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

Updated on October 15, 2017
Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson is a mother and writer, passionate about healthcare and education for women and children.

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 a list published by California State University, which it uses 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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  • profile image

    ASDFGIRL 6 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.:)

  • profile image

    Cheap Logo Design 6 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

  • profile image

    Joan 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    vindya 6 years ago

    this saved my life

  • HennieN profile image

    HennieN 6 years ago from South Africa

    Wonderful hub. Very extensive list. Thanks

  • profile image

    frankaelov 6 years ago

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

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


  • profile image

    Yashwant Das 6 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.

  • profile image

    cookielover 7 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.

  • profile image

    7 years ago

    Thanks, this helped me in my english project

  • kirutaye profile image

    kirutaye 7 years ago from London, UK

    Really useful. Thank you.

  • profile image

    pk 7 years ago

    nice list

  • profile image

    cylon marei m bongo 7 years ago

    very nice meansful so that i can help father

  • profile image

    cylon marei m bongo 7 years ago

    i have two yes

  • profile image

    shirley 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    bob shireman 7 years ago

    very good traits

  • profile image

    barbara 7 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:)

  • profile image

    Lai 7 years ago

    Great list but can you add believer of faith

  • profile image

    StoryWriter 7 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.

  • profile image

    bumbuble 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Heyman 7 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 :(

  • profile image

    Bubbles & Sunny(We r kids) 7 years ago


  • profile image

    Bubblebee 7 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!

  • profile image

    Umeni 7 years ago

    All good news there..thanks

  • profile image

    peach 7 years ago

    thank so much for the personality list

  • profile image

    Miranda 7 years ago


  • profile image

    devon  7 years ago

    thank you

  • profile image

    rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 7 years ago

    great list!

  • profile image

    Braylen Landkey 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    briana 7 years ago

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

  • profile image

    POTATO 8 years ago

    AWESOME LIST THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    joe 8 years ago

    love it i just love it

  • cbris52 profile image

    cbris52 8 years ago

    Very Nice and thorough list.

  • profile image

    Koushaku  8 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Jarryd Bell 8 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 8 years ago

    Really Enjoyed your list!

  • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

    GojiJuiceGoodness 8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

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

  • profile image

    sdnkaj 8 years ago

    my goodness that was rude Jesse l it helped me thanks

  • profile image

    s.ashutosh 8 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.

  • profile image

    Rohaima 8 years ago

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

  • profile image

    pinky 8 years ago

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


  • profile image

    Lauren G & Ash Kash 8 years ago

    Awesome list.Thakns

  • profile image

    Elayne 8 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

  • profile image

    Annablel 8 years ago

    I looooooove this list. So amazing!

  • profile image

    Odio Harja 8 years ago

    Only took minute to find what I was looking for


  • profile image

    JEsss(L) 8 years ago

    it didn't help me at all sorryy:(

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

  • profile image

    ksfhskhf 8 years ago

    this was very helpful thanks

  • profile image

    jonathan 8 years ago

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

  • profile image

    ashvin 8 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



  • profile image

    Hannah 8 years ago

    yourrrr a friggen legend! this list made my day



  • profile image

    marylee 8 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 8 years ago

    I think it helps to know this lists.

  • profile image

    Fritzl 8 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.

  • profile image

    Danish Reza 9 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.

  • profile image

    Junior high writer 9 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.

  • profile image

    candy 9 years ago

    this list helped me on my home work

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

  • profile image

    maggs 9 years ago

    great list

    helped a lot with work

  • profile image

    maggs 9 years ago

    great list

    helped a lot with work

  • profile image

    Candy 9 years ago

    this is fabulous" wonderful

  • thelesleyshow profile image

    TheLesleyShow 9 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

    Cindy Vine 9 years ago from Cape Town

    Very good and school counsellors should have access to it!

  • Elynjo profile image

    Elynjo 9 years ago from Sin City

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

  • profile image

    Ray May 9 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 9 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.

  • profile image

    Karategal 9 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!!

  • profile image

    iMindMap 9 years ago

    Thanks for the list. It is indeed very helpful.

  • powerspike profile image

    powerspike 9 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.

  • profile image

    SHHIt'sasecret 9 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 9 years ago from Los Angeles

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

  • moneymakersguide profile image

    moneymakersguide 9 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 9 years ago from USA

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

  • profile image

    Reena 9 years ago

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

  • Anna13 profile image

    Anna13 9 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Kiira 9 years ago

    This saved my life

  • profile image

    kkk 9 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...

  • profile image

    To nice as w.e.n.s.a. 9 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Babygangtah347 9 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.

  • profile image

    babygangstah347 9 years ago

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

  • JJC13 profile image

    JJC13 9 years ago from Liverpool

    Nice list. A great help for parents like me.

  • RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf 9 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 9 years ago from Wisconsin

    What a lovely and thoughtful list.

  • dollnasian profile image

    dollnasian 9 years ago from Denver, CO

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

  • mssnow profile image

    mssnow 9 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 9 years ago from Portland, OR

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

  • childcen profile image

    childcen 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    No, no ranking - just lots of good traits!

  • premsingh profile image

    premsingh 9 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 9 years ago from Ringwood

    An excellent list here - great reading.

  • betherickson profile image

    betherickson 9 years ago from Minnesota

    this is very well presented. great list.

  • profile image

    Ronald Daniar 9 years ago

    Lots of task to do then. LOL

    Nice list!

  • dayzeebee profile image

    dayzeebee 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    thank you. this is very helpful indeed.

  • profile image

    preciousleonna 9 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 9 years ago from U.S.A.

    This is a great list!

  • Jillian Snow profile image

    Jillian Snow 9 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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