This morning, I watched a four minute video of Richard Cooper presenting on "the Dangers of Dating Single Mothers." According to the site, Cooper presents to sold out audiences and many of the individuals who commented on the video perceive what he says as being very accurate. As such, I feel compelled to provide my opinion.

At the very outset of his presentation, he says, "Avoid long-term relationships with single mothers."

Before delving into the reasons he gives, he has stereotyped an entire group of people.

The following is from Kenneth Cloke's article titled Stereotyping, Bias, and Prejudice in Conflict Resolution:

"How to Stereotype
1. Pick a characteristic
2. Blow it completely out of proportion
3. Collapse the whole person into the characteristic
4. Ignore individual differences and variations
5. Ignore subtleties and complexities
6. Ignore our common humanity
7. Make it match your own worst fears
8. Make it cruel"

Cooper explains that single mothers have "Dangerous Personalities."

The Oxford English Dictionary defines dangerous as "able or likely to cause harm or injury."

In other words, according to Cooper, every single mother has a personality that is "able or likely to cause harm or injury."

I agree that every human being is able to cause harm or injury. I also agree that throughout our lifetime, we will all cause harm or injury to others, either intentionally or unintentionally. The more emotionally intelligent (in all twelve capacities), the less likely this will occur. However, nothing and nobody is perfect. Therefore even those with very high levels of emotional intelligence in all twelve capacities will cause harm or injury to others on occasion.

The following is an excerpt from The Reflective Parent by Regina Pally:

"The mind is inherently subjective. Each mind views the world in its own way. Because the mind is both hidden and subjective, even being reflective will not ensure that you will always fully understand your child. When we reflect, all we can really do is make a good guess or inference as to what is probably going on inside another person’s mind. We may be right. But we are not always right. This is why reflective parenting emphasizes that misunderstanding is possible and common, but by being reflective, a parent is more likely to figure out and clarify misunderstandings when they occur….

Whenever a person performs an action, there is always a reason why. There is always some intention or purpose underlying the action. As important as it is to know what action a person is doing, it is even more important to how the intention or purpose of that action….

Using your reflective capacity is not limited to being a reflective parent. All your relationships will be smoother if you can see the other person’s perspective as well as your own…. Too many happy and loving marriages and other parenting partnerships end up having so much extra conflict because each partner gets bogged down in thinking their own perspective is the right one or the best one. Parents don’t have to see eye to eye on everything, but they do have to see where the other person is coming from and to respect and value their viewpoint. Generally, parent couples are better able to compromise and find agreement if each parent feels understood by the other parent….

Everything a person does or says is connected to something going on inside their mind. This means that, very often, what other people tell you is more about what is going on inside them and less about what would really be right for you and your child…. [B]y remaining as reflective as possible, you will be able to maintain a good balance between following what you believe and taking advice from others when it makes sense to you."

Cooper doesn't sound very reflective, by which I mean that his emotional intelligence appears to be extremely low. I would hope most people have the emotional intelligence to put this man's advice into proper context.

In any event, he goes on to state the following: "Playing Captain Save a Hoe."

I never heard that expression, so I looked it up. It means the following:

"Somebody who will do anything for women. A fool who will buy dinner, diamonds, pearls, clothing, etc because he thinks that he will get some play but always ends up alone."

Notice that is not limited to single mothers. It applies to all women. Among other things, do you notice the misogyny in the statement? Misogyny means "dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women."

And, for what it's worth, when you remove the misogyny from the statement, it's referring to the importance of boundaries and accountability.

According to social science researcher Brene’ Brown, “It’s important to recommit to one thing that can help keep us sane: boundaries…. Setting boundaries may seem harsh, but doing so is necessary in maintaining a healthy relationship…. Nothing is sustainable without boundaries.

And, if you don't enforce the boundaries by holding people accountable, it's worse than not having had boundaries in the first place. In fact, lawyers regularly complain about such a thing when it comes to judges and how that leads to a worsening of behavior -- by both the parties themselves and attorneys.

He then states that single mothers have "Daddy Issues," which means the following:

"What a girl has when she is rejected by her father. Often results in her having trouble finding a significant other and trusting people. Girls with Daddy Issues will also sometimes date older men."

Does that apply to all single mothers? Does the woman even have to have been a mother for that to potentially apply? In any event, it is referring to attachment issues and such things apply to both genders.

The following is an excerpt on attachment from The Reflective Parent by Regina Pally:

"Basically, attachment is the result of how well the mother can reliably keep the baby well regulated. Regulation means being responsive to the baby’s needs in such a way as to keep the baby’s body physiology and level of arousal in a state of equilibrium….

Secure attachment gives a child an inner sense of well-being, grounding, worthiness, and being understood,. Attachment is the feeling that there is a safe haven to return to in times of need, that one is not alone, and that others can be depended on to help. It also fosters the child’s zest, curiosity, and resiliency in growing up….

Securely attached mothers and babies are in sync only about a third of the time, out of sync a third of the time, and trying to get back in sync a third of the time.

[A]ttachment is not about love!

Science Says

The Long Run of Life Is More Difficult If You Start Out Insecure

  • Children who have an insecure attachment do not tend to do as well over the course of their life as do kids with a secure attachment. For example, a baby categorized in infancy as having an insecure attachment is more likely to have a larger amygdala in adulthood, which can cause him or her to be overly fearful (Moutsiana et al., 2015).
  • Babies with avoidant attachment show little signs of distress outwardly, but inwardly, at a biological level, they show a high state of arousal (Gander & Buccheim, 2015). This suggests that it is more adaptive to allow children to show their distress, at least to some degree, so that they can develop skills for calming their bodies….

Studies show that moms with a secure attachment style seem to be more able to grasp the meaning of what their baby does and talk to their babies differently than moms with an insecure attachment."

Also, attachment applies equally well between a father and child. In any event, as Pally explains, attachment isn't gender specific and has to do with the type of parenting each of us received.

Many people in our society could benefit from good therapy, including those with attachment issues, and Richard Cooper, in particular.

He then describes single mothers as being "Broke."

"In 2015—the year for which the most recent data are available—42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings. Nearly another one-quarter of mothers—22.4 percent—were co-breadwinners, bringing home from 25 percent to 49 percent of earnings for their families."

Furternore, "in 2015, women passed the halfway mark for controlled personal wealth in the U.S., according to the Bank of Montreal’s Wealth Institute, and by 2020, they’re expected to hold $22 trillion."

By the way, that doesn't even include the child support they may be receiving from their child's father if they are no longer in a relationship with him, particularly if they have primary custody, as he mentions.

Cooper then describes single mothers as having "Birth Order Conflicts." He's referring to how birth order shapes us. While there has been research on this issue, it's not specific to females and it's not a universal truth.

He then discusses their "Drug & Alcohol Dependency."

I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population.

In fact, the following is a quote from

"Single parents are just as likely to develop an addiction as any other demographic, but the consequence of the abuse can be more severe."

Cooper then says that single mothers are "Controlling/Jealous."

Again, I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population.

He then shares the following meme:

"Single Mother here:

Please take care of some other man's ball of flesh that eats money, destroys dreams, and shits stress. I offer you my ruined floppy pussy + mental issues! :)"

What an absolutely hateful comment regarding both other people's children and single mothers.

Cooper then explains that with single mothers you are going to end up with "Double (or triple) the heartbreak."

He is referring to the heartbreak that occurs when the relationship with your ex's children ends when your relationship with their parent ends.

This is a tragic reality, but it doesn't always occur. Furthermore, why would his ex's children want an ongoing relationship with him, considering how he's portrayed himself by giving such presentations, holding such ignorant and hateful beliefs, and spreading them to other men?

Irrespective, the following is an excerpt from my article titled A Comparison Between Actual War and Family Law Litigation:

"A number of years ago, I received an email from someone advising me that I was only 'touching the tip of the iceberg' in an article I had written. She explained that she had recently divorced her husband of 27 years. They each entered into the marriage with a daughter from prior relationships. In the two years since the divorce, her 'grown daughter had never gotten over losing a 'father' and a 'sister' as a result.' She said, 'I never thought in a million years that my daughter would be so touched by my divorce.' She ended her email as follows: 'Write more about this Mark, and do what you can because it is more than just the small children who are affected. My adult daughter can't get past it and will not talk about it with anyone. She just wants her family back. I had to thank you for your compassion on this issue, one that most people never consider.'"

In that instance, it isn't even the daughter's mother who prevented the child from having such an ongoing relationship; rather, it was the stepfather himself.

Cooper then states that single mothers have "Questionable judgment skills."

He is referring to why they married their ex-spouse, the decisions and choices they've made in their lifetime their lack of ownership for those decisions and choices.

Again, I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population.

Furthermore, what about those single mothers who never married their child's father?

He then says that if you get romantically involved with a single mother, "You will never be a priority."

Funny! My neighbor across the street told me years ago that most men don't realize how their spouse's priorities will change after they have kids. He also said that if they had such knowledge beforehand and truly understood such things, many husbands would think twice before agreeing to have kids.

The difference here is that when someone gets into a relationship with a person with minor children, they should know that their significant other has other priorities because their children are already in the picture. Why would that parent's priorities with regard to parenting their children change just because they are in a relationship with someone who isn't their child(ren)'s other parent?

And, he's making this statement as though societal gender and parenting roles between men and women haven't changed over time and are somehow universal.

Cooper goes on to state that a single woman "Thinks the world revolves around her & her kids."

Among other things, the following is an excerpt from my article titled Empathy Is the Key to Conflict Resolution or Management: Empathy has been found to undermine biased conflict perceptions:

"It’s been found that 'egocentrism drives misunderstanding in conflict and negotiation.' Everyone interprets things through their own lenses, which filter information based upon our personal biases, beliefs, assumptions and values. This is where egocentrism comes into play. 'Parties rely on their own interests and priorities when estimating those of the other side, and ignore the other side’s true interests and priorities.'"

Again, I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population.

He then describes single women as "Emotionally unavailable" because they tend to have primary custody of their kids and women tend to dote over their kids, unlike men.

And, he's making this statement as though societal gender and parenting roles between men and women haven't changed over time and are somehow universal.

Also, I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population.

Then, he explains that "Her kids work against you."

There is some truth to this statement, but it applies equally well to all parents. Furthermore, it isn't just limited to children's hope that their parents will reconcile and perceiving new significant others as interfering in that regard. In fact, sadly, many children -- particularly adult children -- perceive new spouses as obsticles to their future inheritance.

Nevertheless, these are not universal truths and addressing such issues and concerns properly requires the parent and step-parent to be reflective, for the reasons described above by Regina Pally.

Cooper then talks about single mothers' "Distorted self-image."

He is referring to a lack of self-awareness, which is one of the twelve aspects of emotional intelligence.

Last week, I attended the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference. On April 5th, I attended Ronda Muir's program titled “Beyond Smart: Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence."

In her article titled Emotional Intelligence for Lawyer that was published by the American Bar Association, Muir explains the following:

Emotional intelligence does not correlate with IQ. Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re likely to have a high EI. Some professionals, such as lawyers, exhibit high average IQ scores (in the 115-130 range), while at the same time scoring lower than the general population on EI (85-95).

That being said, these are generalities based upon the research.

During her program, Muir shared a slide is titled "Awareness of Our Own and Others' Emotions." As Muir explained, lawyers tend to score the lowest in this aspect of emotional intelligence, which impacts other aspects of emotional intelligence.

Irrespective, I've never read any research to reflect that single mothers are any more susceptible to such issues than other members of the population, although, as stated above, people do self-select the professions they enter.

He then states that single mothers "Rarely take ownership."

This is the same as their "Questionable judgment skills," which I covered above.

Cooper then explains that when it comes to raising other people's children, there is a "100% payment 0% ROI."

He's stating that when you are in a relationship with someone with children that aren't yours, it costs you both financially and emotionally and that you receive nothing in return.

First of all, there's been a longstanding argument that from an economic standpoint, children are "inferior goods," meaning that you never receive a financial return on your investment to make you break even, let alone make a financial profit.

According to the Department of Agriculture, "for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through the age of 17, the cost of rearing a child has hit $233,610, according to the report."

If people are having children for financial gain, they are having them for the wrong reasons. And, if you enter into a relationship with someone with children of their own and you are expecting a financial gain, you are entering into that relationship for the wrong reasons.

That being said, this also relates to Cooper's statement that single mothers are "Broke", which I've addressed above. From what I can tell, I would have to say that the reasons there were no returns for him emotionally is because of his lack of emotional intelligence and how that impacted his relationship with his ex's children.

Cooper also states that it is easy for single mothers to end the relationship because 70-80 percent of divorces are initiated by wives.

I am by no means saying that women are perfect and there's no room for improvement; however, consider the following information from relationship guru John Gottman as set forth in his article titled Emotionally Intelligent Husbands are Key to a Lasting Marriage:

"In a long-term study of 130 newlywed couples, Dr. John Gottman discovered that men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce.

This critical skill is not limited to heterosexual couples. It’s essential in same-sex relationships as well, but the research shows that gay and lesbian couples are notably better at it than straight couples....

It’s not that marriage can’t survive moments of anger, complaints, or criticism. They can. Couples get in trouble when they match negativity with negativity instead of making repairs to de-escalate conflict. Dr. Gottman explains in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work that 65% of men increase negativity during an argument....

My point is not to insult men. It takes two to make a marriage work and it is just as important for wives to treat their husbands with honor and respect. But Dr. Gottman’s research indicates that a majority of wives – even in unhappy marriages – already do this.

This doesn’t mean women don’t get angry and even contemptuous of their husbands. It just means that they let their husbands influence their decision making by taking their opinions and feelings into account. Data suggests that men do not return the favor.

Statistically speaking, Dr. Gottman’s research shows there is an 81% chance that a marriage will self-implode when a man is unwilling to share power....

In Dr. Gottman’s research, only 35% of the men were emotionally intelligent....

The emotionally intelligent husband is interested in his wife’s emotions because he honors and respects her. While this man may not express his emotions in the same way his wife does, he will learn how to better connect with her.

The emotionally intelligent husband will also be a better father because he is not afraid of feelings. He will teach his children to respect their emotions and themselves. Dr. Gottman calls this Emotional Coaching....

And when conflict happens, the key is to understand your partner’s point of view and be willing to compromise."

Meanwhile, Cooper is placing the blame on the wives for ending the marriage.

There is so much misinformation in the world, and when people such as Richard Cooper make it their life's mission to pass it on to as many people as possible, it causes a great deal of harm to a great many people.

The good news is that emotional intelligence involves skills which can be learned. And, as Regina Pally said, "by remaining as reflective as possible, you will be able to maintain a good balance between following what you believe and taking advice from others when it makes sense to you."

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