In the previous post about bad character traits, I gave an exercise to examine the bad traits parents and kids have. In this post, I will focus more on the good character traits and how to make sure they are “watered” well and kept alive.
Here is the list of good character traits again:
Good Character Traits List
- Letter A: Active, Adaptable, Adventurous, Agreeable, Appreciative, Articulate, Athletic, Ambitions, Artistic, Aesthetic
- Letter B: Balanced, Brilliant, Brave
- Letter C: Calm, Capable, Caring, Charismatic, Charming, Cheerful, Careful, Clean, Clever, Colorful, Compassionate, Confident, Conscientious, Considerate, Consistent, Contemplative, Cooperative, Courageous, Courteous, Creative, Curious, Crafty,
- Letter D: Daring, Decisive, Dedicated, Deep, Discreet, Dramatic, Dynamic
- Letter E: Efficient, Elegant, Empathetic, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Exciting, Extraordinary, Encouraging, Easy Going
- Letter F: Fair, Faithful, Flexible, Focused, Forgiving, Freethinking, Friendly, Fun-loving
- Letter G: Generous, Gentle, Genuine, Good-natured, Gracious
- Letter H: Hardworking, Healthy, Helpful, Honest, Humble, Humorous, Happy, Hopeful
- Letter I: Idealistic, Imaginative, Impressive, Independent, Individualistic, Innovative, Insightful, Intelligent, Intuitive, Imaginative
- Letter K: Kind, Knowledgeable
- Letter L: Logical, Lovable, Loyal, Loving
- Letter M: Mature, Methodical, Modest
- Letter N: Neat
- Letter O: Observant, Open, Optimistic, Organized, Original, Optimistic
- Letter P: Passionate, Patient, Peaceful, Perceptive, Persuasive, Playful, Popular, Practical, Precise, Principled, Protective, Punctual, Pleasant, Persistent, Peaceful, Polite, Positive
- Letter R: Rational, Realistic, Reflective, Relaxed, Reliable, Resourceful, Respectful, Responsible, Romantic
- Letter S: Safe, Satisfied, Secure, Selfless, Self-sufficient, Sensitive, Sentimental, Serious, Sharing, Simple, Smart, Sociable, Sophisticated, Spontaneous, Sporting, Stable, Strong, Subtle, Sweet, Sympathetic, Systematic
- Letter T: Tactful, Tasteful, Thorough, Tidy, Tolerant, Trusting, Talented, Truthful, Trustworthy
- Letter U: Understanding
- Letter W: Wise, Warm-hearted
Positive Character Traits Exercise
Here is an exercise to help you water these positive character traits
- Give your kids the list of the good character traits above. In chapters 2 and 3 we talked about phrases parents use that encourage these good traits. You can give your child the list either by itself, or with these supporting sentences.
- Ask them to highlight traits they think they have.
- Ask them to rate each trait from 1-10. One means they only have a tiny bit of that trait. Ten means this traits is a very strong trait. Focus on rating the positive, good and happy feelings. Rating negative thoughts/feelings is best done with a professional so that it can be appropriately deconstructed.
- Ask them what beliefs they have that make them think they have these character traits (writing down your child’s responses is a good idea).
- Ask them to label each trait with the name of the person who gave it to them (the person that was responsible for instilling those beliefs). For example, I am a very helpful person and I got it from my dad and not from my mom. My dad helps everyone in need. He is now over 80 years old and he volunteers his time to help the elderly people with their tax money, he volunteers to help in the town’s library and he is on the committee of an elders’ organization. I definitely didn’t get this trait from my mom because she thinks my dad is a “sucker”. They both watered this “helping” trait, but in different ways. Mom used weed killer, with her “sucker” phrases and, “no one cares” and, “No one will come and help you when you need help”. My dad watered it with his examples and saying that, “Being kind to others is in fact being kind to yourself”. Luckily, his water was stronger than her weed killer for me and helping won. If you are the person who gave your child their character traits, enjoy and celebrate your achievement! Well done! Just keep doing it! If it is not you, learn from the person who did and let go of blame or jealousy. I have three kids and they have many qualities that they could never get from me. I am happy to hear that they took good things from both my husband and I. I gave them “sensitive” and my husband gave them “curious”. That does not mean I do not value curiosity. It only means that when we both watered our kids, he gave more water to curiosity, while I was giving water to being sensitive. It means I’m lucky! I have kids that are sensitive and curious! Like the phrase, “pick your battles”, traits are the same. Focus on the ones that are most important to you and be happy that when you were watering one, your partner watered the other. It’s a win/win situation.
- Ask the kids what they think you can say or do as their parents that will strengthen this trait. For example if they rated “smart” as 5, ask them, “What can I do to help you make it 6?”
- Then ask them, “What do you think you can do to increase the rating to 6? This will empower them to be active and strengthen those character traits and increase their positive behavior and attitude towards the traits. This will give you an opportunity to instill many new beliefs or maybe even change some of their perceptions of existing beliefs. For example, in my work, I found that some things I do with children can change their definition of “being smart” and once it is changed, their “smart” plant will start to grow flowers.
There’s a game I like to play called “The Sprinkler”. You play this as a family. Each person identifies good trait that other family members have and explains why they think he/she has it. If family members sat at the dinner table and told each other why they think that they are “awesome” a “good sister”, “kind to me”, “helpful”, “smart” that is a fantastic water sprinkler in your family garden.
I love these games and find them to be a fantastic way to instill positive thoughts and beliefs. My eldest daughter is now 25. Sometimes I hear her using the same phrases I do when talking to her younger siblings about how positive they are.
Water stays in the family. It stays in the family whether it is poisonous or healthy and nutritious. Make sure your kids drink clean, pure, holy water.
Happy and joyous family garden!
This post is part of the series Helping Kids Build Character:
- Helping Kids Build Healthy and Powerful Character Traits
- Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children: A to G
- Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z
- Positive Character Traits for Children: Watering with Weed Killer
- How to Destroy Good Character Traits for Children: A to F
- How to Destroy Good Character Traits for Children: G-Z
- Kids’ Personality Traits: How to Change Them with Awareness
- Character Traits: Swapping the Bad for the Good