Have you noticed that children seem to struggle with everything these days, even with basic life skills? Children and young adults don’t know how to handle disappointment. Some parents also lack essential coping skills and emotional regulation. Everyone wants a consolation prize, even for mediocrity. If we are not celebrating our children, we are bailing them out of difficult situations or solving problems for them.
In my second grade classroom we have a poster which addresses this perfectly:
“Fair is not everyone getting the same thing.
Fair is everyone getting what they need to be successful.”
Educators need to stop rewarding everything kids do. Too often we celebrate participation without effort. What does this communicate?
- You are not capable of success.
- I don’t trust you to take care of this thing.
These are both unintentional consequences, but can have lifelong implications.
We also must stop treating everyone the same! Each individual learner has a specific set of needs. It is not only okay for kids to get differing things, it is good to model that for them! Children will grow up with an understanding of the real world if we model this for them.
At the very beginning of this school year, one of my students finished a big writing assignment, then asked, “Do I get a ribbon or sticker?” My response, “No. You get to feel super proud for being a super-writer!” His smile was priceless!
Parents and teachers need to help kiddos recognize success as achieving goals, instead of putting on these huge shows. Students should work hard because it makes them feel good inside. This is how we create a culture of adults who can solve problems and possess a strong work ethic!