Do we give children too many trophies?


Junior Joe Smith takes on freshman Sally Jones in the weekly Chess Club matches.

Brooke Peterson, BHS Journalism

The concept of awarding all children, despite their performance, a trophy has become a new concept known as handing out participation trophies. What does that really teach children though? It does not teach them the value of hard work or success. If everyone is given an award, it gives off the message to the people that put in a lot of time that they can achieve the same results by showing no dedication. Our society looks for ways to bestow trophies to people; even for simply showing up.

Many people argue that children’s feelings will be hurt if they do not win. What does that teach them about life though? It gives children a mindset that if you just show up to a job and not put in any work to it whatsoever, you will still have the same success as someone who dedicates hours to their work. Think about it this way: If you simply showed up to take the SAT or ACT, you would automatically get into an Ivy League college. Or if you just showed up for school, you would automatically receive an A+.

Trophies used to be handed out to congratulate someone for all their hard work and talent. Now, the U.S. and Canada have a $3 billion trophy industry. By giving children participation trophies, people feel they are protecting their child from the feeling of losing. However, children should not be trained that they need a trophy to have a high self esteem. Instead, they should be taught to feel proud of their grit and determination.

In fact, according to Dr. Mike Ronsisvalle, “When everyone’s a winner we are creating an environment in which more children will struggle with chronic negative emotion and mental health problems.” This is because ironically, parents who feel they are protecting their children by handing out participation trophies, are actually just finding ways to not have to deal with their child’s potential negative emotions.

Although I strongly disagree with the concept of participation trophies, I do feel that there are some instances where it should be implemented. For example, if all of the children are very young, it can encourage them to keep trying their best at a particular sport or event. However, once a child is old enough to understand that no one can win all the time, I believe giving them a trophy for everything they do is detrimental to their well being.