Parents, child psychologist weigh in on participation trophies - WNEM TV 5

Parents, child psychologist weigh in on participation trophies

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"I don't think people should just get awards for showing up," said one Mid-Michigan parent.

It turns out Pittsburgh Steeler's linebacker James Harrison agrees. He made headlines after making his six- and eight-year-old sons give back trophies they received for participating in sports.

And local parents are divided.

While some parents disagree on just giving kids trophies for showing up one expert says getting them on the field and rewarding them for that could actually be beneficial.

"I think kids can learn a lot from sports," said Victorean Cox, a child psychologist.

Cox has been a child psychologist in Flint for nearly 20 years.  She also coaches a youth soccer team in her spare time.  She said kids under 12 sometimes need encouragement to get interested in sports.

"At young ages everyone playing, everyone participating. Everyone getting a medal or trophy is a way to engage kids in an activity," Cox said.

She said once kids reach their teen years and have to try out for sports, they naturally become more competitive. But taking away an award they've won even it was just for showing up could be teaching the wrong lesson.

"Is that going to push those kids to want to compete harder, or is it going to cause them not to want to compete at all?" Cox said.

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