Character Counts More Than Smarts

New study shows moms around the world agree, more or less, on what they want for their kids.

Kind, honest, and respectful. Turns out those “EQ” qualities are the ones today’s moms most want to see in their kids, more so even than successful, leadership ability, and intelligence. That was the rather surprising conclusion of the Moms’ Hopes & Wishes Study just released by Fisher-Price, Inc., a global early childhood development company and a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc.

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“EQ, or emotional intelligence, is the ability to understand emotions in oneself and others,” said Sara Harkness, Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Health and Human Development at the University of Connecticut, and consultant on the survey. “Although traditional IQ is important for learning new information and thinking analytically, people with high EQ have an easier time making and keeping friends, and they are also more likely to be successful in school and at work.”

The study, which measured attitudes of 3,500 new and soon-to-be moms in seven countries, was presented at a forum with mom, philanthropist and global pop singer, Shakira.

“The sentiment we see seems more pronounced than ever among millennial parents, who are striving for a balance of intellectual and emotional intelligence as they help their children reach their unique potential,” said Jean McKenzie, EVP of Fisher-Price Brands.

Though the findings found many similarities among the moms, interesting cultural differences were noted. Chinese moms valued grit/tenacity; Brazilian moms hoped their children would be environmentally aware; Russian moms favored athleticism. Mexican moms in particular said it was important for children to reach milestones quickly and ahead of others.

“It’s been proven that development begins at birth, and parents can greatly impact their child’s future success in the early years just by loving and engaging with their child every day,” said Shakira. “Through the work I’ve done with my Barefoot Foundation, I’ve seen parents make a big difference in their child’s healthy development through the daily practice of things like reading to them, talking, singing or even simply playing. We as parents are their first teachers and it’s never too early to start.”

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Shakira also previewed her parenting app, Grow. The app features 2,000 play ideas, mini articles, and activities customized to a child’s age.

For full study results, go to