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Should Kids Receive Participation Trophies?

Author: Jim Williams

(CBS) — We all want our children to grow up feeling good about themselves and to have high self-esteem.

But one star NFL player says youth sports have gone too far. He made a decision that has parents everywhere talking.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams takes a look at the “every kid gets a trophy” culture.

Jenn-Anne Gledhill is the mother of a seven-year-old boy who played soccer and has a trophy to show for it.

“He’s not a good soccer player, but he did not get the trophy for being a good soccer player,” Gledhill says. “He got a trophy for being a part of the team.”

Gledhill, who writes the Old Single Mom blog, believes that’s just fine.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying ‘thank you,’” she said. “’Thank you for participating.'”

But other parents insist a child’s participation in sports is not enough for an honor.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison posted on Instagram: “While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy.”

Jim O’Neill of the Chicago-based Sports Awards Company says he is making more trophies than he did 20 years ago, but he says children know the difference between a participation trophy and one for winning.

Besides, he asks, don’t adults get something for finishing a run?

Youth coach and former college football player Randal Townsel has a compromise for children: a plaque or team photo.

“I think it is a big deal for them to get something that said they participated,” Townsel says.

Opponents of “a trophy for every kid” believe losing is supposed to hurt and that you learn lessons from it and try harder next time. Others say a small trophy is just token and self-esteem is developed at home, anyway.

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