We all want to believe that our children are the best at everything and deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. But aren’t we sending a dangerous message by overpraising kids and even giving them awards for just showing up?
In a recent New York Times” Complaint Box” column, Jennifer Greenstein writes about how her 7-year-old son “won” an award for “Most Valuable Player” on his baseball team. The catch is that every kid on the team won the same award.
“What’s wrong with recognizing the true outstanding player on the team and letting some kids know they should consider taking up the violin? There’s nothing wrong with losing,” writes Greenstein, who suggest that we’re doing our children a disservice by telling them that they’re all worthy of awards.
I agree with Greenstein. By handing out trophies to kids just for showing up, we create a false impression that merit doesn’t matter. Soon enough, they’ll realize the harsh truth that they’re not the best at everything.
“Instead of coddling our children with fake praise and training them to expect constant applause, I think we should let someone lose — and let someone else win,” writes Greenstein. Not only will we prepare them for the real world, but we’ll also teach them the value of gracefully losing.
As I’ve written before, overpraising kids isn’t so good. In fact, in our efforts to protect our kids from adversity and make them happy, we’re actually preventing them from experiencing setbacks that help them develop. Don’t we all learn from disappointment? Failure builds character, right?
I still think back to the summer when my counselors at day camp handed out awards to every once in our section. My award? “Slowest Dresser.” In that case, that was one award I could have done without.
What do you think? Are we doling out too much awards to kids these days?