Rigid Thinking

Rigid thinking is a thinking style characterized by inflexibility and stubbornness. When expectations are not met, children can get stuck and highly frustrated by the unexpected change. Flexible and inflexible thinkers notice frustration when life does not go according to plan but what distinguishes the flexible thinkers is the ability to find an alternate solution and try new things. These life skills are tremendously helpful for maintaining relationships, participating in group activities and maintaining a favorable mood. Rigid thinking can exist in the presence or absence of an anxiety or other mental health or developmental disorder. 

Rigid Thinking & Other Issues

  • Personality - rigid thinking can be one aspect in the larger context of a person's personality and typical way of being

  • Anxiety - being rigid is one way to reduce anxiety because the world feels more predictable

  • ADHD - the absence of flexible thinking may indicate an executive functioning deficit consistent with ADHD

  • Autism - rigid thinking can also be related to autism; difficulty seeing things from another person's perspective may make flexible thinking more difficult

  • Giftedness - rigid thinking that manifests as an intense adherence to what the child believes is right, just or fair