THE BLOG
05/06/2011 07:51 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mother's Day: What Moms Really Want

Mother's Day is here and most of us know what to expect. Flowers? Chocolate? Brunch? This year's market research predicts that Mother's Day spending will be even bigger this year than last. It's not that we're not grateful, but according to a poll we recently ran on our website, moms today would really prefer something different. Over 250 moms polled told us overwhelmingly that instead of the usual array of material gifts, what moms really want for Mother's Day is well-behaved children.

"Well-behaved children" won the poll by a large margin, receiving 54 percent of the votes. "Time for myself" and "a homemade card" were a distant second and third, but interestingly, also not purchased goods.

These results point out that for mothers of young children (our website and products cater primarily to the preschool and kindergarten set) nothing feels more challenging, all-consuming or important than teaching young children the essential social and emotional skills that form the basis of good behavior. "Well-behaved" children give mom the ultimate break: relief from the constant exhaustion, exasperation and embarrassment of misbehavior. As well as the ultimate reward: pride in feeling they are a good reflection of us, a much-needed affirmation that we've done a good job as parents.

The poll also elucidates what recent studies have shown: that while young children today are prepared for school academically, their lack of social and emotional skills may lead to delays in school readiness, behavioral problems and later expulsion from preschool and kindergarten. Young children may know their ABCs and their numbers, but they struggle to sit still, delay gratification (by raising a hand and waiting to be called on, for example), share, or, even worse, they exhibit aggressive or deeply antisocial traits. Mastery of these social and emotional skills is key to good behavior but also can be the deciding factor in whether children are socialized enough to function in a classroom atmosphere at all.

How do you give the gift of well-behaved children? That's the million-dollar Mother's Day question this year. We built The Mother Company because we felt there was a huge lack of resources for parents struggling to instill these crucial social and emotional skills. Where is the loveable hero in the media who can back us up as we try to teach our young children how to make friends, be kind, stay safe and go to bed?! The first episode of our stylish, gentle, educational series, "Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show," helps children identify, appropriately express, and move through their feelings. The response has been amazing: moms around the globe have written to thank us for helping their child become more cooperative, expressive and emotionally literate. We plan to tackle a different social or emotional issue on each episode of "Ruby's Studio" -- from the everyday (friendship, tantrums, sibling rivalry) to the tough-to-talk-about issues some children face (illness, divorce, death) and then reinforce these lessons through books, apps and related products. Our website also offers articles by world-renowned experts offering advice around these myriad parenting issues. Every mom of a preschooler gets the need for this sort of thing!

And the implications go further than school readiness and making mom proud; Dr. Michele Borba, author of "The Big Book of Parenting Solutions," notes, "Young children whose parents nurture strong social/emotional skills are more likely to be compassionate and resilient adults, leading to greater fulfillment in life."

And of course, that's what moms really want.