Why I Think Giving all Kids a Participation Trophy is Bull#@t!
I absolutely sucked at sports as a kid. I was the last picked for teams. I couldn’t catch or throw a ball to save my life. I was a clumsy, slow runner who got stitches in my side and was out of breath two minutes into it.
And I never received a single trophy, ribbon or award. And that was perfectly fine with me because I didn’t deserve one. I was good at other things. All those kids that could run, jump, throw and kick better than me couldn’t compete with my badass spelling!
But this isn’t the way things are in 2017. Now you get a medal, ribbon or trophy for just turning up and I think it is complete and utter bullshit.
We have become terrified at letting our children feel bad and are acting irrationally to make sure they feel good. At a great cost.
Kids’ football, netball and cricket teams don’t even keep SCORE for the first several years so there’s no winners and no losers which is absolutely ludicrous. Where is the incentive for the kids with passion, dedication and talent for the game, when they receive no higher praise than the kids who are on the field toe-ing the dirt and gazing at the clouds who don’t even CARE about the game? And if your team doesn’t ever ‘lose’ then how do you encourage the players to lift their game and try to improve for the next week?
And it’s not just sports where we are doing this. It’s in the classroom when kids get stickers just for being quiet and at home where money, treats and other rewards are splashed out just for making their bed and putting their dishes in the sink.
Kids need to realise from an early age that hard work, dedication and passion is rewarded to give them the incentive and drive to achieve their very best and pursue what they’re good at. And knowing this gives them the skills for everything else in their life; education, careers, hobbies and even being the best partner they can be. All of these things have to be practiced, worked at and improved upon.
Equally kids need to learn about losing. How to accept defeat with grace. That they’re going to be OK after a failure. That the world isn’t going to end. And to think about how they can get better, be better for the next time.
They need to know you won’t get handed a pay slip for just ‘turning up’ for the interview, nor will you be given a promotion for just turning up to work and doing the bare minimum.
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, a high-profile parenting expert agrees:
“This generation of parents just push all the obstacles out of the way and try to make life as simple and as easy as possible for their kids,” he said.
“On the face of it, that’s admirable because we all want the best for our kids, but it teaches them absolutely nothing about resilience and creates immense vulnerability when they leave home and go into the big wide world.”
“This was not only creating a generation of spoilt and overindulged children”, he said, “but was contributing to an unprecedented mental health crisis by leaving young people ill-equipped to deal with their own problems”.
“It’s ironic because we’ve seen the First and Second World Wars and Vietnam but in fact, from a psychological point of view, these kids are less resilient than their parents or grandparents.”
“We just have to stop pampering them – it’s reached epidemic proportions,” he said.
“Kids aren’t made of glass and they are not going to shatter.”