Here’s a List of Personality Traits to Help Parents Understand Their Kids

Photo: Waponi,Flickr
Photo: Waponi,Flickr

What personality trait does your child display most often?

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As parents we often observe certain personality traits, but without guidance it may be difficult to articulate these traits, or even identify them specifically. This is a list of personality characteristics you can use it to guide observations of your younger child. It's also a great starting point for discussions with older children. I adapted the list from here, where it is used in conjunction with other questions as part of a career path exploration.

See Also: How To Understand and Support Your Child's Core Personality

Honesty: Having integrity and keeping one's promise.

Courtesy: Being thoughtful of others.

Responsibility: Being accountable for duties and following through with your duties.

Compatibility: Being in harmony with others and having the ability to work well with others.

Loyalty: Showing devotion to people and/or things.

Enthusiasm: Having a strong affinity towards and eagerness/ willingness to work with others or things.

Open-mindedness: Being receptive and interested in the opinions and ideas of others.

Self-Control: Controlling your own actions and feelings.

Influence: Motivating or encouraging others.

Initiative: Starting thoughts and/or actions.

Adaptability: Making changes when necessary.

Industriousness: Being consistently active and getting work done.

Carefulness: Giving watchful attention to people and/or things and doing things properly.

Self-Reliance: Having trust in one's self to doing things independently and feel confident about them.

Compassion: Having sympathy and feelings for people with problems.

Dedication: Being seriously devoted to causes and/or goals.

Competitiveness: Striving to win.

Patience: Being able to wait and taking time to do things.

Perfectionism: Trying to achieve the highest possible degree of excellence.

Courage: Meeting danger or difficulties in spite of fear.

Decisiveness: Making decisions promptly and definitely.

Drive: Having the energy to get things done.

Perseverance: Being persistent in pursuit of tasks.

Calmness: Being serene.

Stability: Being constant in responses.

Help Society: Do something to contribute to the betterment of the world.

Help Others: Involved in helping other people in a direct way, either individually or in small groups.

Public Contact: Have a lot of day-to-day contact with people.

Work with Others: Have close working relationships with a group, work as a team toward common goals.

Affiliation: Be recognized as a member of a particular organization.

Friendships: Develop close personal relationships with people.

Competition: Engage in activities that pit abilities against others where there are clear win-and-lose outcomes.

Make Decisions: Have the power to decide courses of action, policies, etc. (Leading other children in play.)

Work under Pressure: Work in situations where time pressure is prevalent and/or the quality of my work is judged critically by parents, teachers, or others. (Tests well.)

Influence People: Be in a position to change attitudes or opinions of other people.

Work Alone: Does projects independently, without any significant amount of contact with others.

Knowledge: Engage myself in the pursuit of knowledge, truth and understanding.

Artistic Creativity: Engage in creative work in any of several art forms.

Aesthetics: Notices the beauty of things, ideas, etc.

Stability: Prefers a routine that is largely predictable and not likely to change over a long period of time.

Recognition: Be recognized in some visible or public way.

Excitement: Experience a high degree of (or frequent) excitement.

Adventure: Enjoy frequent risk-taking.

Profit, Gain: Interest in accumulating money or other material gain.

Independence: Be able to determine the nature of my work without significant direction from others; not have to do what others tell me.

Moral Fulfillment: Wants to contribute significantly to a set of moral standards.

Physical Challenge: Enjoys physical challenges.

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Comments 95 comments

ASDFGIRL 5 years ago

Hi, I'm new to my computer and this was the very first site i went on for a college project and it was very helpful thank you.:)

Cheap Logo Design 5 years ago

The collection is very good & amazing. Nice one to hold upon this. All the stuffs gives a meaning to the collection & symbolizes a lot. So overall good one

Joan 5 years ago

This page brought a tear to my tiny eyes. It was very toucHING.

vindya 5 years ago

this saved my life

HennieN profile image

HennieN 5 years ago from South Africa

Wonderful hub. Very extensive list. Thanks

frankaelov 5 years ago

nice personality list... i liked this...

..... please support this program.......


Yashwant Das 5 years ago

I am pursuing MBA(VIT University, Vellore,India) and i was looking for Organizational Behavior topics in terms of Personality so that i can give a proper seminar. Really i got many meaningful points from this page. Thanks a lot Lela.

cookielover 5 years ago

this is a very nice list hard to undertsand a bit but it is great when explaining ot kids just let them know htye are amamzing and they couldn't be anything else but that.

5 years ago

Thanks, this helped me in my english project

kirutaye profile image

kirutaye 5 years ago from London, UK

Really useful. Thank you.

pk 5 years ago

nice list

cylon marei m bongo 5 years ago

very nice meansful so that i can help father

cylon marei m bongo 5 years ago

i have two yes

shirley 6 years ago

very,meaningful so that its help to my colleges!!!!

bob shireman 6 years ago

very good traits

barbara 6 years ago

thanks so much for this list!! It helped me with my high school application. I bet this list will help a lot of people:)

Lai 6 years ago

Great list but can you add believer of faith

StoryWriter 6 years ago

This list helped a lot!!!!!!!!! I am currently writing a story, and I needed to develop their characteristics (the characters) and this really helped. And it also helps me identify characteristics in myself and my friends.

bumbuble 6 years ago

wow this is very help it helped me to describe a chracter in my book reaport lol

Heyman 6 years ago

Your list don't not help high schoolers with a high-level of thinking that need's help with a Personal Essay for Collega :(

Bubbles & Sunny(We r kids) 6 years ago


Bubblebee 6 years ago

Wow, this is great! It really inspired me to embrace who I truly am, and all of the great personality triats I have! It also helped me to become a better person, and work on imporving my negative traits. This list has truly changed my life!

Umeni 6 years ago

All good news there..thanks

peach 6 years ago

thank so much for the personality list

Miranda 6 years ago


devon  6 years ago

thank you

rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 6 years ago

great list!

Braylen Landkey 6 years ago

thank you , thank you. this list have helped me for making a resume!!")

briana 6 years ago

Nice and thank you! I needed to write down a simple, one personality for my character profile. And this totally helps! :]

POTATO 6 years ago


joe 6 years ago

love it i just love it

cbris52 profile image

cbris52 6 years ago

Very Nice and thorough list.

Koushaku  6 years ago

Quite the list you have there. I was hope for a few negative ones but it's still well done.

Jarryd Bell 6 years ago

actually i found that you repeated a few of the words and/or meanings a few times. for example there is 2 of the word "stability". also you missed a few traits, like negative personality traits such as impatients etc. otherwise i supose you could say this list is of mediocre standard. in other words get fucked

cbris52 profile image

cbris52 7 years ago

Really Enjoyed your list!

GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

Your hit the nail on the head! Good hub. Thanks for sharing.

sdnkaj 7 years ago

my goodness that was rude Jesse l it helped me thanks

s.ashutosh 7 years ago

it is great, i really like to follow all these traits to grow in my life. thanks for giving me an opportunity to know about how one should groom up in life.

Rohaima 7 years ago

WOW! Thank you so much for the list. This can be my guide in determining traits of my co-workers

pinky 7 years ago

well, it's a wounderful list but if u can also add one personality with one trait, it would be great....


Lauren G & Ash Kash 7 years ago

Awesome list.Thakns

Elayne 7 years ago

I am learning Spanish and need to know personality traits so as to use the verb "ser" correctly. Your list will be most helpful. Thanks so much. Elayne

Annablel 7 years ago

I looooooove this list. So amazing!

Odio Harja 7 years ago

Only took minute to find what I was looking for


JEsss(L) 7 years ago

it didn't help me at all sorryy:(

jajaja i love pankakess jajaja just trying to be gufyy:P

ksfhskhf 7 years ago

this was very helpful thanks

jonathan 7 years ago

amazing list I looked only for 1 minute and I found it

ashvin 7 years ago

i love this list at the momment...

i had to answer a question in an application " what is the most unique personallity trait you will bring?"

this helped me a lot.....

thankyou trait list

Hannah says:

5 days ago

yourrrr a friggen legend! this list made my day



Hannah 7 years ago

yourrrr a friggen legend! this list made my day



marylee 7 years ago

i love this list at the momment...

i had to answer a question in an application " what is the most unique personallity trait you will bring?"

this helped me a lot.....

thankyou trait list

Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

I think it helps to know this lists.

Fritzl 7 years ago

Anyone pathetic enough to need a list to tell them about their own children does not deserve the fertility that was given to them.

Worst list ever.

Danish Reza 7 years ago

Thanks .This is a great list , it really help me out in my personality development . I would love to share this with my family &friends.

Junior high writer 7 years ago

I know this list was meant to help parents, but I am only in grade seven and i enjoy writing stories, so i'm not a parent. to young for that. I have written some stories and when reading over them, i noticed that my characters didn't have personalities other than, good, evil, innocent(mostly children who didn't know about evil things) or love struck. your list has helped me developed my characters and lengthen my stories into book length novels. I made a chart of the character names and then listed the traits from your list under the people it would fit. It made it a lot easier to incorperate the traits into the stories, create much more complete stories and well rounded characters. So thanks, you really helped me a lot.

candy 7 years ago

this list helped me on my home work

thanke you i gat an A+!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

maggs 7 years ago

great list

helped a lot with work

maggs 7 years ago

great list

helped a lot with work

Candy 7 years ago

this is fabulous" wonderful

thelesleyshow profile image

thelesleyshow 7 years ago from US

Fabulous! You really did an awesome job on this hub. Great topic and original information. I would love to share this with my friends on facebook and twiiter. Take a look at my hub and let me know what you think! All the best of luck to you!

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town

Very good and school counsellors should have access to it!

Elynjo profile image

Elynjo 7 years ago from Sin City

Great list! This will come in handy and helpful in the near future.

Ray May 7 years ago

Great list i actually was using it to describe the type of qualities i want in a guy lol...YAY for single people

Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 7 years ago

It was difficult at first when my child was so opposite of what I was as a kid. But you eventually learn to love how they are like you but yet their own person.

Karategal 7 years ago

I don't want to say "great list" or "thanks for the list" like everybody else, but I would like to say thank you for the help that this list has been for a school project I am working on. I am in grade 8 and we are doing a character study; I found this list great in helping me find words to describe my oterwise non-describable character. Thanks!!

iMindMap 7 years ago

Thanks for the list. It is indeed very helpful.

powerspike profile image

powerspike 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Thanks for the list, i have wanted to a way to help my child grow a little more, and Jillian has suggested a good way to use it, telling her she's a good child isn't really the best way forward, and this will help.

SHHIt'sasecret 8 years ago

this list is incredible, i used to have low self-esteem and thought that i didn't like myself, that i wasn't good enough, this list helped me a lot. Thank You.

jennyj1 profile image

jennyj1 8 years ago from Los Angeles

wow this made me think of some things i would have never thought of

moneymakersguide profile image

moneymakersguide 8 years ago

Very nice list and thanks for sharing! It takes a lot of work to raise your children but the best way is to balance love and discipline so that your child knows you have their best interest in mind.

Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 8 years ago from USA

As you've already heard, you've compiled a complete and outstanding list!

Reena 8 years ago

thanx 4 the list i found just what i was looking for my hmwk. ur the best!:)

Anna13 profile image

Anna13 8 years ago

Love this list! I'll be referencing it for my little girl. Thanks!

Kiira 8 years ago

This saved my life

kkk 8 years ago

its a fact, children inherit the properties from their parents so why we people first look ourselves and list out all the things that our child can have of us. In this way we can easily find out child behaviour, instead lof looking for the top features listed by my dear friend...

To nice as w.e.n.s.a. 8 years ago

This list has help a lot of people. This list have even help me

Babygangtah347 8 years ago

This list will help others a lot with personal traits. I have discover some things about myself that i didn't know about.

babygangstah347 8 years ago

dis is a nice list. dis list will help others a lot.

JJC13 profile image

JJC13 8 years ago from Liverpool

Nice list. A great help for parents like me.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Seems like you got them all! Thank you. It's amazing how every kid you have either your own or in the classroom can be SO different.

Geneva Vinas profile image

Geneva Vinas 8 years ago from Wisconsin

What a lovely and thoughtful list.

dollnasian profile image

dollnasian 8 years ago from Denver, CO

This is bettter than Dr. Phil and Dr. Spock :)

mssnow profile image

mssnow 8 years ago from Oregon

Great list, too bad I didn't have it when my children were little. I can say though that they do possess many of these traits. So I guess I did something right.

UnschoolingPDX profile image

UnschoolingPDX 8 years ago from Portland, OR

I like your list a lot. It's bookmarked to be shared with my husband.

childcen profile image

childcen 8 years ago from New Zealand

A very good list of things for parents to work on. I'll be bookmarking this in a jifty!

Great hub :)

rainne profile image

rainne 8 years ago from China

Fabulous list, I can use it to my next class as part of our topic "PERSONALITY TRAITS"

market solution profile image

market solution 8 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

The personalities of children emerge much sooner than one would think. I had 4 girls, raised them all 'the same' basically and they all turned out completely different. Parents should always be on the lookout and allow children to embrace the personality they were meant to have.

Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson 8 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas Author

No, no ranking - just lots of good traits!

premsingh profile image

premsingh 8 years ago

Excellent list of personality traits. Which are the preferential traits? Are they ranked as per relevance or all have same relevance?

joblot profile image

joblot 8 years ago from Ringwood

An excellent list here - great reading.

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betherickson 8 years ago from Minnesota

this is very well presented. great list.

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Ronald Daniar 8 years ago

Lots of task to do then. LOL

Nice list!

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dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

thank you. this is very helpful indeed.

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preciousleonna 8 years ago

I have nothing more to add , all in the list are really great. I will copy paste it in order that I could always read it over and over.

MasonsMom profile image

MasonsMom 8 years ago from U.S.A.

This is a great list!

Jillian Snow profile image

Jillian Snow 8 years ago from Northeast, USA

Very nice list - my husband and I were just talking about new ways to describe our children's traits to them. It becomes worthless telling them "you are a great person", how much better to let them know "they are a loyal, enthusiastic person" and that we greatly appreciate their Industriousness. That should spark some conversation about who they really are and who they want to grow into.

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