A lot of moms know that their children should be in sports or activities. There are many benefits to having your child participate in an activity outside of school. It is a chance for them to get more physical activity, they get to meet new friends, and it helps them learn about winning, losing, and being part of a team.

While the benefits of sports can go a long way, there is an aspect of them that has been a hot topic of conversation for a while, and that is participation trophies. Gone are the days when only the champion team got a prize at the end of the year, and if you look around, you will see all the children receiving a prize, even the team that came in last.

This has been a controversial notion in the parenting world, with some agreeing with them, and others thinking that they send the wrong messages. We are going to take a deeper look at what participation trophies are, and what their pros and cons are.

RELATED: Why Trying A Sport At Least Once Might Benefit Kids

What Are Participation Trophies?

kids with trophy
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Let’s take a deeper look at what these trophies are before we decide if we think they are a good idea or not. According to Urban Dictionary, they are exactly what they sound like. They are trophies that are handed out to each player on a team simply for participating. They are not given out based on if the child came in first place or last. The claim is that they build up a child’s self-esteem, but others see them as a false sense of praise.

The Pros Of Participation Trophies

child with medal and trophy
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When coming to a conclusion on how we feel about something, we tend to look at the pros and cons. This can help us see what the benefits are, and what the potential drawbacks are. We can do this for participation trophies as well. According to Premier Awards, there are several pros to participation trophies, and they include:

  • It celebrates the fact that a child got out there and did a sport, and participated in physical exercise, something that is important in this digital world.
  • It can promote healthy socialization, and when they are part of a team, they reap the benefits of their self-esteem.
  • They create a sense of achievement in the child, and something that they can be proud of. Even if they did not win, they know that they tried their best. That their effort mattered and made a difference.
  • They place “winning” from a new perspective, and that it is not everything. That the fun they had was most important.

The Cons Of Participation Trophies

boys team with medals
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Just as there are pros to participation trophies, there are definitely some cons, and these are important to think about. According to Gem Awards, there are several cons that parents should think about:

  • It can put a damper on the competition. While competition is seen as a negative thing, there are lessons to be learned when it comes to winning and losing, and how to work hard when you want something. Some feel participation trophies diminish these lessons.
  • Some believe that it can fuel feelings of narcissism, as it leads every child to feel they are the best, and they do not realize that their strengths may lie somewhere else.
  • It may not encourage them to work harder next time. If a team loses and learns to lose gracefully, they can be inspired to work harder next time. To look at what they did wrong, and where they can improve.

Sources: Urban Dictionary, Premier Awards, Gem Awards