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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Participation Trophies’: Coddling or Good Parenting?

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Image credit: Emily Vecchioni

Should kids receive trophies just for showing up?

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Are we coddling our kids with “participation trophies”?  Or do they serve a legitimate purpose in raising kids self esteem?

Executive Editor of Metro Parent Magazine Julia Elliott and Georgia Michalopulou, Chief of Staff of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University’s Medical School, join Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today, to discuss the significance of participation trophies for children’s sports and activities.  Here are some of their key points:

  • Nurturing self-esteem: There is tension between more competitive parents and those emphasizing collective learning and self-esteem at children’s sporting events.  Participation awards can create a positive environment for children to try but it can go too far, according to Elliott.
  • Developmental stage is important: The developmental stage and the age of a child are important in determining the goal of the sports activity.  Young children need to foster self-esteem but as children grow older they understand their strengths and need feedback that reflects their abilities according to Michalopulou.
  • Parenting: Parents provide a protected environment for children to learn to succeed and fail and learn the coping mechanisms necessary for life, according to both guests. 

Click here to hear the full conversation

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