Situation: How do you deal with a family dynamic where one child is the victim and the other is the aggressor?

Parent Talk Tip: Diane Moore says that when you punish the aggressor and comfort the victim, you reinforce both types of behavior. Instead, she suggests ignoring the aggressor – don’t even give that child eye contact – and then talk with the victim about alternative ways to respond.

Diane Moore consults on family issues.

Such action puts high pressure on the aggressor, she says. Moore says both victim and bully are insecure, but teaching the victim a new way to respond is the best response because “now the victim’s not a victim.”

Diane Moore is a certified family life counselor and parent mentor with a private practice in Vancouver. Parent Talk is her radio talk show heard in Portland, Vancouver and Boise. Today’s tip comes from a conversation between Moore and one of the show’s callers. It has been edited for time.

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