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Positive traits of a teenager: what young people need to succeed

Study tips
Published 12 Jan, 2023  ·  6-minute read

When it comes to teenage personality traits, it can be too easy to focus on the negatives. We’re sure moodiness, secrecy and stubbornness all come to mind. But it’s important to think about positive traits, and how to cultivate these for success.

The positive attributes that will assist with developing a well-rounded and happy teenager – and eventually adult – are most likely already budding in your child. You just need to help them flourish.

The personality traits you hone in your teenager from an early age will help them with their studies and their future career, and ensure they develop meaningful relationships with the people in their lives.

Here are the essential personality traits that will give your teen the edge to succeed in life, and tips on how to help with their development.


How effective is your teen at bouncing back? Resilience is an important teenage personality trait because it means a person can cope with failure. Rather than giving up or fixating on self-pity when something doesn’t go to plan, a resilient person will dust themselves off and try again.

Resilient people are more likely to take risks or face challenges because they know if they fail, they’ll be able to cope with the consequences and move forward. Having the courage to take risks can make exceptional businesspeople. The important thing is to remember to learn from mistakes or failures, so they are not repeated.

You can cultivate resilience in your teenager by encouraging them to take on challenges and praising their efforts rather than what they achieve.

This will teach them that giving something a go is important, no matter the outcome. If they don’t achieve the results they were hoping for, have a discussion with them about what didn’t work and why, and what they could change next time to ensure success. This will help them to think pragmatically about failure and will also build their confidence, so they are more comfortable with taking on challenges and risks. This process will assist them to develop a more resilient nature.

Students displaying positive traits of a teenager by studying together


One of the most important traits for success throughout life is confidence, but this is something many teens struggle with. Being a teenager can be a tough gig, and with so many emotions and changes going on, it’s understandable that their self-confidence can take a hit. But there are ways you can help your teen to be more confident.

Confident people convey compelling arguments, are persuasive and know how to pursue ambitious goals. Confidence is a positive trait for a teenager because it teaches the importance of knowing your self-worth.

Here are three simple ways you can assist your child in developing their confidence:

  • Encourage them to take part in team activities where they can contribute their voice to a shared goal.
  • Show them that you respect their opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Engage them in conversations about topics they’re passionate about and knowledgeable on.


In current times, one of the most positive traits of a teenager is adaptability. There’s no doubt your child will have needed to adapt to online learning and changes to their everyday routine throughout the pandemic.

Teenagers are constantly coping with change in their lives: to their bodies, relationships, opinions and interests. As they move into adulthood, they’re figuring out who they want to be and this can involve trying a lot of new things and learning how to adapt to new situations.

Being able to adapt quickly and positively will put your teen in good stead with a new employer and help them to integrate into university life smoothly. On many occasions, adaptability and confidence will go hand in hand. If your child can confidently approach new situations, this will help them learn and grow as an adult.

You can help your teenager to become more adaptable by encouraging them to try new hobbies or meet new people. Reassure them that everyone feels a little uncomfortable or awkward in new situations, and this is OK. What’s important is for them to look at what they can bring to a new environment and integrate this positively into the situation. Once they figure out how they fit into the bigger picture, they’ll be less likely to feel stressed by change.

Teenagers laughing together outdoors


As a teen, having to juggle so many different priorities and prepare for your future can be overwhelming. Falling into a state of apathy and even lethargy is a normal coping mechanism when things start to feel too stressful.

Proactivity is one of the most beneficial behavioural traits of a teenager because it means your child can stay motivated and continue progressing, even when tasks start building up and the lure to simply check out seems like the easiest option.

Being proactive means taking the initiative to act rather than waiting for a situation to play out and then reacting to it. Proactive people are good at recognising and embracing opportunities, avoiding setbacks and overcoming roadblocks. Proactivity is an essential trait for success as your teenager transitions into adulthood.

You can help your child be more proactive by starting out with simple expectations for home life. Reiterate that you trust they will use their common sense and initiative to recognise when things need to be done. Begin by setting standards such as cleaning their room at least once by Saturday every week. Gradually, they will start to do this before you ask and – who knows – maybe they will also begin carrying out other tasks around the house when they notice things requiring attention (we can only hope).


Self-absorption is one of the least positive traits of a teenager, and unfortunately, one that gets a lot of attention. While teenagers do have a habit of getting wrapped up in their own worlds, increasingly, they’re starting to take centre stage on world issues such as climate change and equality. Young people today are more aware than ever of what’s going on globally.

Think about all the ways your child digests information. They’re constantly seeing and hearing news and ideas on the TV, through podcasts, social media, music and streaming services. Every day, they’re absorbing knowledge. The question is: are they understanding it?

Perceptive people are constantly open to new information. They know how to absorb it, understand it, and relate it back to their lives. They can read a room and recognise the emotions of others. Being perceptive is about being aware of and understanding what’s going on around you.

You can help your teen be more perceptive by encouraging them to recognise the emotions and motives of others in various social and formal situations. Watch a debate or discussion together (on the news or a panel show) and debrief with them afterwards. Ask them to summarise the various viewpoints and talk through the emotions that were present. Discussing why people are feeling or behaving in a certain way will help them understand social dynamics and how to approach these types of situations in the future.

Developing good habits is also essential for every teenager during high school. Find out how to help your teen establish good study habits.

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