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Advice for dealing with school bullies

September 7, 2010
  • By Ann MacDonald, Contributor

About the Author

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Ann MacDonald, Contributor

Ann MacDonald was the editor of the Harvard Mental Health Letter from October 2007 to January 2012. She has also written several editions of the Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease. Before working at … See Full Bio
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January 6, 2012

Forgive my cheek in posting this url, but I teach self defense from both physical and mental aspects, and do have an article aimed at adults with some very simple advice on diffusing an “alpha-male” type aggressor. This is the same kind of behavior that most bullies exert, so it may be applicable to children and teens facing bullying too. The main point is in diffusing the aggression, and the mindset of how a bully is trying to rationalize his behavior. You can read the full article here FYI:

It’s kind of a 101. Hope it helps someone somehow.

Lyn P
April 15, 2011

What about teachers/instructors who bully in the name of “toughening” their students? Even on a college level some instructors can be punitive, aggressive, demeaning and even verbally abusive; publicly shouting and attacking a person rather than a problem. Why do some educators believe this method of instruction is effective? Is this ever appropriate and what can we do to change this mindset?

Catherine Anne Walsh, Ph.D.
September 9, 2010

May I also recommend these website resources:, The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is doing important work with many school districts throughout the USA, and their research in the USA is outstanding.

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