Trophy strife: Are kids coddled to when it comes to awards?

08/17/15 by Rennie Detore



How many of you actually pay attention to news at it relates to celebrities or athletes and how they parent their children?
Probably not often.
Despite the propensity of publications that deal directly in celebrity dirt or athlete undertakings, the general public for the most part takes this type of would be news with a grain of proverbial salt.

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Simply put, we don't care so much how those of privilege parent their children.
But sometimes a story comes across that actually sparks some serious debate and makes you wonder how you'd handle a situation of that ilk or a similar dilemma as it relates to your kids.
In this situation, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison wasn't congratulatory to his sons when they received participation trophies.
In fact, he sent them back.
Harrison responded in tow saying that this isn't about not being supportive to your children, but rather teaching them the value of earning a trophy versus being handed something just for showing up.
Harrison certainly isn't apologizing for this decision, nor should he.
There's nothing wrong with sporting events recognizing kids for participating, particularly kids of a younger age who really aren't as concerned with wins or loses but rather being rewarded for being part of a team.
I get that, and totally agree with that mentality.
But at some point, kids need to understand that you don't always win just for being a participant and actually need to know what it feels like to be disappointed. Far too often parents feel like they have to protect their kids from failure, sadness or being letdown, when in actuality coping with how that feels, being able to return to that same sport or event or job and try again harder to have a better result is the more enviable way of parenting.
What Harrison did was simply give his sons a message that is one all moms and dads should be thinking about cognitively as their kids get older, compete in sports or start their foray into the real world as it relates to college, relationships and most importantly jobs. That message is you don't always win or succeed just by being present and accounted for but sometimes hard work has to turn into harder work and giving it your all still doesn't mean that someone can't be better than you.
That seems heavy for a five year old, and that's fine if you're not ready to broach the subject at that moment, but it is something you'll have to strongly consider as your child gets older. What you may see as hurting or hindering them actually will do them a favor in the long run.

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