Home > MENTAL HEALTH > Bullying


What is bullying?

  • Bullying is the repeated harassment and attack on others
  • It can be physical or verbal or both
  • Bullying has been reported in on-line chat rooms, short message system (SMS) and also through e-mails
  • It often occurs without the knowledge of parents and teachers
  • Bullies most often deny their involvement, while victims of bullies choose to keep quiet for fear of revenge and embarrassment

Why does one bully?

Several factors contribute to making a bully. They include:

  • Family factors:
    • Lack of warmth and affection from parents
    • Harsh disciplining methods
    • Poor parental supervision
    • Abusive behavior of parents
  • Teenager factors:
    • Impulsive behavior
    • Temperamental character
    • Depression about happenings at home or school
    • Angry about mistreatment at home or school
    • Being victim of physical abuse or bullying
  • School factors:
    • Bullying incidents are not dealt firmly
    • Insufficient supervision of identified bullies
    • Poor control over students
    • Low morale amongst teachers

Why does one get bullied?

You are at risk of being bullied if you are:

  • Physically small and weak
  • Feeling insecure
  • Timid
  • Anxious
  • Lacking self-confidence
  • Not getting support from parents and teachers

How can you tell if one is a bully?

A bully is someone who:

  • Hurts others physically
    • E.g.: Hit, punch or kick
  • Hurts others emotionally
    • E.g.: Calling names, spread rumors or make insults
  • Purposely excludes another from the group
  • Damages the property of others
  • Tells others not to befriend the person

How can you tell if someone is being bullied?

A person who is being bullied often:

  • Is afraid to go to school
  • Loses his belongings
  • Is very anxious
  • Has few friends
  • Shows poor progress in school
  • Comes home with torn clothes or injury

Can the bullies be helped?

Bullying is not something that one can outgrow by itself. Bullies can be helped by making them:

  • Admit the problem
  • Realize the consequences of their actions
  • Change their bad behaviors and attitudes
  • Learn better ways of handling anger and illustrations
  • Seek advice from school counselors, religious teachers or doctors

Can bullying be avoided?

YES, it can!! Try these few tips:

  • Avoid situations where you are alone with the bully
  • Be with a group of friends when moving about
  • Act brave, even if you are scared :
    • Stand straight and tall
    • Look at the bully in the eye
  • If confronted by a group:
    • RUN!!! – There is nothing to be ashamed about
    • Get help from reliable adults

What can happen if you do not seek help?

The bully will end up with:

  • Difficulties in making friends
  • Inability to conform with rules and regulations
  • Being expelled from school
  • Psychiatric disorders e.g. antisocial personality

The victim will suffer from:

  • School refusal
  • Poor school performance
  • Increased fearfulness and anxiety
    • Making them behave more timidly
  • Feelings of inadequacy
    • Leading to low Self-esteem
  • Depression
    • Leading to Suicide

Where can you get help?

You can seek help from your:

  • Talk to someone you can trust e.g.:
    • Parents
    • Trusted family members
    • School counselors
    • Religious teachers
  • Find someone who can:
    • Listen
    • Console
    • Give good advice


Seek professional help from:

  • Doctors
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Fauzi binti Ismail
Reviewer : Dr. Zarina Bt. Zainan Abidin