Participation trophies are hurting children. Giving these trophies for nothing but participation is a relatively new idea thought of by parents who cannot let their children’s failure reflect back on them. Trophies and ribbons given out in this manner give children the belief that they are better than they actually are and that they deserve more than they actually deserve.
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When these participation trophies are handed out it takes away all incentive for children to want to try to earn a real trophy. People must stop giving children participation trophies because they affect their futures negatively, they create narcissistic traits, and they ruin the meaning of real trophies.
Participation trophies will have negative effects on these children in the future. When children grow up into adults they will face many let downs. By giving trophies just for participating, it seems that people are missing a perfect opportunity to educate children about the frustrations and let downs that life will inevitably bring. We are teaching our youth a poor lesson by rewarding them for failure. These trophies teach them that they will always succeed just for making the effort to show up, which is very untrue. Not only do participation trophies not prepare them for failure, but they do not prepare them for handling their own mistakes and learning from them. The real problem with this is that not only are they taught that they will receive a trophy for however hard they try, but that they do not even have to try at all. This lesson teaches children a trait that they cannot have a successful future with- narcissism.
Children become more narcissistic when they are given participation trophies. They become entitled to some form of reward just for showing up. As stated earlier, these children will be let down, and they will be put down. It is the parent’s job to build them back up, but not inflate their ego. When they become narcissistic, they start to believe that they are good enough and they never strive to improve. When this happens and they grow up to be old enough that they do not get participation trophies anymore, the inverse happens to them because they have been taught their entire life that failure is so bad no one should ever have to go through it. This kind of coddling with children, which was meant to boost children’s self-esteem, is actually much more harmful to kid’s self-esteem than the old method of only letting the most skilled and hardest working kids be winners. Parents will suggest that participation trophies are not harmful to kids because they know they are worthless, but it is degrading for them to see their peers receive a reward and not them. Parents believe that these fake trophies are not fooling any of the kids because it is just a way to recognize any type of effort, not actually reward participation, but it is actually hurting kids who have no interest in sports and only play to receive the trophy and it is also hurting kids who take a great interest in sports and never feel like they get recognized enough.
Participation trophies ruin real trophies. When a child puts in hours into practicing a sport every day and gives all of their effort all season long, it is discouraging to them when, even though they receive a trophy for winning all of their games, everyone else gets a trophy too. Participation trophies were made to help losers feel better, but they are making the real athletes feel worse. The kids that put in extra effort should be the ones who receive rewards. Other kids should strive to earn a trophy but there is nothing to earn anymore. Anyone can get a trophy, which makes the best tool to motivate athletes and recognize effort useless. Trophies should be able to teach the focus, dedication, sacrifice, practice, or hard work that it takes to be the best at something. When you give one to every kid it takes this away.
Negatively affecting children’s futures, creating narcissistic traits, and ruining the meaning of trophies are why people must stop giving out participation trophies. They do not prepare children for future failures that they will face. They do not allow them to learn from their mistakes and they actually teach them that making mistakes is something that is so horrible that it should not ever be done. Making mistakes is nothing that they should be ashamed of. When they lose a game they should reflect on it and learn how to overcome obstacles that they could not before. What they should be ashamed of is not trying- which is what they are rewarded for. Participation trophies turn children into entitled narcissists that need more recognition for doing only what is expected of them and nothing more. What makes this all worse is that it turns away the children that have a passion for sports that believe they are only as good as the other players who do not try as hard as them, do not practice as often as them, and do not commit as much emotional involvement into the sport.
Some children wake up every weekend morning early to go out to the batting cages with their fathers to practice before the before game practice, they throw tennis balls against the walls outside their house to practice their fielding, they give all of their effort into a sport that they love and they are told by their lack of recognition for that effort that they are only as good as the children that sleep in every weekend and roll out of bed right before the game, the children that chase butterflies in the outfield, and the children that do not even want to play. When we do not recognize real effort, children will stop giving real effort. When we start rewarding children for all of the extra hard work and time they put into something, other children will start working harder, too. If you care about your child, you should not allow them to receive a participation trophy.