Some children can only think about themselves and what they want to do. They find flexible thinking difficult and often would rather not do something they haven’t chosen, rather than suffer doing what another person wants.
It doesn’t have to be something big. It could be that they don’t want to watch a particular movie at the cinema or play a particular game. Whilst we don’t always have to do what others want to do, friendships do need some flexibility.
And what does it say to their friends when they never go with what others want? It can be seen as stubborn and selfish as they seem unable to think about others’ needs and wants. And their friends would have a point – it’s difficult to be friends with someone that always wants their own way.
There can be many reasons for inflexible thinking. They can include:
- Wanting to feel in control
- Staying in comfort zone
- Being used to getting their own way most of the time
- Not recognising the needs of others and being used to prioritising their own needs
- Dominant personality – may naturally be a ‘leader’
Whatever the reason, we should help children to think more flexibly:
Flexible Thinking for Kids
Stubborn is not a trait we want to encourage in our children too much. Nor is being inconsiderate of other people’s feelings and interests. Flexible thinking is what we need, so encourage your child to be more open minded and say yes a bit more.
Teach them to go with the flow as sometimes really great things happen when we don’t stick to our guns and are brave enough to do something out of our control and comfort zone.
Recently I was coaching a child who could only think about her agenda. Once she started to become more open minded, she discovered new things to enjoy. And the best thing was that her friends wanted to include her more in their plans as they could see she had become more open to doing other things.
How is your child with flexible thinking? Considering others is a key life skill so help them with it!