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Recognizing the Big 5 Personality Traits in Your Child

Updated on October 28, 2008
Photo: nathaus,Flickr
Photo: nathaus,Flickr

Based on a theory known as the Five Factor Model, there are essentially five overriding personality traits. This list of personality traits are the dominant factors that shape all our our personalities and emcompass the more subtle individual traits. This article gives a personality traits list and examines each of the big five and how they may affect how your child relates to the rest of the world.


The Big Five Personality Traits – List of Personality Characteristics

1. Conscientiousness. The conscientious child is organized and disciplined. You can recognize this in how kids keep their toys, color, and complete school work. The conscientious child to shows self-discipline and prefers planned activities over spontaneous behavior. This trait is associated with a strong performance and a high level of commitment. Of all the personality charateristics, this one is associated with great students and professionals later in life.

2. Agreeableness. The agreeable child is friendly and pleasant to be around. His relationships will be mostly strong. He has tendency toward compassion and cooperation. He will rarely be suspicious or antagonistic with others. This child is a social creature, and gets energy from being around other kids and adults. This is the kid who gets along with everyone. You just have to watch out that he isn’t taken advantage of.

3. Neuroticism. The neurotic child is a worrier. She’s often anxious and her emotions can fluctuate quite a bit. She is vulnerable to experience unpleasant emotions such as anger and anxiety easily. This is sometimes referred to as emotional instability. Watch for signs of depression and sadness during the teen years. Although this trait is inborn, parents can help alleviate stress by providing and communicating a safe and stable environment. This personality trait often leads to physical ailments.

4. Openness. The open child is your daredevil. She loves adventures and trying new things and are very insightful and imaginative. This is the child wo entertains you with wise-beyond-her-years one liners and stunning creativity. She appreciates aret and unusual ideas. She is not afraid to take risks and therefore may not take your parental advice either!

5. Extraversion. The extraverted child is assertive, talkative, and loves to be the center of attention. He’s got a lot of energy and optimism. He has a tendency to seek stimulation and the company of others. While he may prefer not to be alone, he can become overwhelmed if this trait is allowed to go unchecked. Extraverts actually need time alone.

Although an individual personality profile will display a range of traits, the Big Five give you a starting place. If you perceive a dominant character trait in your child, you’re probably right. It’s nice to know what makes your child tick. Don’t you think? What’s really fascinating is when you start looking at the family unit as a whole. In our house we’ve got dominant personalities in four of the five!


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  • childcen profile image

    childcen 9 years ago from New Zealand

    You've put together a very interesting hub. I can certainly identify some of the traits of my child from this list here. thanks for posting this.

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Aya - These are actually the Big 5 Traits for everyone. I would call the behavior you describe as conscientious. However, if that trait is extreme it could cause some worry over time. As the mother of a conscientious worrier, I can attest they sometimes go together! However, I also know people who worry all the time and could care less about the details. I guess we're all a mixture, stonger in some traits than others.

  • MasonsMom profile image

    MasonsMom 9 years ago from U.S.A.

    Interesting hub! Mason leans toward a few of these~but I think it's still too early to tell b/c he changes so frequently at his age.

  • Aya Katz profile image

    Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

    Lela, thanks for putting together this interesting hub. It's always fun to look at personality types.

    Where does perseverance fall into these five categories? I can't help but feel the categories look at behavior in terms of how they affect parents and teachers, but not so much in terms of the motivation of behavior of the child. For instance, a child who perseveres and finishes assignments on time is seen as conscientious. But what if the same child insists on finishing one assignment before starting on a new one? In today's classroom, where new activities are begun every forty minutes or so, whether the old ones are finished or not, that might be seen as neurotic. But is the neuroticism or conscientiousness all a question of what the child is required to do by others -- or is it how the child is motivated from within to complete a task?