A participation trophy is a trophy given to children who participate in a sporting event but do not finish in first, second or third place, and so would not normally be eligible for a trophy. It is frequently associated with millennials. Their use has caused controversy: critics argue that they promote narcissism and entitlement among children to whom they are given, and are based on incorrect assumptions regarding supposed psychological benefits of self-esteem. Defenders of participation trophies argue that they teach children that trying their best is good enough, even if they do not win. Critics of participation trophies also note that some children also do not value them as much as they do normal trophies that are given to winners.
Others believe participation trophies can encourage children to work hard. The Awards and Recognition Association has developed a tip sheet for coaches that includes ideas on developing a meaningful sports recognition program.
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- "The Participation Trophy Generation is a Lie and I Can Prove it". Inc.com. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Wallace, Kelly (2015-08-17). "Debate: Does sports participation deserve a trophy?". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- "The NPR Ed Mailbag: The Participation Trophy". NPR. 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Johnson, Heather Beth (2010-03-23). Children and Youth Speak for Themselves. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 326. ISBN 9781849507356.
- "Establishing Your Sports Recognition Program". awardspersonalization.org. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
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