Should Children Be Given Participation Awards?

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey Online.

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey Online.

Madeleine Katz, Photojournlist

From a young age children are awarded for their accomplishments in sports, the arts, and academics yet others are getting awards for just participating. If everyone gets an award whether they win or not, it makes the awards for the winners seem less significant and gives a message that winning isn’t important.

In life no one gets awards for just showing up. Participation awards gives children and teens the wrong idea about how the world works. It is much easier for them to learn from a young age that they won’t be awarded for laziness or losing.

For a winner, watching other kids who didn’t win being awarded the same way as the winners can be disheartening. It can often seem like all the effort wasn’t worth doing well. They would have been awarded the same way if they hadn’t put the effort into winning. Awards should be an incentive for children to try their hardest and shouldn’t be given out to losers.

A survey that was conducted by the Washington Post shows that the majority of survey takers aged twenty-five years and older do not support giving out participation awards while the majority of voters aged eighteen to twenty-four voted that children should be given participation awards. The Washington Post also took a survey with the results categorized by how well the survey takers are doing career wise. It resulted in the majority of survey takers with an average yearly income of $45k and higher not supporting participation awards. The same amount of survey takers that voted against participation awards with a yearly income fof $30k to $44k voted for participation awards and the majority of survey takers with a yearly income of $39k or less voted that they believe participation awards should be given out.

“Participation awards are bad because they make the people who actually worked hard feel as though their hard work was meaningless, since everyone is being awarded anyway. This will lead to a worse performance of the team because team members will not feel as though working hard will bring them any benefit or advantage over other team members,” Jenee Anekwe (9) stated about participation awards given on teams.
Some may argue that the children who lose might be disappointed to see other children being awarded while the losing children are not. “On one side, proponents of participation awards stated that it was worth a few bucks to give kids a big smile, and that such awards did not cause long term damage or build entitlement in kids.” according to Changing The Game Project. If you don’t work hard in life,you won’t be rewarded and the sooner children learn that lesson the more prepared for the future they will be.