Rule #72: Give Your Kid a Trophy For Everything

in Mental,Rules of Parenting

trophies for everything


If you’re like most parents, you probably spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why the world hasn’t heaped more praise on your child.

After all, he’s amazingly special, what with the way he can talk without dribbling creamed corn down his chin—oh, and the way he remembers the sequence of Slurpee flavors on tap at 7-Eleven, or the way he can recite all the major plot points of the Twilight series without taking a breath.

Those traits require talent, and they’re almost as good than splitting the atom.

The problem is, he’s not all that great at the ridiculous things that deliver trophies, such as academics, music, dance and sports…though you’ve lobbied vehemently for participation trophies the size of hubcaps when your son attended a bowling birthday party.

Anyway, your kid’s personal wall of fame is destined to be as empty as his bank of happy memories unless you intervene. Which is why you should give your kid a trophy for everything he does.

Pick like a champion today

From picking the biggest booger in his class to burping deep into the alphabet, your child is making small miracles happen daily—without recognition.

So, do something about it. Set aside part of your paycheck for his floundering self-esteem by heaping hardware on him at least once a week. This is your mission, and the mission is pure and good.

For guidance, we suggest medium-size trophies (smaller trophies are for small people) for accomplishments such as blinking regularly, swatting at and almost hitting slow-moving moths, or being the first third-grader in his school to memorize the lyrics to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”

And for the big-ass trophies? Reserve those for major milestones, such as yanking off scabs without drawing blood, bouncing a ball several times without tripping or endangering others, or petting domesticated animals without alarming them or others.

When your child is older, he’ll look at his shelves of trophies and know that the strides he made—and household adoration that followed—are probably the chief reasons he paints mannequins and names them after Slurpee flavors.

It’ll be a good ride. Trust us.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig July 5, 2010 at 7:23 am

I think we should make a law against handing out “participation” awards. You didn’t win shit, you just happened to be there. No, you shouldn’t feel good that “at least you tried.” You should feel shame, humiliation, and self-doubt. Just like the rest of us.


D8N mom July 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I realize that this is satire but I think parents do love their children and appreciate things their kids do that other people don’t really care about. Rather than trophies for trivial things, why not trophies for very important unrecognized efforts. A trophy for the child who cleans his room all by himself, a sticker for the girl who is told “no” in public and doesn’t throw a fit, a ribbon for the child who shares a toy with a sibling, a certificate for the child who washes their own clothes and dishes, a medal for the kid who goes to the dentist. Not very many parents have a kid who is a gold medalist like Phelps or a great golfer like Woods.


C July 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Seriously? A medal for going to the dentist?


Sily Dad July 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm

When I send my 9 year old daughter to get me a 40 from the cooler, I tell her to go ahead and get one for herself. Isn’t that reward enough? Now I have to pin a medal to her chest? Next thing ya know my two year old’s gonna want a freaking certificate in addition to his puff when he brings me my smokes. What’s this world coming too?


Ali August 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

are you serious, “D8N Mom”? Since when should kid be rewarded for behaving the way normal people behave in public? Sharing is also a part of life that does not deserve a ribbon. Appreciate your kids all you want, tell them how you feel, but don’t give them a trophy. Your kids will never know the difference between the success of a first place ribbon and the one he “won” for brushing is teeth all on his own last night.

I really hope you were kidding,


CINDY August 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I agree you Ali giving kids awards for doing normal things they should do does not warrant a trophy. Sorry D8N mom I have two children and I am not going to reward them for things that they should normally just do


Creed August 22, 2010 at 1:32 am

I think you do a child more good by taking away trophies they do earn. If Roger Clemens had had his little league trophy taken away for something as trivial as talking back and never got it back, as it had already been sold for beer money to a kid who had cash to burn, perhaps he would realize how easily life can stomp you down when you mess up. Could have avoided this whole “steroids issue”


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