Our heart goes out to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for the loss of his two-year-old son. Although Peterson was only recently made aware that the child was indeed his son, it is still a heartbreaking incident for everyone involved to lose a child, especially as the mother's boyfriend is now in police custody. I think she will have a lot to deal with -- not only the death of a toddler to whom she gave life, but also any deception she may have encountered with the child's alleged abuser, Joseph Patterson. This is a lesson for all dating single mothers to approach dating like a company approaches perspective employees.
Image: © Paul Childs/United Kingdom/ZUMAPRESS.com
1) Get a background check of the man that you are dating before he ever meets your child. This may sound harsh, but if the child's mother had done that she might have been just as informed as many news sources, and known that this man had several documented charges of assault. In fact, his previous girlfriend took out multiple restraining orders against him. Although the charges were dropped, he was charged in 2004 for violating a restraining order and again in 2012 for aggravated assault. He spent five days in jail just last year for simple assault. Surely this would have raised an eyebrow if known prior to entering a relationship with him.
Even entertainment companies now require background checks before they bring aboard new employees. It is a common practice to do some level of checking, albeit not as intense as the federal government security clearances. For example, no CEO wants an accused and convicted embezzler anywhere near their finance department or a budget.
2) Live your life but stay clear of the casual relationships. I'm not saying this applies to Peterson's child's mother -- we can't say that until we know all the facts, and we may never know -- but everyone deserves the best. There will be tough times raising children alone, but settling for a temporary, feel-good situation can be worse in the long run. Create a tight circle of supportive friends who want the best for you and push you to be better. I am talking friends that can discern potential risks for you when you are in your weakest moments.They can advise against casual relationships and help shed some unbiased light on your dating circle.
Similarly, in a business, it is not good to have temp workers coming in and out of a revolving door of assignments. Confidential and proprietary information would be too easily exposed. While the increased need may be there temporarily, it is best to have a steady person there for the long term for quality. Having great managers and a HR team helps tremendously.
This surely has been a hard lesson and sad tragedy for both Peterson and the child's mother -- and it's one that single dating mothers should take seriously. Your kids are innocent and the crux of your heart. Treat dating like your own personal business that you wouldn't want just anyone around or running for you. Again, prayers for Peterson and all the impacted families.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post named the victim and his mother, but the authorities have not yet released or confirmed the names and the mother has not gone public, so we redacted those names. Thank you to Kathy K for bringing this to our attention.