Trophies & Ribbons

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2001
Trophies & Ribbons
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Thu, 09-02-2010 - 9:25am

We were talking about self-esteem and kids getting tons of trophies.

I received a total of 2 trophies as a child (both academic) which I have kept to this day. As an adult, I added another trophy - for a sports league, and again, I played for years and this time we actually won the league. WOW! And again, it was something I will never ever forget.

One of my children got trophies and ribbons every time she turned around, it seemed, since she was involved in 2 sports and camp. She now (as an adult herself) doesn't even remember what they were for.

But I wonder about whether that was actually BAD to get all those trophies and ribbons? It did not seem to do any damage to get them. It didn't make them meaningless to her AT THE TIME. She was happy at the time, and wasn't that the point - to be happy participating?

So... what really is the downside? Will it destroy their ability to tolerate frustration and disappointment? Or just not add to their ability to take these things in stride? Will it give them unrealistic expectations for success in work and life? Will it make them unhappier in the long-run?

I am not sure what to think!


www. It's Not Mental .com


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Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 09-03-2010 - 2:45pm

I think a lot of parents are struggling with this question.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2009
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 9:05am

Well, I think it is very harmful to a child's mental health because it sends a message that even if you didn't try, even

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere" ~Agnes Repplier
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2007
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 11:23am

I believe that there is a lesson to be learned in losing.

diane08
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 11:45am

> Lastly, how does giving everyone a trophy make the winning team feel?

Yes, I have thought about the same thing.

Thank you for sharing your passion about this topic.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 12:15pm

> I may not have been the fastest soccer player out there...but I was always one of the smartest players on the field.

LOL - I was neither among the fastest nor the smartest soccer player out there, but I LOVED to play! I was just glad for the opportunity, fun and excitement!



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-1999
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 5:00pm


Hi!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 5:55pm

I love your perspective.

I suppose though that your hubby being a good sport may be more than just having his fill of winning as a child since I know many good sports who lost plenty as a child. I think it may be also influenced by a good examples and expectations. I know my older daughter who also got ribbons and such every time she turned around is also a good sport now as an adult.

We were not a very competitive family, though and played games with a creativity and cooperation - even some games which were not meant to be cooperative - they just kind of developed that way. Except things like cards and checkers. But Monopoloy and Life became imaginative and were great fun regardless of who won - I think the real goal was all the laughter and imagination!

Ahhh, but I digress.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2000
Fri, 09-10-2010 - 12:34am

But what about the child who tries and tries and NEVER wins?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2007
Fri, 09-10-2010 - 9:36am

??? What I think? I am not even sure what I think!

My older daughter was one of those kids who kept getting trophies without the tyring... OR winning! They just gave them. That's why I am puzzled - and don't really feel one way or the other, because I don't really like the over-abundance of trophies and ribbons, but also have observed that it didn't seem to harm her any.

I, on the other hand, athletically (physically) was a bit handicapped, which through 6th grade the kids loved to make fun of. I loved being active. My legs could not do what the other kids could do, so in phys ed, they encouraged me to use my upper body strength. One other child and I were always competing for the most pull-ups. Guess what? She always won. She was so incredibly fit - she could run, jump, do pull ups. I so admired her!! And... she never once made fun of me.

After a couple years I finally was able to do something "best." Sit-ups! I was small and skinny and could do the most sit-ups in the least amount of time. And if I never even accomplished that? I don't think it would have made a bit of difference.

No trophies or ribbons were involved.

And then when I got older and my legs better and stronger, I tried sports and failed and failed and failed and found some things I could do. I could pitch. And the soccer thing? Ha ha ha! Really! I PLAYED - even on a woman's league after high school, and I was TERRIBLE! But I played my heart out.

It wasn't the trophies and ribbons that mattered at all. It was knowing you found something - anything - that you could do well in, and - the relationships and fun with other people.

I am not against in some things giving everyone a ribbon, trophy or something to commemorate that they participated in the event. Sometimes the act of participating really is quite an achievement - takes courage to do it! It depends on what it is. Is it something the individual can be proud of just DOING? My younger daughter participated in a middle-school age pageant all on her own - put together her talent, wrote her own music. I know NOTHING about these things- music, make-up - etc. I am a tom-boy! Other kids from her school participated as well. She did not win. But she DOES have pride in the trophy - she had done something way out of her comfort zone and had worked hard. Every single participant had truly done something amazing. I am actually GLAD they gave trophies to them all. And of course, they knew they had not won. Most would not have even wanted the headache of winning and going on to do that again at a regional level!

But, I also understand that the trophies and such can be overdone to the point they are meaningless. I understand that some people believe they can spoil kids - give them a sense of entitlement, and make them expect something just for showing up. I see both sides, and am unsure what to think.

That's why I brought it up. Because we can talk and talk about this issue and it seems that all the different views have validity, which unfortunately leaves me back at square one - confused.



Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 09-10-2010 - 1:58pm

LOL!

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