only child has been unequivocally positive, if I had not been I would have been a different person.

There are things about myself I am convinced stem directly from being an only child. First, I love my friends beyond words and love to give. There are a handful of people to whom I am devoted to the point of it being considered a fault.

The emotions I have for others are similar to what friendly siblings experience. With the exception that I know plenty of people who don’t see their siblings from one year to the next. Yet nobody seems to feel sorry for people who can’t bear their own family.

Second, because I grew up with no experience of sibling rivalry, I have zero professional jealousy. I have never, not once, looked at one of my peers and begrudged them their success, rather, I celebrate it.

The only negative I can ever come up with about being an only child is that I shall bear the burden of my family’s inevitable decline on my own. While this will be difficult, I can think of no greater privilege than looking after the family to whom I owe everything.


As someone who has no siblings myself, I couldn’t help but wonder: Are “only” children, who are by definition first-born and receive all parental attention, the highest achievers?

Taken to the extreme, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Condoleezza Rice, John The Baptist and Franklin D. Roosevelt are just some examples of highly successful people who had no siblings.


Only children, who experience no sibling rivalry, aren’t driven to conform to any family role and may be freer to develop their natural aptitudes. “With regard to intellectual ability and success, only children are much like first-borns, since they receive the undivided attention of parents and grow up in a richer intellectual environment not degraded by the addition of other children in the family,” says Sulloway.

As the sole focus of parental attention and approval, only children are usually raised to feel positively special, says psychologist Carl E. Pickhardt, author of “The Future of Your Only Child.” They are typically supported and encouraged by parents to develop themselves, and often want to achieve highly for their own sake and also to live up to their parents’ high investment and expectations. What’s more, without siblings, they are more used to the presence of adults, which may sharpen social and verbal skills at an earlier age.

“Growing up as an ‘only’ child can be very empowering, creating very self-dedicated, strong-willed individuals who push themselves hard to achieve what they want,” says Pickhardt.

Indeed, researcher Toni Falbo at the University of Texas has found that only children tend to have high self-esteem and typically perform better in school and get more post-secondary education than other kids.

While only children may turn out to be success-seeking perfectionists, they certainly aren’t perfect, says Pickhardt. As adults, only children can be too focused on their outcome, often assuming they are right and know best, he says. They can also feel entitled to have more than equal standing and importance in relationships, and may be controlling.

However, the idea that they are brats who don’t play well with others has been widely debunked. “Contrary to psychological folklore, only children do not appear to be less sociable or more neurotic than other children,” writes Sulloway.

International surveys of birth orders and behavior proves first borns around the world, it turns out, have higher IQs, perform better in school, and are considered more accomplished by their parents as well as studies world wide. Looking at evaluations of children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1979, the researchers found that mothers are much more likely to see their first children as high-achievers. They regard their subsequent children as considerably more average in their class and for only children their IQ’s, natural intelligence and natural rapport far exceed what can be taught through conventional education because their ability to morph into their homo sapient environment making the only child a chameleon of personalities.

So, for those of you who have only children, you have nothing to worry about. There is a reason China is now the most successful country in the world. It is because it is run by an entire generation of only children.

Let the world take note.

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