Friday, November 13, 2015


Arlene Pellicane (see source below) identifies a number of errors that parents make in trying to please their childrenHere is one of them.

A few years ago when my son was at a basketball camp, their team was matched with a much better team.  After about five minutes, they turned the scoreboard off so it wouldn’t read 98:0 (or something like that!).  We have done our kids a disservice by giving everyone a “participation trophy.”  Life doesn’t work like that.  There are winners and losers.  Imagine if we stopped keeping score in professional sports.  What would be the point of the game?  Teach your child that self-worth is not found on the scoreboard,  but that he/she should always strive to do his/her best.  It’s motivating to earn a trophy through sweat, effort and determination.  It’s de-motivating to earn a trophy just because you showed up." - Arlene Pellacane 


The first thing to realize is that self-worth does not stem from what others think about us, but how we see ourselves.  That takes maturity and does not often materialize until we are in our late teens (after puberty).  We cannot afford to measure our success by results on the field.  There are too many variables that are beyond our control.  This is why we need to expose our kids to competition early so they understand they cannot always be the winner.  We need to teach our kids how to set goals for themselves, goals that they can achieve without comparing themselves with others.  For example, if they are running a race, then they can improve their own times.  Sure, they want to win, so they need to see what times winners are achieving and do what they can to better those times themselves through practice, practice, practice.

When I was competing in one particular competition everyone got a prize.  I think the reasoning was that people were bringing their kids from all over the States, so the organizers decided to keep the attendance up, they should give everyone a prize to take home. NOT.


Self respect begins at home.  We need to build our kids' confidence by encouraging them to try things.  Find out what they show aptitude for and get them going.  Encourage them to value and seek improvement.   Catch them in their failures.  Yes failures.  The world calls not winning, 'failure'.  Acknowledge their disappointment and help them through it.  Don't brush it off.  They need to learn to pick themselves up and keep trying.  This is an invaluable lesson.  One of the greatest things we can do for our kids is to train them to believe in themselves, to be successful and to NEVER give up.

Comments by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Family Life Today, The 700 Club and Turning Point with David Jeremiah. Arlene and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children. Visit Arlene’s website at

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