The little guy is sometimes two completely different people. When it is just me and him (or at least when his mom is not around), he rarely cries or whines. But when mom comes home, if she is not holding him all the time, he whines a ton, and will also have a little meltdown crying big crocodile tears until he gets what he wants.
I can’t imagine it is easy for my wife to experience this. She gets home from a long day at work and then she had to carry around a not-so-light whine machine who won’t even let her go pee. Meanwhile, I am ignored by both parties, who are focused on their own dysfunctional relationship.
I have tried to explain to my wife that if you “give power” to his whining, he learns that it will get him a result, and then he continues the behavior. Of course there are times when it is valid, like when he is hungry or tired, but if there is just a nonstop whine happening, then it’s best to ignore it and he will stop doing it. As I tell the little guy when he tries to whine, “we have no place to go, and no people who will be annoyed by you whining, so keep on doing it, it will have the same result.” (Maybe I am telling that more to myself than him 😉 )
To me it is all about consistency and teaching him the right behaviors as a human. We as adults are not allowed to whine when we want something, so it is probably best if he learns that lesson now.
As for the whining when his mother is home, he will eventually learn that whining is not the way to get her affection – I suspect that if she gets down to his level, picks him up before he whines, and then puts him down on her own terms, he will see that she doesn’t need him nagging her. Basically they should probably create a “come home routine”.
As for me, it’s hard to stand by in the nights and weekends as the Jekyl/Hyde routine ensues from the little guy, but it’s all part of the process, and from what I understand there is a little bit of role reversal happening; usually it is the dad who experiences this – but as I’m at home, it’s the other way around.