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Why is my 3-year-old whiny only around me?

I usually spend a lot more time with my 3-year-old daughter than my husband does. When she does spend a little one-on-one time with her father she isn't shy, whining, or crying and she listens to him. However, when I come home from work, she starts to cry and wants me to carry her. I don't know what to do.

Sheila Isaacson | Pediatrician

Sheila Isaacson

It is quite common for kids to be fine one minute with one parent and then see the parent they usually spend time with and have an “emotional letdown” with the parent they feel most comfortable being around. It is actually a sort of compliment in a way and patience is definitely required! 

It is not uncommon for toddlers to prefer one parent over another in different situations. Since I don't know the full situation, you may decide that you need help from a family counselor.

We are fortunate in Omaha to have a number of resources that help promote healthy family dynamics. Your pediatrician can help you decide the right course of action.

Read more answers by Dr. Isaacson