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

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

Photo: Waponi,Flickr

Photo: Waponi,Flickr

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.

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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.


ASDFGIRL on September 11, 2011:

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 on September 09, 2011:

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 on September 07, 2011:

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

vindya on September 06, 2011:

this saved my life

HennieN from South Africa on August 17, 2011:

Wonderful hub. Very extensive list. Thanks

frankaelov on August 17, 2011:

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

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


Yashwant Das on August 09, 2011:

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 on May 22, 2011:

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.

j on April 19, 2011:

Thanks, this helped me in my english project

kirutaye from London, UK on April 11, 2011:

Really useful. Thank you.

pk on March 16, 2011:

nice list

cylon marei m bongo on March 01, 2011:

very nice meansful so that i can help father

cylon marei m bongo on March 01, 2011:

i have two yes

shirley on February 07, 2011:

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

bob shireman on February 07, 2011:

very good traits

barbara on January 28, 2011:

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 on January 23, 2011:

Great list but can you add believer of faith

StoryWriter on January 18, 2011:

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 on January 17, 2011:

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

Heyman on January 07, 2011:

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) on January 01, 2011:


Bubblebee on November 22, 2010:

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 on November 14, 2010:

All good news there..thanks

peach on October 12, 2010:

thank so much for the personality list

Miranda on October 04, 2010:


devon on September 28, 2010:

thank you

rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr on September 27, 2010:

great list!

Braylen Landkey on August 13, 2010:

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

briana on June 15, 2010:

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

POTATO on May 17, 2010:


joe on April 19, 2010:

love it i just love it

cbris52 on April 14, 2010:

Very Nice and thorough list.

Koushaku on March 30, 2010:

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

cbris52 on February 24, 2010:

Really Enjoyed your list!

GojiJuiceGoodness from Roanoke, Virginia on February 08, 2010:

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

sdnkaj on January 19, 2010:

my goodness that was rude Jesse l it helped me thanks

s.ashutosh on December 11, 2009:

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 on November 29, 2009:

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

pinky on November 17, 2009:

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 on November 13, 2009:

Awesome list.Thakns

Elayne on November 11, 2009:

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 on November 01, 2009:

I looooooove this list. So amazing!

Odio Harja on October 14, 2009:

Only took minute to find what I was looking for


JEsss(L) on September 28, 2009:

it didn't help me at all sorryy:(

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

ksfhskhf on September 24, 2009:

this was very helpful thanks

jonathan on September 17, 2009:

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

ashvin on September 15, 2009:

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 on September 09, 2009:

yourrrr a friggen legend! this list made my day



marylee on July 10, 2009:

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 on June 01, 2009:

I think it helps to know this lists.

Fritzl on May 29, 2009:

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 on May 23, 2009:

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 on May 20, 2009:

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 on May 06, 2009:

this list helped me on my home work

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

maggs on April 28, 2009:

great list

helped a lot with work

maggs on April 28, 2009:

great list

helped a lot with work

Candy on April 22, 2009:

this is fabulous" wonderful

TheLesleyShow from US on April 18, 2009:

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!

Cindy Vine from Cape Town on April 10, 2009:

Very good and school counsellors should have access to it!

Elynjo from Sin City on April 10, 2009:

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

Ray May on April 05, 2009:

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 on March 27, 2009:

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 on March 26, 2009:

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 on March 15, 2009:

Thanks for the list. It is indeed very helpful.

powerspike from Sydney, Australia on March 07, 2009:

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 on February 11, 2009:

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 from Los Angeles on February 03, 2009:

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

moneymakersguide on December 24, 2008:

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 from USA on December 20, 2008:

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

Reena on December 17, 2008:

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

Anna13 on December 16, 2008:

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

Kiira on December 13, 2008:

This saved my life

kkk on November 30, 2008:

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. on November 29, 2008:

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

Babygangtah347 on November 23, 2008:

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

babygangstah347 on November 23, 2008:

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

JJC13 from Liverpool on November 21, 2008:

Nice list. A great help for parents like me.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on November 19, 2008:

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 from Wisconsin on November 17, 2008:

What a lovely and thoughtful list.

dollnasian from Denver, CO on November 14, 2008:

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

mssnow from Oregon on November 14, 2008:

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 from Portland, OR on September 22, 2008:

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

childcen from New Zealand on September 12, 2008:

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

Great hub :)

rainne from China on September 06, 2008:

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

market solution from Minneapolis, MN on August 25, 2008:

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 (author) from Bentonville, Arkansas on August 25, 2008:

No, no ranking - just lots of good traits!

premsingh on August 25, 2008:

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

joblot from Ringwood on July 30, 2008:

An excellent list here - great reading.

betherickson from Minnesota on July 20, 2008:

this is very well presented. great list.

Ronald Daniar on July 14, 2008:

Lots of task to do then. LOL

Nice list!

dayzeebee from Cebu, Philippines on July 11, 2008:

thank you. this is very helpful indeed.

preciousleonna on June 27, 2008:

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 from U.S.A. on June 25, 2008:

This is a great list!

Jillian Snow from Northeast, USA on June 19, 2008:

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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