Is Rewarding Mediocrity Stunting Your Child's Growth

Is Rewarding Mediocrity Stunting Your Child's Growth

Participation trophies may cause more harm than good.

There was a time when losing became motivation for winning. Losing a team sport makes the team practice harder.

Losing made each individual want to be better than their last effort. Losing made the coaches want to devise new strategies to implement. And although it was not a guarantee for success, it made you feel better the next time out when you won the game. A comeback victory makes everyone involved feel good. Even the parents, fans and supporters of the team felt proud because they'd become emotionally vested in the team.

The same things can be said about awards day at the end of the school year.

The students would gather in the auditorium and those students who had done what they were supposed to do all year where honored with certificates and awards. There was an award for "High Honors", "Honors", "Perfect Attendance", "Dean's List" and "Principal's Award" and depending on the level of the school there may have been a few other acknowledgements. BUT, if you left that auditorium with nothing, there a chance you were not surprised because bad grades and performance does not sneak up on you. You knew going into the ceremony how your grades were. In fact, you knew all year that this day was coming and had ample time to plan for it and get your grades on the right track, but for whatever reason you chose not to.

For some students walking out empty handed was a wake-up call. The next school year you studied a little harder, you asked for additional assistance, you asked those friends who earned award the year prior for a little help and you made things happen. The next award ceremony rolls around and maybe you don’t get "high honors" but you are able to make "honors", or maybe you came extreme close to honors and got dean's list recognition for most improved performance. Nevertheless, you leave that year with your head held high because you knew you put in the work and got the recognition you deserved.

Somehow, some way, things took a wrong turn. I don't know this to be true, but it would seem that a group of parents, whom maybe, didn't know how to handle their child being hurt or sad complained, and said everyone should get a trophy. And behold, events started giving out participation trophies. Every child that played in the game walks away with a trophy for simply trying. The same concept spilled into the school systems and there were awards and certificates given to cover just about every aspect of things to insure every child got something on awards day. I know of a school that give a "Good Student" award to children who show up to class and turn in their homework. This may seem like a great thing for the moment, but I don't think people considered the long term affects this could have on a person still developing social skills. Awarding students and players for doing what they are expected to do does not prepare them to become more or extraordinary. Instead we stunt their development by confusing them into thinking they ae doing just as great as the person who work, studied or played harder, so they start to feel entitled. What it also fails to explain is how come the opportunities offered in the end to those other students are not the same.

Learning these simple lessons in failure, loss or rejection are important for the development of a child or teen. It helps them to learn and understand a valuable lesson. That not everyone wins every time and you can't get what you want every time. According to F. Diane Barth of Psychology Today, we are programmed to be entitled at an early stage of life, but we are also programmed to gradually develop the capacity to recognize that other people have needs. This growth cannot be forced before a child has the internal ability to understand; but we can all gradually learn, through experiences with our parents and other people who love and care about us, to manage our needs to be special. The definition of entitlement is: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges). A sense of entitlement complex is linked with narcissism and borderline personality disorder.

15 Signs You Have a Sense of Entitlement

The people who didn't learn those simple lessons as a child often develop a sense of entitlement. They may find it hard to develop meaningful relationship and friendships because they can’t deal with rejection of any kind. They can become very controlling because they are accustomed to things happening a certain way and they are not willing to bend. These same people may throw tantrums or even worse cause others harm when they are embarrassed publicly simply because they never learned how to process those emotions as a child. We have parents, teacher, coaches and loved ones that help to guide us through those emotions at a young age. Maybe participation trophies are hurting more than helping.

Feel free to email me your thoughts or leave them in the comments section, and as always...

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.

Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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5 Ways My Grandpa Has Turned Me Into The Girl I Am Today

I am so thankful and proud to be your granddaughter.

We all know that grandfathers can teach us a lot in this lifetime, but if you are lucky enough to have a grandfather like mine, then you know that what they teach you is so important for this life. Here are 5 things my grandfather has taught me:

1. To love others.

My entire life you have set the perfect example of how to selflessly love others. You taught me that no matter the person or the situation, everyone deserves to feel loved.

2. To be kind.

You taught me the importance of being kind to everyone that I meet.

3. To go the extra mile when helping others.

Not only did you teach me the importance of being kind to those that I meet, but you also taught me to help others as much as I can and go the extra mile to make their life easier.

4. To forgive.

You taught me that no matter what anyone has done to me, it is important to forgive them and move on.

5. To love God wholeheartedly.

The most important thing you taught me was to love God with all my heart and soul. You have been the perfect example of a faithful servant and your light for the Lord shines so bright.

Thank you for all the things you have done for me and taught me. I am so thankful and proud to be your granddaughter and I love you so much.

Cover Image Credit: Mason Moorefield

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