Are participation awards good for kids? | The Tylt
Are participation awards good for kids?
No matter how old you are, motivation and encouragement are essential to success. Kids learn teamwork, goal setting and discipline by playing sports, but they can't reap the benefits if they quit out of discouragement when they lose. That's what participation awards are for. They recognize the effort of a child even when the result may not have been there. It gives children a carrot at the end of the stick to reward them for trying their best, and encouraging them to continue with it so they can reap the benefits of being in sports. Here is Dr. Gail Gross, an education expert, on the Huffington Post:
Childhood is about teaching children the skills needed for life. If you pressure your child to perform and only praise talent, not only will you make a talented child afraid to lose, but you will also put undue stress on an average child and inhibit his opportunity to participate. Showing up can be half the battle for your child, and it’s a positive outcome that builds on itself, giving him a sense of confidence, which can lead to competence. Further, studies also tell us that children who participate in sports get better grades, have a lower dropout rate and girls, in particular, are more likely to go to college... Your child wants to be like the other kids; he wants to fit in, and be part of the group - and, in this case, a team. So giving a trophy for showing up can be just the positive reinforcement your child needs to foster better self-esteem and security. In the end, even football players take a salary check for participation, whether or not their team wins or loses.
The world is not a kind place. There is no reward for just showing up. If you want to compete, you have to put your best foot forward and win. Participation trophies only encourage mediocrity, where just being there is rewarded instead of an actual achievement. If kids are given praise just for doing something, we'll have a society filled with people who will be satisfied with trying, and not succeeding. That is dangerous thinking in a world that will eat you up and spit you out without a second thought. The world needs people to strive to win. Here is Betty Berdan on the New York Times with more:
Trophies used to be awarded only to winners, but are now little more than party favors: reminders of an experience, not tokens of true achievement. When awards are handed out like candy to every child who participates, they diminish in value. If every soccer player receives a trophy for merely showing up to practice and playing in games, the truly exceptional players are slighted. The same applies to teams. Regardless of individual effort or superior skills, all who participate receive equal acknowledgement. Trophies for all convey an inaccurate and potentially dangerous life message to children: We are all winners. This message is repeated at the end of each sports season, year after year, and is only reinforced by the collection of trophies that continues to pile up. We begin to expect awards and praise for just showing up — to class, practice, after-school jobs — leaving us woefully unprepared for reality. Outside the protected bubble of childhood, not everyone is a winner. Showing up to work, attending class, completing homework and trying my best at sports practice are expected of me, not worthy of an award. These are the foundations of a long path to potential success, a success that is not guaranteed no matter how much effort I put in.