Excessive and unnecessary rewarding is harmful to children
By CAROL LI
In the midst of the moment, a child happily receives their shiny trophy with wide smiles and gleaming eyes. They look toward the audience and feel a thrill of exhilaration and accomplishment.
Everyone has experienced receiving an award. Whether it was being on the baseball team, Science Olympiad team or the student council, many individuals have assembled a superfluous collection of awards during their lifetime. When organizations hand out trophies and plaques like free samples, it makes one wonder of the negative effects of the excessive awards.
Constantly giving rewards such as trophies result in incorrect mindsets, excess praise and materialistic generations.
For example, young children often participate in activities that give out awards to everyone so all the children feel like winners. However, this allows children to believe that they will always be winning, and in the future, some will not be able to handle the disappointment of losing. Although it is a nice mindset to have, winning everything is not realistic, and we should prevent children from gaining this incorrect mindset.
Furthermore, when the young children who do stand out in these programs receive the same awards as others who put in less attention or care, another negative mindset is formed that their hard work is not being acknowledged. Lack of proper recognition results in disinterest, and individuals who have potential may waste it because they feel as if the subject of matter is not important. As a result, reassurance for hard work becomes obsolete, and motivation to repeat their behavior is lost.
Additionally, the abundance of trophies is detrimental to society because of the image it creates. Referring back to the children example, not every child participates in these programs, which creates an unequal pretense. So, Child A who attends programs may seem as if they are more accomplished than Child B, but Child B may be just as strong, smart or talented. As a result, this can cause insufficient measure of self worth.
Constantly giving rewards leads to an increase of a false sense of self. There is nothing wrong about being confident, but having an oversized ego is entirely different, especially at such a young age. In a study conducted by the Ohio State University, the results suggested that “constant praise for kids’ tiniest accomplishments, may have the unintended side-effect of creating an over-inflated ego.” This can be extremely detrimental and the attitude of some children may shift to believing they are always entitled, and that belief may last even into adulthood. Because children are often being rewarded, they begin to have an inflated ego, which may prevent them from viewing issues with empathy and compassion.
Finally, giving children too many trophies and rewards for small accomplishment results in a the unintentional product of an overly materialistic generation. Already, older people often express how younger generations is too much on possession of objects instead of people and feelings. So, receiving unmeaningful awards adds to the fuel of creating a materialistic generation of kids, as they will develop materialistic ideals. This may become a problem in the future, as those individuals will feel they do not need to work diligently to receive praise, and their performance rates for jobs may be extremely meager, which only harms them in the long run.
To fix this mindset that society has created, adults need to rethink the trophies, plaques and other awards that are handed out and focus on rewarding a tasks that only can be accomplished by hard work and dedication. This will bring back the idea of constructive criticism, and kids will become motivated to work the best of their ability.