Quantcast
National Edition

How losing helps kids (and why participation trophies are bogus)

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26 2013 4:00 a.m. MDT

Best-selling author Ashley Merryman asserts the experience of losing — and lessons subsequently learned from losses — is a critical part of a child’s emotional development.

Shutterstock

Enlarge photo»

Author Ashley Merryman published a guest op-ed piece in Wednesday’s New York Times with the headline, “Losing is Good for You.”

The crux of Merryman’s argument is that too many kids are getting participation trophies for playing sports — “trophy and award sales are now an estimated $3 billion-a-year industry in the United States and Canada,” she reports — and not nearly enough time or energy are spent on making sense of the times when a child’s team doesn’t succeed.

“When children make mistakes, our job should not be to spin those losses into decorated victories,” Merryman wrote. “Instead, our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss, and to help them graciously congratulate the child who succeeded when they failed. To do that, we need to refuse all the meaningless plastic and tin destined for landfills. We have to stop letting the Trophy-Industrial Complex run our children’s lives.”

Merryman is co-author of the best-selling books “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children” and “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS