While growing up, my favorite sport to play was basketball.  I wasn’t a great basketball player.  To best describe my B-ball skills, I was mostly “okay”, and sometimes “good”.. but I played a lot and enjoyed it.  In the 7th grade, I was the “scrub” on a team of great players. However, when the season was over, I recall taking a team picture, standing next to the girl who practically carried the team on her back. In the picture I was holding a trophy, the same exact trophy she was holding, and the same everyone else was holding. I was glad to have a trophy, but in hindsight, maybe I did not deserve it.

Should Every Kid Get a Trophy?

Little did I know, but whether a child should be awarded with a trophy after winning a competition or not is a much debated topic.  Some people believe that when seeing the competitor get awarded, a child might develop an inferiority complex.  On another spectrum, others believe the desire of winning an award will make the child work harder.  But, before you draw any conclusion, let’s see what some smarty-arty ass psychologists say about it!  Is this “trophy dilemma” going to screw with my kids head?  Because I don’t want to be yelling “take out the damn trash, and turn that shit down” to my 30 year old spawn down the basement stairs.

The Technical Stuff

According to these renowned psychiatrists, winning a trophy has a very positive effect on kids. They do not clearly understand the meaning of being a winner unless they get something in return. Awards lose their meaning if every kid is holding one up.  But, if only the winner gets the trophy, others will realize that in order to get that special shiny shield, you need to work harder.  Life is not always sweet, and kids should understand that if they do not want to suck at that particular sport, they should push themselves harder.  A study showed that “Kids are smart, and they know that being handed a participation trophy isn’t the same as winning”.  Therefore, there should be no such compulsion to award every kid for just being a part of the game.


Winning an actual “no-shit you are the best player/team” trophy can, to some extent, create a sense of complacency in a kid.  They might lack the ability to accept defeat as winning every competition may make them believe they are invincible.  So, whether your kid is a “winner” or a “loser”, you should never allow them to succumb to any feeling of superiority or inferiority.  Science suggests that “kids need to be praised on the process, not the results.”  Psychology professor Carol Dweck says that children positively react to praises but this also creates a fear of failure in them.  Therefore, you should explain the importance of performing better rather than merely stretching out to grab the trophy.

A Bigger Trophy For The Winner

In the article “Losing is Good for You“, author Ashley Merryman notes that “by age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies”, yet coming back home with a trophy to show mom undoubtedly makes them smile.  However, the winner must be praised for their achievement.  This is why; the sizes of the awards must be different.  The kid who has excelled should be distinguished with a bigger award so that others do understand that if they work harder, they too can receive it.

Forget all of that… this is what I think:

A trophy fee is now part of the registration price for most youth sports.  But as parents, you must understand that winning a trophy in the annual sports competition is not everything a kid should aim for.  Just let them enjoy what they love to do, rather than just having them endure the constant pressure of excelling in any particular sport activity.  Everyone becomes a part of the ever-struggling rat-race at some point, but this is childhood!  So set your kids free and just let them have fun.

Side Bar: Can someone get me the stock price for the main company (in China probably) that makes trophies?

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