No, You Don’t Get a Trophy for Showing Up: How We're Creating a Generation of Entitled Kids by Abbey North

No, You Don’t Get a Trophy for Showing Up: How We're Creating a Generation of Entitled Kids

A sticker on each correct worksheet; a certificate for participation; a free theme park ticket for reading; the more wrapping paper you sell for the PTA, the more prizes you get; if you read you get a pizza... Play on a rec sports team? We all get a trophy. It's your birthday? Come pick a prize. You attended a party? You get a goodie bag. 

Your team didn't win? You don't get a trophy. 

While I believe motivational tools and incentives have a time and a place, we have a generation of kids who feel entitled to whatever they want whenever they want it. Sure, not all kids. But too many kids feel they deserve a trophy for showing up. In life you will not get a trophy, certificate, prize or ribbon for doing what you are supposed to do anyway. How do we overcome this?

  • Talk with your child about doing what they do because it's fun, not because they will get something.
  • Explain to kids, you win some, you lose some. It's important to work hard in order to be successful.
  • Talk about what it means to be a good sport. Turn this into a lesson on being happy for others, your turn will come.

And no, you do not get a trophy just because you showed up.

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Elisa Schmitz
YES! Thank you for putting into words what's happening in so many schools, teams and families today, Abbey North . I remember very clearly working hard in order to win, earn, a trophy, etc. And when I didn't, it motivated me to try harder. Today, our kids simply expect the trophy just for showing up. This has to change so our kids understand the purpose of hard work and striving to do their best. Thank you so much for sharing this. Welcome to our #30Seconds tribe. So excited to learn and grow with you!
Ann Marie Patitucci
I think you’ve captured what a lot of parents and educators feel, Abbey North . Thanks for the great advice. And welcome to the tribe. We’re lucky to have you!
Tiffany Zook
So true, I grew up getting paid for good grades. When I entered college I asked my dad, “What do I get if I make the dean’s list?” His reply....”An education!”
Stacey Roberts
Bless you my child!
If I wasn’t already sold on 30Seconds, I am now. This is the first time on an open forum someone has published this. Just too bad it’s not 15 yrs back. I’m faced with this all the time where my kids think they should be rewarded for what’s normally expected of them. Be nice to each other, put your clean clothes away instead of putting them bk in the hamper, strive for good grades, showing up for your tennis lesson and all the things you mentioned and then some more. This mindset is so established though it’s hard to get your kid to see that’s not how it works. Then there are the kids I feel the sorriest for who’s parents idolize them then will go out into the world to find out others couldn’t care less what their parents think of them. Thank you again for this.
Bri Montoya
I so agree with this. I think that we have almost killed kids' intrinsic motivation to succeed, do well, complete tasks, etc. My spouse suggested paying our son for good grades and I just couldn't get behind it and this is why. I want him to be intrinsically motivated to learn and work hard! Thanks for the tip!
Michael Kennedy
Totally agree with you Abbey, we get caught in the middle sometimes as schools or coaches make decisions and we are on the wrong side of the parental vote, but your three bullet points hit the nail on the head regarding our family conversations. Goals, practice, team work, homework and hard work will take you places and are one thing, but the overload of trophies, prizes and rewards has to slow it's roll. We don't have enough shelf room... or head space to deal. LOL... Thanks for the tips!
aja commerce
Nice article
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