Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?

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I think so, and I might not be alone.

Ashley Merryman, the co-author of “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children,” argues that participation trophies can send a dangerous message:

If children always receive a trophy — regardless of effort or achievement — we’re teaching kids that losing is so terrible that we can never let it happen. This is a destructive message, because how we react to kids’ failure is just as crucial as celebrating their success. A recent study found if parents thought failure was debilitating, their kids adopted that perspective. If parents believed overcoming failure and mistakes made you stronger, then their children believed it, too.

Thus letting kids lose, or not take home the trophy, isn’t about embarrassing children. It’s about teaching them it can take a long time to get good at something, and that’s all right. Kids need to know they don’t have to win every time. It’s O.K. to lose, to make a mistake. (In a study of Gold Medal Olympians, they said a previous loss was key to their championships.)

It’s through failure and mistakes that we learn the most.

We must focus on process and progress, not results and rewards.

Read more here and join the discussion on The Learning Network!