Do we give children too many trophies?



The culture we live in seems to be obsessed with making sure every child is a "Winner" regardless of the effort put in by actually talented or skilled children. I think at most I've gotten 5 trophies and I put in a lot of time/study into the events in question to get them. They've all since fallen apart or gotten lost in moves over the years. If by some stroke of luck I got an award that didn't come from hard work I would usually just trash them. They didn't mean anything to me in terms of my overall development. They were just garbage awards. I learned a long time ago that hard work is seldom seen and as an adult rarely rewarded. It seems that we are setting children up for a very harsh reality of failing as an adult without the proper back bone to handle it. Rant over.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • I think so. I think we don't emphasize with children the concept of winners AND losers. There is no consolation prize for bombing on the SATs, no participation trophy for "almost not quitting your job", no "world's second best dad" mugs.

    I blame the educational system, so content with just pushing students along until they aren't the school's problem anymore. If kids feel like they're being rewarded for substandard effort then it causes laziness and complacency, and then you have a generation of young adults set up for failure and we all want nothing more than the sweet release of death.

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  • We do. In my classroom (7th grade), I have an 'All Stars' bulletin board where I put up outstanding work every couple of weeks. I tell students that your name will not be on this board if you do not put in any effort. I don't care if you go from an F to a C or a B to A or having A's all the time. But if you want to recognized for improvement, you have to improve some how or someway. Period.

    You'd be surprised how many parents hate this policy and they say I should not exclude anyone and I should make it a point to make sure every child has their name up there at least once.

    Yeah, right.

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Most Helpful Guys

  • This is all part of the PC culture. "Let's treat children as if they are the most fragile creatures on earth and their egos can't survive not winning. Let's give them ALL ribbons so no one is a loser! Hooray! What a wonderful idea!" And while we are at it, let's teach them that it doesn't matter how hard you work and that trying to excel is not important!

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  • LMAO
    Thanks for the laughs, I needed that. : )

    Yes we give too many trophies.
    I'll tell you what happens to a kid that doesn't get a trophy.
    He'll feel like a loser, maybe he'll cry, and then he'll get over it. Next time around, IF that trophy means anything to him, he'll try harder.
    If it takes several tries before he wins himself that trophy, he'll have a sense of accomplishment, and pride. It will be well earned.
    He'll learn about how hard work pays off. He'll respect that trophy.

    Let me tell you what happens to kids that get trophies for nothing.
    ... nothing.
    They don't feel like they have to earn anything. They'll be cheated of a sense of accomplishment and pride when they DO win.
    They will grow up thinking that they deserve recognition for nothing.

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What Girls Said 22

  • Awhile ago I would say no, but then I got to see just how bratty some of the asshole kids get when they're not given things for doing something they should be doing anyway, so now I see why participation trophies are a no go.

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  • I play a ton of sports myself, and yes I have gotten participation trophies back when I did softball house league. But now that I'm on a high school volleyball team I know that what you work for pays off. Little kids I can understand giving a trophy to. but the farther you go in sports they aren't just gonna give you a trophy if you don't work your tail off for it. That's what my coaches say. You always have to work towards something better

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  • What's funny is that I remember getting participation trophies as a young kid & knew at the time they meant we didn't win anything. Later we won a regional title in soccer but lost the next round & we didn't want the crap trophy, so it was mailed to our school. Our coach asked us if we wanted it displayed & we voted no.
    i think it got tossed.

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  • I think people exaggerate the effect this can have on kids one way or another. Kids aren't going to get their self-esteem boosted but neither are they going to feel entitled to anything. Everyone knows the participation trophy is a worthless, meaningless gesture. It's mostly for parents to feel good about how encouraging they are but it's known to be meaningless.

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  • Modern society is based on everyone being a victim and no one taking responsibility for their actions, weve also taught children to be rewarded for no effort whatsoever

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  • I don't think a ribbon saying "Participation award" makes anyone feel good XD

    No, I don't think have this new culture of giving out too many trophies.

    It still hurts to lose, even in 2018.

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  • I was always told that effort is worthless if it doesn't bring forth results. I try to tell my daughter that effort, or "trying" really does count and it leads to improvement.

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  • In my country the majority of children doesn't get 1 single trophies and I don't think it affect them in anyway. I think too much of them would make the child be too confidence.

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  • We never wanted those trophies. Adults gave them to us so they wouldn't have to feel bad. Do you really think we all sit around looking at participation ribbons and polishing them lovingly every day? No! They sat on our shelves gathering dust because the adults who gave them to us would complain about how we weren't grateful and how their feelings were hurt. We all knew they were a farce and that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were the only ones that counted.

    All those things mean now is that I don't believe anyone's praise because I was inundated with bullshit from a young age. also who do you think was giving them out? I'll give you a hint It wasn't my generation

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  • This whole trophy thing seems to be an American thing.

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  • I get where you’re coming from, but I disagree... I feel like some of the encouragement is good. Awards for getting As or As and Bs and stuff like that encourage students to continue to do well. On the versa, awards for being in school every day all year long only reward students for good genes and managing to not get sick (which IS pointless). Participation rewards, though worthless to many, encourage a few students to keep participating. Isn’t reaching out to those few who need that encouragement important?
    So, I guess what I’m saying is, in some cases, it can be appropriate to award a student for participation, but a student should not receive an award for something they have no control over.

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    • I think I kind of see where you’re coming from. Schools I attended in the past had honors awards (Principal’s/First/Second Honors in grade school, Principal’s/Honors in high school, Dean’s List/Dean’s List w/ Distinction in college). These were all meant to recognize kids who did well academically and who worked hard. Kids who got certain awards either felt great because their hard work paid off, or felt further motivated to continue working hard (especially if they didn’t get the higher award and could have). I personally have no issue with recognizing too achievers because, like you said, it encourages kids to try and recognizes their effort when they do. That said, lines do have to be drawn. My HS and college only recognized the best—minimum award in HS required A-; in college you needed a 3.3 GPA at least. It’s important to make such awards achievable, but not too easily so, so that students do feel the need to push themselves to excel and succeed.

  • Trophies are for achievements that have no practical positive return or for things you aren’t willing to wait for the return on. Sports don’t add value to anything so a trophy is all you get to show for your success. Martial arts: it isn’t enough that you’ll fare better in a fight so you get a little plastic man on a plastic stand. Trophies are stupid. It’s like giving kids points for doing good things. But the real reward is not getting in trouble and things going more smoothly with less stress. Because they’re kids, that isn’t enough. They don’t see that cause and effect relationship yet, so they create a symbolic representation of that achievement: a trophy or a point, or stickers or certificates of achievement. Trophies are juvenile.

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  • I never grew up like that... I dont have many trophies/awards, but I worked hard to get the ones I had... I also think people dont realize that not all children grow up playing little league where everyone gets a trophy (just an example). Plenty of kids grow up not recieving any awards or recognition for their actions. I also think this might be more of a suburb issue as opposed to a general occurrence, and most people live in megacities now. I think it's a "problem" that has been blown out of portion since most kids dont recieve obligatory rewards.

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  • I dunno, I never got a single trophy when I was a child.

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  • Heck no. Children need this list:

    -Encouragement
    -Education
    -Fun
    -Health
    -Understanding of finances
    -little kiddy jobs
    - kindness
    - love
    - nurture
    - progress

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    • Yeah but a trophy for participating is not something to be proud of it’s just sad that’s what it is

    • No it isn’t. Cuz it means they’ll work harder. There’s should just be way more duller.

    • @DollySummers Look the kid is not going to care or remember in the future if he’s younger than 7 but if he’s old enough to remember he won’t care unless his parents emphasize on the idea that “he tried” but we live in a world where if you don’t compete you drown and besides “health, kindness, love, nurture” does are the things listed above and all those things can be provided by the parents not trophies if kids get those from trophies there’s something wrong and besides when I was little I didn’t get a trophy for playing soccer when I was young not even a medal and what did I do try harder the next year and sports aren’t about “kindness, love, etc” they are rough and they will teach a kid to be rough and hard for the cruel world that is ahead of them because like I said “if you don’t compete you drown” and adding emotion to sports is a bad idea unless those feelings are for the love of the sport

  • To me there's nothing bad in rewarding the effort kids make, no matter the results of it. Of course I don't think we should put them in a world where everything is rainbows - giving positive comments and so on on everything. They should know when they did bad so they can put more effort next time. But those trophies that are given are consolation prizes and I don't think there's anything wrong with them, cause the kids still know they could've done better, because obviously they're not getting all the applauds and obviously they're not on the first places. I think those trophies do more good than bad.

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    • ”there's nothing bad in rewarding the effort kids make, no matter the results"

      So you would reward their failures giving them unrealistic expectations and setting them up to fail... Wow... So short sighed and selfish...

    • Show All
    • You're not encouraging them to fail if you give them a reward for their effort. For example take a science competition, one of those they show on American movies and such where kids prepare projects and put them to show. There the one with the best idea, explanation and so on will get the first place and that's great, because they put a lot of thought in it. But why shouldn't the other kids get something small. Not something telling them they're winners, something telling them that after all they tried, they put effort and that's what's important. That even tho they didn't get the first place they shouldn't give up on the next competition of such type. Because effort is important. It's much more important than the results, because you may sometimes just be lucky.

    • Take for example an exam at school where kids have to write essays. One kid studied one theme, another studied all but the one the other knows. Then exactly this one is chosen on the exam. Who do you think deserves a prize in this case?
      They should know that working hard is important, the results aren't always important, because they depend on a lot more than what you give in.

  • They get a fucking trophy for showing up. What happened to actually earning something?

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  • Kids get a reward for just participating now days

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  • Yes.

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  • maybe so. but isn't it good, to help train them

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What Guys Said 45

  • This is a brand new phenomena I'm seeing in Japan, though I saw it in the US for much longer. And I loathe it so much, because as the schooling has shifted more to like, "Bonus points for effort absent results, trophies for merely participating", it just seems to be breeding a generation of kids who think they can achieve their wildest dreams absent merit, absent results -- the analogical American Idol contestant who quit his job to show up on stage only to turn out to be completely tone deaf, arguing with the judges and saying they're wrong, and then sulking off on stage with anger and depression.

    I might agree with paying close attention to kids who are struggling and improving a lot at something, and give them some positive feedback of encouragement in terms of how much *relative* progress they are making, even if they are still behind the rest. But that's when they're genuinely improving as individuals so that they continue to try to improve.

    I don't believe in rewarding merely effort absent improvements. Here in Japan I witnessed a disgusting moment just a year ago where my niece-in-law participated in a foot race on sports day and she she didn't even bother to finish the race in laziness, only to still win a participation trophy. That's getting to the ridiculous point of rewarding laziness, not even effort.

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    • As for that niece-in-law, now she's a school dropout, having not attended school for several months, and still has to go to the bathroom with the aid of her mother even though she's 16-years old. She used to have ambitions as a mangaka (comic book artist) but lacked much ability, and didn't discover it until recently due to all the praise and encouragement. So now she has dropped out of school and her dream is to live with her parents for the rest of her life.

    • This kind of thing would have been unheard of for the most part in my time. I'm seeing it as far more commonplace now, and I can't help but think the schooling is a part of it.

    • I'm not that traditional Asian type who thinks our kids should just be lawyers or doctors or something like that. If a child of mine has amazing musical ability, maybe he/she can become a rock star. But they need ability, and they need to learn what their actual abilities are, and I think you have to let them compete and discover that without sugar-coating the reality of the situation, or else find a very depressed adult trying to survive in the rubble of their ruined hopes and dreams.

  • Where I live that trophy and medal hype hasn't caught on, thank God. It's some serious bullshit.

    One of the rare instance where the "participation medal" exists in my nation are the Federal Youth Sports Games, a competition in schools in classic track and field disciplines. I think the participation medal should be renamed to participation scorecard.

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  • When everyone is a winner, no one is.

    The best feel like their achievements from hard work are pointless, because everyone is rewarded, and the worst feel like they’re no you being given an award from pity, which doesn’t happen help their growth.

    Maybe that’s just me though.

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  • I agree. They shouldn't be given awards when they don't deserve it no because it takes away from those that put for their effort.

    That said, as a child myself, we were very very poor and didn't get anything close to what kids get today. It takes away from appreciation true, but the other side of me wants them to be happy and it's hypocritical of me to say it, I would want to give them everything I didn't have growing up, though trophies they'd have to earn them on their own.

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  • I think trophies should be a symbol of winning something, not participation. You wanna give a child an award for participating? Give 'em a fucking ribbon... or even some candy or other miscellaneous shit.
    That's how I feel.

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  • Yes they do and i believe this based on the simple fact of look at how the world is at this moment in time, safe spaces, pedofilia being justified, peoples thoughts and opinions being belittled if they do not follow the general direction of others views and opinions because "your opinion offends me, even though i want equal rights, u cannot say that"

    Children are becoming more and more like snowflakes every year but this didn't start recently it started with the 80' and 90's kids

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  • We basically live in an era where you can't punish your children and even giving them a bad mark is prohibited. This is ridiculous. We should encourage efforts, push our kids to give the best of themselves. Not give rewards for being a lazy piece of shit.

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  • what, did you just wake up from a coma?

    people have been making fun of participation trophies for DECADES. I mean, sheesh, I'm 28 and i'm pretty sure they were giving them out when i was under 10.

    This is nothing new. If they're continuing to be a thing, then its just because those kids that got them grew up to be parents to continue the tradition.

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  • Yep.. I actually worked in a school (ages 5-11) where 'nobody loses, and everybody wins' It's such BS to teach that way. How can they ever prepare for defeat in later life?

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  • I know that kids now days get awards for doing nothing, and it’s sad. I grew up getting trophies I didn’t deserve just because I was on a team that won a game or compaction. But then again I’ve also gotten my fair share of trophies too.

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  • Yes, we do. We shouldn't. Where I grew up, I never got a prize or trophy for only participating. I'm thankful that my parents and teachers never did that. Thank God!

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  • Yeah by far! It's stupid I use to Down hill race and all I got what a hand shake. Until I made first second or Third place. Then I got a medal.

    I think society likes to reward failure in terms that stupid parents like to see.

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  • Absolutely. We've taken a turn where as a society most of us seem to think that confidence and security are owed rather than earned.

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  • I was born in 95 and I can't ever recall getting a runner up trophy through all my schooling. I'm from Australia though, not sure if that makes a difference.

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  • You can learn a lot through your struggles and hearing the word no. A trophy for just showing up isn't helping anything other than saying "hey I was there".

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  • That strongly depends on the kids surroundings. For example, the parents mentality, the way they raise the children, if they are raised in a rich family or in a high developped country etc

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  • Trophies are useless/meaningless/worthless unless they are earned. Too many of them, and they de-grade those that are ''real'' awards for -say- outstanding effort or performance.

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  • PC culture (pop culture almost?). Everybody is a winner and so on and so forth.

    Yes, we do. Competitions have winners and losers. If no, then it wasn't a competition to start with.

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  • Yes and even giving the losers small rewards overtime is harmful. It's not just with sports it's with everything now. Video games, board games, math competition, etc.

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  • When you go to a school and watch kids who are barely cognizant getting academic awards, I would have to concur.

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