The Unrealistic Expectations of Trophy Kids

The Unrealistic Expectations Of Trophy Kids


I didn’t have any particular plans this weekend (not that I ever do). I did some reading until my eyes got wobbly, then I decided to end the night with a bit of Netflix.

I came across a documentary called Trophy Kids which immediately caught my attention. Right off the bat, I already knew it was going to focus on athletic children. But what I didn’t know would soon shock me.

There were five families featured in this film: a high school football player, two high school basketball players, twin middle school brothers who play tennis and an elementary aged girl who plays golf.

All the parents, except the mother of the twin tennis players, seemed to push their children to perform in a manner that they were not yet ready for. I noticed a common theme, excelling until the point of fame and fortune.

I almost could not watch this all the way through. It was that disturbing.

Click next.

The football player, Justus, had some of the same issues that my teen had. Very unmotivated, disconnected and clueless. I could somewhat understand his father’s frustration. What I didn’t understand was why he felt the need to constantly ride and belittle him over a sport he didn’t even seem interested in.  It clearly had a negative affect on his self-esteem and self-worth. Everything they were doing was a waste of time.

Nothing he did was ever right and you could clearly see the wedge it caused in their relationship. Dad should have exercised a bit more patience with his teen.

What about the belligerent parent on the sidelines? Click next.

The father of one of the basketball players would yell and scream during the whole game. He would also complain to whoever was close by him about what was happening in the game and felt comfortable arguing with the refs. He was eventually barred from attending games.

Observing this kind of behavior is extremely uncomfortable. It makes the child self conscience knowing that his/her peers are witnessing such outbursts.

Most children perform worst under this type of pressure. They are under duress. It’s like a robber walking up to you and putting a gun to your head. They tell you that you have 5 seconds to open your safe or you will die. It’s really difficult to concentrate while dealing with that level of fear.

You won’t believe what this dad did. Click next.


The one that disturbed me the most was the father of the 8 y/o golf player. Not only would he get visibly upset each time his daughter was not performing perfectly, but he would cuss and say things that were way out of line. At one point he called his daughter a stupid b*tch under his breath. I doubt the little girl heard him, but the mic picked it up and it was clear as day. How is he going to explain that to her when she watches the documentary? Or maybe this isn’t the first time that he’s called her a nasty name like that?

How does a child perform when led with positive reinforcement? Click next.

The mother of the twins was the most chilled. Ironically, her boys also seemed to be the most talented. She encouraged them, told them to visualize what they wanted and always had something positive to say. She would ask them who was responsible for their talent and they would say God. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders and so did her boys.

Not only did they perform well, but they also had a calmness that spoke volumes of their self-esteem and confidence. They had made a pact that they would not compete against each other. They would decide ahead of time who would forfeit.

Not all athletic kids go on to become stars. But all stars were once kids. They should be able to enjoy their childhood while they still have one. Click next.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because they’re so many parents who force their children into perfection. Most of the time, this is because they are living vicariously through their child(ren) and are looking for some sort of payback in the end. It’s sad to see children who have to sacrifice their childhood because their parents want them to be stars. What if they don’t make stardom? The lost childhood would have been all for nothing.

It’s OK to push your children to work hard and become the best at whatever they’re involved in. Just have realistic expectations and make sure that they are following their dreams and not yours.

If you haven’t seen this documentary and have tough skin, go check it out on netflix!

Are you hard on your kids when it comes to sports? Have you witnessed this kind of behavior from other parents while at a sports game/practice?


23 thoughts on “The Unrealistic Expectations of Trophy Kids

  1. Dear Tasha, first of all thank you for stopping by and following me. I just read your last post and it is very sad how some parents try to “encourage” their children. I am a mother of two children but never pushed them to anything they wouldn’t want to do. They tried to do some activities at the primary school and they liked some of them but they didn’t choose any one for a life style challenge. My daughter loved volleyball but since she was injured and gained some weight she can’t play it. But she fell in love with cooking and baking and she is studying now at the Hotel Hight School. I am always glad when she feels joy to do what she likes.
    Thank you for sharing this post.
    Have a blessed day!

    1. That’s good parenting Majka! While we all want our children to grow up and make a decent living, there are definitely better ways of going at it then forcing them into stardom. Allow them to enjoy their childhood so that they may become healthy, functional adults.

  2. Though we don’t have kids, I have been to enough kids events over the years, including sports to know that this situation has gotten out of hand by and large. And it seems so much worse than when I was growing up. I think so much of it stems from the outrageous money professional (and even college) athletes seem to command these days. I think a lot of these parents start seeing dollar signs when their kids show some skills at a sport and it jades them and frankly makes them meaner. I think it is dreadful hearing that kind of belittling a parent would inflict upon their own child. Now that the big game is over, I have to tell you that as every year goes by I seem to be drawing further away from sports, in part based on this kind of attitude 🙁
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    1. These kids are treated no differently than the animals that perform in the circus. Yes, they may eventually develop a talent that will entertain others but what about their emotional well-being? How are they suppose to function outside of their chosen sport when all is said and done? I don’t blame you for how you feel. There has got to be a better way!

  3. Thanks but no thanks because I will probably get very upset. It’s totally annoying when some parents want to live their lives through their children and tomorrow we see dysfunctional kids whose social skills are so poor and they become spoilt brats when they fail to win.

    1. Or worst, on drugs or suicidal because they were never taught how to properly function outside of their chosen sport. I don’t blame you for not wanting to watch it…it definitely was not easy to watch.

  4. Wow sounds interesting ugh! My son is a runner, he already puts so much pressure on himself! I am on the sidelines telling him, be happy, be a great sport and I am proud. I don’t care if you are number one but be a good number one kind of person! I hate that push!
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    1. You are a wonderfuk support to your son. The fact that he pushes himself shows that he’s following his passion. I wish him well as I’m sure he will accomplish his dreams!

  5. Oh, just sad. I don’t have a thick skin so I won’t be watching it. It’s so frustrating on both ends of the spectrum… those pushing their kids to “greatness,” and those who just don’t care where or what their child is doing. Sad, sad, sad… that’s the only thing I can think to say… sad.
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  6. While I am not pushing my child to stardom… I can see how easily it is to care about having your child achieve their best to the pt of bear obsession. This can also be detrimental. Thanks reminding me of this. ..
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    1. Just find the right balance and you’ll do well. It’s OK to push your kids to do their best, but in a positive manner with realistic expectations.

    1. It really does cause a lot of resentment and issues for the family. The same child will more than likely have to sit with a therapist to sort all of this out later on down the road.

  7. You raise a very important issue here and you can see it from the comments being made. It is very important that parents should not push their children too much just because they want to enjoy the pride of successful kids. Parents should encourage their kids but not too much to drive them mad.

    1. Indeed. Children need positive encouragement for motivation. No different from adults. Positivity will give positive results while negativity gives negative.

  8. Sometimes,we the parents may not know that what we are actually doing to our children is trying to recapture that childhood fantasy we were not privilege to live. So we rant and grumble when they are not performing as we think they should.I say this experientially, but I am learning to understand that they are individuals with their peculiar assignment of destiny ,we are just custodian to help guide them in the right part. Thanks for sharing Tasha. BY THE WAY…Ilove this new look on your blog. <3

    1. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience…it’s been awhile since your last visit!!! I had to think for a moment about what changes I’d made to the blog, then it hit me, the font!! lol I’m getting ready to take a blogging course so I’m sure there will be many more changes to come. I sure hope you’ll pop in every now and again and say hello! I always love having you! 😀

  9. This sounds like one of those movies that I both want to watch and don’t want to watch. I didn’t play sports growing up, but I definitely saw this with some of the parents of the kids who played sports with my siblings. Their parents not only didn’t make it fun for their own kids, but they made the other kids uncomfortable and also made the sports less fun for all involved – kids, parents and other spectators.

    1. Parents like that do make the atmosphere uncomfortable for others. I have also witnessed this myself at my own children’s karate school. In the 3-5 y/o class to make matters worst. Geez, its like, chill out. Young kids that age are going to get a lil fidgety. Thank you for you input.

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