I am an unmarried 34-year-old lady with a five-year-old son.
The father to my son has long promised marriage but has never taken any step to make this a reality.
We don’t live together as he is working in Gaborone and rarely visits, but he does pay maintenance from time to time.
I have since learnt that he is seeing another woman and they are expecting a baby.
I have not talked to him about this because I have long realised that our relationship is going nowhere.
I have little or no social life – most of my time is taken up with work and looking after my son, and I am quite shy by nature.
However I have recently met a man, who although much older, has shown an interest in me.
We work near to each other and meet for lunch once or twice a week.
I have told him a little bit about myself and we have become friends.
He has now said that he would like to get to know me better and has invited me to his house for a more ‘intimate’ visit.
I am not sure if I should take our friendship further as I believe he is married although he is not living with his wife.
I feel confused and don’t know what to do for the best. Any help you can offer would be very much appreciated.
Welcome to the club you are not alone.
Your situation is similar to many other women who have been left holding the baby, waiting for marriage whilst the father gets on with his life.
There are a number of points that you would need to consider in developing your relationship with this man the most important of which is to decide what YOU want and to listen to what your heart says in response.
Finding out what he means by having a more ‘intimate’ relationship might be a good place to start.
If he means developing your lunchtime friendship into a sexual relationship, what are your feelings about that?
Have you talked to the father of your child about moving on?
If that relationship is over, what about your newfound friend’s marriage – is that over too?
It is all about trust and being open about what you want.
The last thing you need is another set of broken promises.
Finding out if the invitation to his house includes bringing your son along would give you some indication of his future intentions.
If all he is after is getting you home alone, it could mean that his friendship has only been part of a plan to get you into bed.
The two of you have enjoyed each other’s company thus far as a lunchtime friendship, and seeing more of each other may just mean developing that friendship as a means of combating loneliness.
You don’t say how much older your friend is possibly you may even see him as a father figure rather than a lover but your instincts should tell you if he is an honourable man.
And if you are to make the move from friendship to dating the issue of marriage is bound to come up sooner or later.
Be careful how you tread on that one – dating to marry is the most common mistake women in their 30’s make.
Most look at dating as an interview for a husband rather than an opportunity to meet a great new friend.
In your case there is the additional problem of him being already married, and dating an older man also comes with its own set of complications.
Certainly there is no need to rush into things, and if he were a ‘playa’ as old as he is, you would probably have heard rumours of that by now.
As I have said before communication is the key.
Establish from the father of your child if your relationship is really over and take it from there.
However that I’m being blamed is not really my worry right now – all I want is that you help me so my girl can eat…even a little rice at least!
Please help me out – I really want my little girl to eat just like any other child.
I live in Francistown so please let me know who can help me with this issue.
I’vetried everything and every way,but she prefers snacking to eating a healthy meal.
Why would your daughter’s father want to put the blame on you for her loss of appetite?
Is there something you’re doing (or not doing) which somehow encourages your daughter to refuse healthy meals in favour of snacks?
You don’t say if you and the child’s father are living together it’s possible if you are not that he spoils her with a diet of take away foods and fizzy drinks when she is out with him.
Rather than blame you maybe the two of you need to work together to solve the problem.
This could turn outto be nothing that multi-vitamin syrup for children or just a little more coaxing and patience can’t fix.
But then again, the loss of appetite could be a symptom of some underlying medical condition.
In case this is so, please check with your GP so that s/he can assess the child and prescribe the right treatment, or refer her elsewhere if need be.
Alternatively, some of the paediatricians you can contact in Francistown are Dr. David Michael Kirya (241 6737) or Dr.
Japhter Masunge (241 1000) – they will certainly be able to point you in the right direction if they themselves cannot attend to your daughter.
For self-help, try these tips from the website KidsHealth.
They don’t actually have control over much, but eating is one of the first areas they will master.
Parents can help them enjoy their limited power by giving them appropriate amounts of freedom when it comes to choosing foods and eating them.
That’s not to say toddlers are deciding what to have for dinner. Parents have the important job of providing the kinds of foods that an active toddler needs.
A parent’s role is to present healthy foods and let a child decide which ones to eat or whether to eat at all.
Wise parents can steer a toddler toward healthy eating, but might have to do it in a crafty way.
By anticipating problems and offering choices, parents teach kids which behaviours will yield positive results and which ones won’t.
Here’s how to turn common concerns into opportunities to teach healthy eating habits.
MOST TODDLERS ARE PICKY EATERS
Does your toddler want to eat only macaroni and cheese?
When a child is stuck on one food, a parent might feel forced to serve that food every day so the child eats something.
But eventually the child may tire of that food and then what?
Kids won’t starve and they will learn to be more flexible rather than go hungry.
Present a variety of healthy foods, serve a small portion and encourage your child to try a bite without nagging or forcing.
Your toddler may surprise you one day by eating all of them.
DON’T BARGAIN FOR BITES
Your well-meaning impulse may be to start talking up nutritious foods, saying how big and strong spinach will make your child.
Or you might start bargaining: “Well, if you eat three more bites, I’ll give you a sweet.”
The problem is that these tactics don’t work in the long run.
For some kids, dinner becomes a negotiation session from the very start.
To encourage healthy eating, continue offering your child an array of nutritious choices — and keep the mealtime mood upbeat. Also try these strategies:
Serve right-sized portions. Parents often overestimate how much food a child should eat.
Small portions are less overwhelming, while bigger portions may encourage overeating.
Don’t negotiate. It’s fine to encourage kids to “try one bite” but don’t fall into the negotiating trap.
Prepare and serve healthy meals and let them decide what to eat.
Have family meals together. Set your toddler’s place at the family table it’s good for kids of this age to see their parents and siblings eating together and eating healthy foods.
Create positive peer pressure. Toddlers are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see their peers eating them, so look for opportunities where they can eat healthy with friends.
Listen to Your Child. Pushing food on a child who’s not hungry may dull the internal cues that help kids know when they’ve eaten enough.
But this doesn’t mean that it’s practical or advisable for kids to eat on demand all day long.
Those who eat all day may not learn what it is like to be hungry or full.
That’s why structured meals and snack times are important.
If a child chooses not to eat anything at all, simply offer food again at the next meal or snack time.