Everyone is NOT a winner!

This post was inspired by a child’s football game I attended to watch my sister cheer. At the game I learned that if a team scores too much over the opponents score, this is considered taunting and the team will receive a penalty. What’s more? The team is also required to write a letter explaining why they scored so high above their opponents score. All I could do was scratch my head at this. These children are being penalized for playing so well? How is it their teams fault that the other team didn’t play as well? Would a professional team think twice before dominating their opponent? Of course not! So why should these kids be any different?

As I researched this issue a little more I learned there is a bigger issue. These days every kid is considered a “winner”. When frankly this is just not the case. I am sorry if I am bursting anyone’s bubble but we are not all created equal. You sit me down for a math exam I guarantee you I will come out with one of the lowest (if not THE lowest score) in the room. Ask me to comprehend a book (any book) for you and I bet i could do this better than most. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Additionally we all have bad days and good days. And most of all, there is ALWAYS someone who is better than us at SOMETHING!

This is something we should learn young and learn it well. Because when you get into the real world it can be a splash of ice cold water if you were brought up to believe everyone is a “winner.” You will go on an interview and not get the job. You will apply for a school and not get in. You will fight for the man of your dreams and lose. This is life. Learn to love it.

According to this NY times article, “Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that kids respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they’re talented, smart and so on. But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again.”

We are not helping out kids by patting their back for existing. We should save the praise for when it counts so it means something! False encouragement gets us no where.

Since I am not a mom maybe I am totally off on this so I turn to you bloggers and moms out there, do you think losing is good for your children?

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20 thoughts on “Everyone is NOT a winner!

  1. That football game issue is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!!! I remember my daughter’s softball games having a run rule, but that was just to prevent a 5 hour game with a score of 42-0 and spared the other team a little embarrassment.

    My kids have a ridiculous amount of trophies, many being ‘participation’ trophies. I had zero trophies growing up. And I still think I have better self-esteem than my kids!

    Maybe my kids are unusual, but they never seemed to care about winning or losing all that much. Like, they were excited to win, but never heartbroken over a loss. My oldest and my youngest were both 4 year varsity in their sports, so it wasn’t like they weren’t real athletes. I think because I never made a big deal about competition as a parent, they didn’t take it so seriously. Their Dad is another story. He grew up in an uber competitive large family and he still talks about high school games that his team lost at the last minute. It’s wack!

    • I don’t know I just feel there is something to be said for being congratulated ONLY when you do something to deserve it. I think beyond that it loses its meaning. You might be right though, by not putting a lot of emphasis on it your kids might be a bit more laid back about things. That is a really good thing. No sore losers!

  2. I always used to say to my kids when they were young if they didn’t ‘win’ something that it was just someone else’s turn. I didn’t think they listened and then one day after my 10 year old son’s team lost a football match all the kids were standing around being angry and sad and my son said – ‘it’s okay, it was just their turn to win today. No big deal’. I was really chuffed and knew then that they were listening 😀

  3. “The team is also required to write a letter explaining why they scored so high above their opponents score. ”

    WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? OMG…that is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard!

    Shae, I agree with you on so many things you brought up in this post.

    “but we are not all created equal.”

    “This is something we should learn young and learn it well. Because when you get into the real world it can be a splash of ice cold water if you were brought up to believe everyone is a “winner.”

    There is something to be said for learning how to be a good loser, because I don’t care who you are and how good you are at something, there is going to come a time when you DON’T win.

    And I learned this from being a stage actor. So often the parts I REALLY wanted, I didn’t get. But you learn to develop a thick skin and realize it just wasn’t meant to me. I myself am not a competitive person, so I don’t always feel that have to win over someone else. As long as I did my best, I’m happy.

    I’ve had a lot of practice in not always getting what I wanted, because when I first started acting I was much more rejection than praised. And it taught me a lot.

    FABU post, Shae! Have a terrific week….X

    • Acting is such a perfect example of this Ronnie so glad you brought it up! I too act, although admittedly not as much as I wish I did, and let me tell you the rejection is much more common than the praise. And you know what? Ive learned to be okay with that. If its not meant to be than I am meant to do something else and that is really okay!

  4. I’m not a mom either but I’ve always believed that one of the most important jobs of a parent is to teach children to be successful in life. I’m not talking about getting a great job or making a lot of money … I’m talking about success in terms of being able to get through life and deal with all the ups and downs. I’m talking about teaching them to find joy in every day, even the “bad” days. I understand the idea that kids need encouragement and praise, but winning is only worthwhile if losing has been experienced. Thanks for a very thoughtful post!

    • This is so very true and I am so glad you agree! First of all happy to see a new face but I dont see a link to your blog- if you have one please let me know I would love to stop by! Also, you views on how to raise a kid really show you would be a great mom some day. Very smart lady!

      • Oh thanks – I’m afraid that my chances at motherhood are gone. I see that you’ve found my blog … thank you for taking part in my survey. But, for any of your readers who might be interested in green living, here it is: http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com Have a great weekend!

  5. I understand that the reason for the everyones a winner belief and the participation medals is to boost confidence in children. Though I believe itnis well intended, I believe it inadvertantly causes more problems than good. By allowing children to to “win” so much at early ages, when they realize that they arent as good as some others around them, they lose all confidence and stop trying to be better. I would rather my kid realize he took 4th place and try to bettr his skills, than to think hes the best and them be left wanting to quit cause it got difficult. Difficult times breed strongr people, obstacles to overcome teaches how to fight harder for what we want in life.

    • Very well put! It is very true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We need to stop protecting our kids from losing and let them learn what its like for everyone else in the world.

  6. I’d pass the math test lol give me a physics test and I’d be the lowest though. Such a crock giving them all these good job medals. It is no wonder why kids are lazy and think everything can be handed to them when they get older, because it is. You can’t get better thinking you are great already.

  7. “We are not helping out kids by patting their back for existing. We should save the praise for when it counts so it means something!”

    That is right on target, Shae. I’ve seen all kinds of school events where every single child gets a trophy. Losing sucks, but if you learn how to handle it, you’ll develop a taste for winning and a desire to try harder the next time. I always had trouble with math, so I’m not the guy you want doing your taxes. And believe me, I’ll get over it.

    I have two beautiful nieces I adore and while I’ve them every ounce of love and support, I would never want to heap false praise upon them. They’d see right through me in a second.

    I hope I don’t have to write a letter explaining this comment…

    • No letter needed this comment is on point! I am so glad you agree! And I love how you said you have trouble with math but you are okay with it. That is the attitude kids need to have and I am scared growing up in this protective bubble they just wont have it!

  8. Yes loosing is good for children. They will never find what there good at if they are told they’re good at everything. But there is something worse about this. Its about keeping people down instead of preparing people for the real world they wanna give them big heads with out any actual skills. That is what is happening to this country. If you haven’t seen it you should watch Idiocrocy its a movie that has alot of stupid humor but sadly its almost a documentary.

  9. Pingback: How Protective is Too Protective of Kids with Allergies? | cestlavie22

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