Will Participation Trophies Make Your Kids Lazy?

image589I was watching Good Morning America the other morning and was intrigued by a feature on participation trophies in kids sports. I remember when I played soccer in elementary school, our whole team would receive participation trophies at the conclusion of the season. Not many of us have kids yet, so we can think about this subject in relation to ourselves. How did receiving participation trophies (no matter how much or how little you actually participated) affect our athletic mindsets? Some parents on the side of participation trophies argue that they “get kids motivated”, “makes them feel like they’re worth something”, “participation trophies are harmless”, and they “give them a sense of accomplishment.” Some parents against

sldfparticipation trophies argue that “they are unnecessary and pointless,” they encourage complacency and “dissuade greatness,” “the trophies make kids entitled,” and “it’s like mocking the kids who don’t win.” Many of these opinions are of parents who haven’t done the research of how participation trophies actually affect their children, but some are still valid. This website has the best quotes from parents arguing for and against participation trophies. Pittsburg Steeler’s Linebacker James Harrison says, “I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe they are entitled to something just because they tried their best,” Their shelves should stay bare, he said, “until they earn a real trophy.” ef18a8e73f657b535fcb68a492551449


Many scientists say that it is a good thing to reward young children for their effort. Many argue that “participation trophies” are not so much for accomplishment but for effort. “And let’s be honest. Participation trophies aren’t fooling anybody, including the children who receive them.” Kids are smart enough to know when they didn’t earn a trophy. When I was young, I knew when I accomplished something amazing and got a reward for it, versus when I was lazy, didn’t positively add to the team, and got a participation trophy. nHHAhwQ

Some say we shouldn’t get all worked up over participation trophies, because they don’t actually affect a child’s work ethic later on in life.

So where is the proof and science behind all of these theories?  No study has been done to prove whether or not participation trophies are beneficial or hurtful, so it is up to the parents and coaches to decided whether it is appropriate for their child to receive a paDBoBNdarticipation trophy or not, and also to teach them about deserving things, work ethic, and the positive outcome of hard work. The cure to some children’s laziness won’t come by simply taking a plastic trophy away. Just because some kids get participation trophies doesn’t mean those kids also expect everything in life to be handed to them. participation-award

3 thoughts on “Will Participation Trophies Make Your Kids Lazy?

  1. Aaron Jacob Harris

    I see both sides of the arguments over participation trophies, and my stance is somewhere in the middle as well. I believe there is a time and place for participation trophies, but once the participants reach a certain age or skill level, they are useless. For many young children, happiness is very material. Whether it is a new toy or a candy bar, children love to have their hands on something. If children were given a participation trophy, they have a physical token of their accomplishment, however small it is. This material object boosts their confidence and enjoyment, making the participation trophy very valuable. As we age toward adolescence, we learn to get happiness other ways, often through hard work and actual accomplishments. In these cases, participation trophies aren’t valuable, and can be almost demeaning to those receiving them.

  2. Nicholas Andrew Goussetis

    I do agree with James Harrison’s stance on this issue. Granting participation awards to children who have accomplished nothing may be seen as an appropriate gesture towards children as a confidence booster, but without a sense of earning something, are worthless. Perhaps there is an age when the self-worth outweighs the feeling of earning something, but if so, I feel as if it is at a very young age.

  3. Cassidy Paige Heiserman

    Personally, I have mixed feelings on participation trophies. I think it is important for children, especially really young ones, to feel as though they are worth something. However, I think that receiving participation trophies may lead the children to feel as though everything is handed to them. I think that it is crucial for children to know that they must work for things they want to achieve.

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