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Nicknames: Negative Nicknames

Sometimes people give us nicknames in order to be mean or make fun of us, and this can really hurt.

Four Eyes. Metal Mouth. Dumbo. Slow Poke. Crater Face. We've all heard kids called nasty nicknames like these. Heck, maybe you've even used similar nicknames on other kids, or been stuck with one yourself.

A playground bruise or cut usually disappears after a couple of days, but the pain and anger that comes from being called a cruel nickname can last a lot longer than that. If you've ever picked on another kid by making up or using a tease nickname, or if you've ever been on the receiving end of one, you know that names like Fatso Smelly, and Short Stuff can be very hurtful. Plus, they have a habit of sticking to us like glue!

People use negative nicknames as a way of keeping someone out of a group, of gaining power over someone, or of making themselves feel more important. You may know a kid in your class who always comes up with nicknames for the other kids. This student likes to feel cool by acting like the official "nicknamer." This can give a student a feeling of power, but that power comes at the cost of making other kids feel bad. Kids who peg others with hurtful nicknames are often trying to cover up the fact that they really feel bad about themselves.

Like other kinds of insults, a cruel nickname can be used to make a kid feel left out or angry. Sometimes they're even nastier than most ways of being mean because they can be so hard to shake.

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