My daughter started “playing” soccer tonight.

And by playing soccer I mean mostly she did a whole lot of this:

Or this:

 

She was really cute out there, and kind of frustrating, but mostly hilarious. Watching her got me thinking though … If I was the parent of the 6 year old little blond girl with her cleats, her accurate dribble, quick pace, and multiple goals, I’d be pissed that she ends up with the same participation trophy as my yoga doing, butterfly chasing, free spirit, (maybe touched the soccer ball twice) kid.

Ever since having a child I’ve really struggled with the idea of participation trophies. Maybe it’s just because I think they’re stupid, but more than likely it’s because I don’t like what they represent. They represent my daughters future: a generation where you’re not judged by how hard you work and what you achieve, but by whether or not your parent’s paid $90 for you to play in the same league as the kid who works their butt off every day and hangs on the words of their coach hoping to gain some insight into being the best player they can be. Participation trophies represent the beginning of the end.  The first step toward “don’t work too hard, little Johnny, because Sally sits-on-her-butt is going to get the same reward as you“. We’re creating an entitled generation. And sure, I get it, simply handing a kid a trophy for showing up to the 2 year old soccer league isn’t going to turn them into a lazy adult with mediocre hopes and dreams.  But it’s a step in the direction of our children feeling like they’re entitled to get something for nothing.

Don’t believe we’re growing a generation of entitled children?  You must not have a toddler that has a full blown meltdown because you won’t feed her the snack that you didn’t remember to bring in the car with you.  But that’s a story for another time.

Why do the children of this generation feel like they don’t have to listen?  Why do so many of us struggle to get our children into bed at night? On the potty? Into their clothes?  Away from the TV?  I’m not judging one single parent if you are struggling with any of these things, because I’m in your shoes! We all are. But why is it so prevalent?  Our children have a “what’s in it for me” mentality, with a “why should I have to work for it” attitude. If you talk to most parents from my generation, we’re all struggling to find the power in our own parent-child relationship.

Then we start searching for answers, right? Oh, the internet. What would we ever do without the internet? *insert eye roll here* “This article says spanking turns your child into an axe murderer” … “This one says crying it out will create a CEO“… blah blah blah blah blah. We as parents are desperately trying to create these perfectly loved, never hurt, bubble version of children.  But what we’re ending up with is a generation of children who lack motivation, self-awareness, and respect for authority.

Well this went south fast…

So let’s bring it back.  Basically what I’m trying to say is this:  The generation of “here’s your trophy that you didn’t earn because we wouldn’t want to stunt your emotional growth” can kick rocks. Because what we’re really teaching them, is that they can do nothing and get something. That their effort doesn’t matter. That they don’t have to work hard or strive to be the best because little Bobby naps through practice and gets the same thing. And that’s not ok with me.  As a parent, I say “No thanks” to your participation trophy. It’s time to motivate and encourage our little humans to strive for perfection, to win the game, get the best grade, work the hardest, and teach them that they’ll be rewarded for that.

End rant.

 

Here’s your trophy for participating in this post.

SONY DSC

 

[Want to motivate your kid to surpass the bar set for them by the participation-trophy-giving people of the world?  Stay tuned for my post on helping your child set goals and motivating them to achieve them]

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8 thoughts on “You can keep your participation trophy, thanks.”

  1. So very true! You lost, but hey here’s a trophy so you don’t become emotionally unstable? Huh? How about: nice try, keep practicing maybe next time it will be your turn!

  2. I think if your child or even yourself earn a reward for hard work and dedication yeah the rest is junk. the kids are lined up for a trophy and they are giving participation awards as well as achievement awards what are you as a parent going to do to make a stand someone needs to stop this. gGlad my kids learned where their strengths were by hard work and much deserved rewards.

    1. Great question, Pat. Many parents agree with the notion of participation trophies. As for our family, we’re going to teach our daughter to set goals, work hard for them, and get rewarded when she achieves those goals. She can have the participation trophy like everyone else! But after that, she’s going to learn to work her butt off to attain something greater than just participating.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I remember at your brother Andrew’s commencement ceremony the Pastor said, “this is the most entitled generation thus far”. We need to set high goals for our children. They need to know that the only time you fail is when you don’t try. Thank you Bree. You bring joy and laughter to everything you write. Keep it coming.

  4. My son is nine and started playing football this last fall. If you wanted to be a starter you had to show you had the skill to be a starter. My son worked his butt ofnthe whole year, he never did get to start, but it was his first year ever. He was eventually practicing with the starters and his coach encouraged him to keep up the hard because he knew my son had the potential to be a starter. I love that coach for that.

    1. That’s awesome! I love to see coaches really push their kids to work hard. But I especially love when kids work hard and are proud of themselves. Thanks for sharing.

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