The effects of making a left-hander write right-handed

Natural left-handers should always be left to develop in their own way and be allowed to write left-handed if that is their choice.  Forcing them to change hands and write right-handed can have very bad effects in later life as well as being traumatic at the time and ruining their handwriting!

Brain organisation - left and right hemispheres and hand controlThe dominant writing hand is not just a physical thing to do with controlling a pen but a mental thing to do with the way the brain is organised and where certain functions occur.  The brain is “cross-wired” to the body so the left handed side of the brain controls the right hand side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left. Changing the hand used for writing causes great confusion in the  brain and can have a lot of knock-on effects.

Here are some articles we have written on this subject:

These are some of the effects people have reported to us from being forced to change their writing hand as a child:
  • Bad handwriting
  • Bed-wetting
  • Stuttering
  • Nail biting
  • Shyness and being withdrawn
  • Defiance and provocative behaviour
  • Poor concentration
  • Bad memory
  • Reading difficulties
  • Problems with spelling
  • Neurotic personality
  • Physical tiredness

These problems will not definitely occur in all people who have their writing hand changed and of course they can arise due to many other causes, but there does seem to be an association between all of these issues and a forced change of writing hand.  Our correspondents have also mentioned being bullied at school as a result of these effects.

Forcing a left-hander to change and use their right hand for writing is a very bad thing to do – please don’t do it!

We received an email recently with a personal story that really shows the serious impact this can have on people and made us think about this again.  It is included in its entirety below:

From: Tonya
Subject: My mom forced me to write right-handed

I was looking up this subject because I’ve been trying to teach my right-handed son to tie his shoes, and since I tie my shoes left-handed I’m not much help to him. I also eat with my left, and when I was in gymnastics my left side was my dominant side.  Yet I write right-handed, and can recall my mother snatching pencils out of my left hand and saying, “No! We write with our RIGHT–see? That rhymes. Use your right hand!”  I remember it feeling weird, but I did as I was told.  I had a bed-wetting phase but always thought it was due to other things, such as being angry with my parents for other matters but in our household children were not permitted to express anger.  I’ve suffered anxiety and bouts of clinical depression my whole life–and PPD after the birth of my 1st baby–and until reading articles about it today never thought it could all go back to being left-converted. Wow. As an adult, I do get mentally tired easily, and fatigued sometimes for seemingly no reason.  As a child I did not stutter, but as an adult I find speaking very difficult–I can write well and easily express what I want to say in writing….but I search for words when speaking and get all tongue-tied. I’m very  introverted and soooo socially awkward.  Oh and I flunked out of typing class in high school! Hahaha.  Never could play the piano, either.  So, after reading some articles, I can see a connection, for myself, between the studied effects and my own conversion to writing right-handed. Definitely.

Your Left handed Child eBook For more information on this and all aspects of being left handed as a child and how to help left-handed children get past some of the basic challenges they will face with writing, cutting and other activities at school, download Lauren’s book “Your Left-Handed Child”.Also covers:* Development of left-handedness
* Pre-school development
* Strategies for everyday life
* Left-handedness in school
* Sport
* Music
* Practical and educational resources

Download Lauren’s book “Your Left-Handed Child”

Please add any of your own experiences or links to related material as comments below.

We would also be very interested in your comments on changes in the other direction – natural right-handers being forced to write left-handed as a result of physical problems such as an accident or stroke that means the cannot use their right hand (assuming nobody would have the audacity to change a right-hander to write left-handed just because of prejudice, religious views or some sense of what they should do to be “normal”!).

 

 

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63 Responses to “Changing Left to Right”

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I was allowed to learn to write with my left hand when I started school, but when I changed schools in Grade 2, I was forced to change hands. My mother was not impressed, spoke to the teacher and then had to put it in writing that JENNIFER WAS NOT TO BE FORCED TO WRITE WITH HER RIGHT HAND. This was back in 1956, I was blessed to have a mother who was so forward thinking. I was left to grow and develop the way nature intended.

  2. sara says:

    I can relate to this. For as long as I can remember I have been left handed, except I took me a bit longer in deciding which hand to write with. I remember my mother constantly changing the pencil to the right hand, I think I struggled but went along with it as I was only about 3. The interesting thing is that I was a very advanced reader at that age, I was well into the Peter and Jane Ladybird reading books by then and ahead of my sister who was a year older than me. As I became trained to write left handed, my reading development slowed right down. Ever since I am aware that I never reached my full reading potential. I have only ever read one novel which I struggled with at school, I managed to read stories to my children, but I was much better at one book of poem stories which I was much better at reading than other normal story books. I have a professional job and I am able to read educational journal articles to keep up to date, but I cannot read a newspaper. I think the whole subject is very interesting.
    PS one thing that is universally made left handed are sewing machines, I am very experienced at using these!!

  3. Nappy says:

    I was naturally righty except for writing and batting, but just those forced changes put me in 11 of the 12 categories listed in the article. I escaped dyslexia/bad spelling because of my strabismus — there was no 3D image for the brain to misprocess. I do wonder, though, if my two corrective surgeries for the strabismus reverted because of the psychological introversion. Self-help author Louise Hay (“You Can Heal Yourself”) stated — yup, they published it — that a person would be cross-eyed because he or she is unwilling to face life head-on. But for even a partially converted lefty, who faces at least some aspects of life at a 180-degree angle, this may actually be true!

  4. Robert T says:

    Although I am right handed, I eat with my knife in the left and fork in the right hand.

    When I was a teenager I used to always have people ask me the question “are you left handed?” during meal times if really drove me crazy!

  5. Write rightie but looks leftie says:

    I’m still young but when I was a toddler my mom says that I would pick things up with me right hand and then place it into my left hand:\ but then later I would do the opposite of that. right now I right with my right hand but I have the signs of writing leftie. in school teachers thought I was leftie because they never saw me writing only it after words. my one friend is leftie and if we write something down it looks like we are both leftie. I have tried to write like a righty would but end up sloppy.
    I can write with both hands but here comes the strange part, when I’m writing with my left hand it has to be in a marker only. I end up laughing at this all the time.

  6. Maggie says:

    I am a left-handed person who learnt to write with my right hand, out of my own free will, when I started elementary school. That was because my Chinese Language teacher used her right hand to show the strokes and sequences of each Chinese character and I thought I should copy obediently. So writing is the only thing I picked up with my right hand. Yeah, my handwriting looks awful, even till now at age 35. I do all other activities using my left hand as I feel most comfortable with it. It is also much stronger than my right hand. I am both good in Maths and Arts. I lacked confidence as a student and wasn’t a good talker. I was definitely better in expressing myself in writing. I am proud to be a left-handed person as we are ‘less common’.
    Please don’t force your child to use her right hand if she is borne left-handed. My sister-in-law did that to his daughter some 15 years ago. Practically everything had to be used with her right hand. I saw that my niece was an introvert and was poor in her studies. Not sure if they had to do with the ‘switches’ that was forced upon her. Finally, she ended her life last month due to depression at age 17. Please, parents, do not defy nature and God’s gift for our kids. My ex-GM is left-handed and is she is equally successful in her life and career.

  7. Jake says:

    Pretty funny lol.

    I’m a leftie and in the asian world, lefties are bad. When I was younger my parents tried making me to things with my right hand. Use chopsticks with your right hand, if you’re drinking soup, soup spoon on the right and chopsticks on left…etc.

    My brother I believe was also left handed but he somehow got the hang of changing hands so he’s a righty now. I remember when he was younger he wet the bed up until he was late elementary lol. I remember making fun of him lol.

    Anywho, I’m a leftie but a majority of things I do is right handed. Gymnastics, tennis, softball, kick with my right foot.
    I’m only left handed when I eat and write lol.

    But this article seems odd… Since although my brother may be naturally a lefty, The only issue he had was the bed wetting. He’s amazing at debate, always awake and energized, etc. Maybe another issue is the bad handwriting department but I always just assume that men generally have bad handwriting …

    At least all the men I know have terrible handwriting.

  8. Love being a Leftie says:

    I am in my mid-40s and am left-handed. I don’t remember it, but my mom said when I was in Kindergarten I came home from school telling how the teachers tried to get me to write right-handed. It didn’t work, and I adjusted to the right-handed world that we have. I have always loved being a leftie. I turn my paper instead of my hand when I write. The only “disadvantage” I have experienced is sometimes ink would get on the outside left of my hand when I write. I do many things right and left handed, but have managed to function in the world I live in. I don’t think I could even use left-handed scissors, but come to think of it I can’t remember even knowing left-handed scissors were around until I was an adult.

    I know people have tried and successfully changed their children in the past from left to right, but thought that had disappeared over the years. Today I found out that two of my co-workers have changed their kids. I was surprised because I don’t understand people wanting to change who their kids are, and it makes me sad for those kids too.

    I don’t feel that I have the left-brain traits that show creativity. I can barely draw a stick figure, but I still consider myself a Leftie and wear it like a badge of honor.

  9. Charley says:

    Some of these left handers who were changed and made to write right handed like I was .
    Should stop blaming all their lifes problems on that one fact and get on with their life..
    Charley D.

    • Shane says:

      While I wouldn’t say that all of their problems are related to the switch, there does seem to be some correlation between certain problems and people forced to have switched.

      While this isn’t saying that it is the cause necesarily, it does warrant further investigation. And simply dismissing it as a problem and getting on with their life doesn’t really help if it actually does cause some actual problems in the brain being forced.

  10. Leela Ravi says:

    My two year old son uses his both hands equally. Can I encourage him to use his left hand more often? I want to teach him to write with left hand. My wife and I are right handed. Please suggest.
    Ravi

  11. Nisreen says:

    My 4 year old writes using both hands. What should I do? The school teachers are complaining that he has to select one hand and stick to it.

    • Timmy says:

      Let him use both! Many people would love to be ambidextrous. Many try very hard to become so. I always wonder what would have happened if I had been allowed to keep using my left. Being able to use both hands is a very useful skill. Let him do it, it’s part of who he is. The teachers can’t force your son to do it.

  12. Sehena says:

    According to my mother I was suppose to be left handed yet my grandmother forcibly changed the pencil from my left hand to my right. Because of this I eventually became right handed but have suffered some of the symptoms that you have mentioned above. Mostly bad handwriting, nail biting, shyness, poor concentration and bad memory.

  13. Katie says:

    Hi everyone! My name is Katie, I’m 19 years old. I didn’t know I was supposed to be left-handed until my mother mentioned it ten years ago. My whole family (cousins, uncles, aunts…) and I were having dinner at the restaurant when one of my cousins asked why I cut meat with my left hand. Since then, I’ve realized that I’ve been doing a lot of things “backwards” (tying shoelaces, knitting, juggling…), which is quite weird for a right-hander. At least, now I know why people think I’m cold or have a sloppy handwriting…

  14. Emma says:

    I’m 13 years old, and left handed. I really hate being left handed, due to people teasing me and other everyday problems for a typical leftie, and I really want to write with my write hand. I have tried Many times but all it does is causes problems with my brain. I just don’t want to be left handed anymore. I don’t know what to do.

    • Andrew says:

      DON’T whatever you do change hands. It will only make it worse in later life. You should be proud to be left handed. Try to ignore the negative comments like I did when I was at school and had the same problems as you. I couldn’t change because I was born with only one arm.

  15. kaushik says:

    exactly i have many of these problems

  16. Mal Clark says:

    Born in 1938 I was forced to write with my right hand at school though I believe my mother accepted left handedness. My brother born two years later was allowed to write with his left hand by the same teacher!. I believe the forced change led to my stuttering that did not ease until I was 25/16. It was not until my early twenties that my handwriting became acceptable.
    It was also at that time I learned that given a new task I should use my left hand. Thus I use my left hand to control the mouse of my PC. When lecturing I use the laser pointer in my left hand. These do reduce mental fatigue.

  17. […] 22. Forcing a left handed person to change to their right hand at a young age can have severe repercussions throughout their life. – Source […]

  18. Noor sultan says:

    according to my mother i was lefty……..but i was forced to write with my right hand……..and the symptoms shown above ….really match my behavior…… any thing that i can do to make things better

  19. Kerry Stephens says:

    My son was born with a deformed right hand and I’m keen to find out if there are more individuals out there who have ‘learned’ to be left handed for medical reasons and if they have suffered any of the documented psychological effects. He is still a baby and with any luck he will take after me and be left handed!
    I was allowed to ‘be’ left handed so I’m afraid I don’t have any stories of psychological trauma to share.

  20. Purva Gupta says:

    Hi ,
    My name is Purva and I am a 30 year old woman. I just came across this article as I was browsing internet for left and right things images for my kid.I read the list of all the side-effects of changing to right hand from being a left hander. I am myself a left hander person. I write with my right hand. However, I can’t recall even a single of side-effects encountered due to that. This is all in your mind. No side effects occur if you wish to change your writing hand . Its just become a part of you. Hence, I see no reason to why will I not change my daughter’s habit of writing from left to right. Although I see no benefit in that too. But please be assured, it’s not at all harmful for your child. And yes, my writing is just perfect. Always been appreciated by my teachers and friends even during the college days.
    So chill out and enjoy. Cheers :)

  21. Pat Murphy says:

    Hi all. Heard about this site on the radio in Ireland. My big difficulties with being LH in a right-handed society have been slicing bread (although I am adapting) and tying laces (I’m hopeless). Laterly opening wine bottles is another problem I have. I guess we have all gone through school with a blue ink knuckle left small finger. Doing carpentry/metalwork etc at school was a joke as well with all the tools designed for right-handed people.

    Maybe this is only a Catholic thing but when I started school in Ireland with the Sisters of (no) Mercy they used to make to beat my left hand black and blue, something to do with a Catholic perception of left handed being a symbol of the devil. Anyway when I came home all black and blue my mum went down the next day and had war with them which was brave thing to do in mid-1970’s Catholic Ireland. It stopped after that. But I have heard of this happening to other lefties who were ‘converted’ to right-handers by the beatings the nuns would give them. Anyone with similar experiences?

  22. al. young says:

    I was forced to be a right handed writer, when I was about 4-5y old too. Im sure it has affected the way I think and do things, but, I type using my left hand, use my mouse in my right hand. I am also ambidextrous, which has been a blessing, being a mechanic, I was able to use both hands easily when using tools.
    I wouldn’t change now , but wish I could have been left to decide which hand I would eventually end up using.

  23. mary c konesky says:

    I am a Lefty, my father was my hero when he went to a catholic school to complain because a teacher smacked my hand with a metal ruler causing a cut between my second and third fingers.After He sp9ke to the parish priest and nuns I was permitted to write the way my brain was wired. My husband had stuttered since childhood. And one day after an accident at work (machinist) he lost the index finger of his left hand. during weeks of therapy I suggested he use a pencil to strengthen his grasp, and gave him a penmanship book I found at the library. He began drawing waves, circles and soon tried writing script as he recovered. One day his friends from work visited and asked Him when did He stop stuttering? We only then realized it and the children said it was when he started doing the writing with His left hand. Fast forward. He continued to write with both and was fascinated .Always had difficulty with math. but now tried night classes to see if his memory was improved. His math. class was now straight A plus to his amazement. He followed with higher math classes and even found errors in the text that he informed the publisher off and received a thank you. He Continued classes and passed his journeymen tests receiving certification.H never stuttered again as He continued writing with left hand until his death. But did enjoy showing his children how to write with both hands at the same time. Just in case!!!LOL.Lets hear it for the lefties.

  24. Ron and Pat Wagner says:

    Both my husband & I were born left-handed. He was allowed to stay that way.
    I wasn’t. I was forced to switch before I started school. However, I do a lot of
    things left-handed. We’re 64 & 65 , very young at heart.
    I really wish I hadn’t been switched……but it’s probably why I’m ambidextrous,
    so that’s actually a good thing.
    I think, too, tho, it’s caused some problems. I’ve read that forcing someone to
    switch can cause extreme shyness & dyslexia…….both of which I have.
    When I use our computer, I have to turn the mouse around & then I think of it
    as a pulley system. I push the mouse up to make the cursor go down & push it
    down to make the cursor go up. I always have the mouse on the left side….but
    I can use it right-handed & still think like a pulley system.
    If the mouse is correct (not turned around), I have no control over where the
    cursor goes no matter how hard I try. I demonstrated for a friend once & told
    her if it looks like I’m just fooling around, I’m not. I was really trying hard to
    make the cursor go where I wanted it to go…..but it wouldn’t. As soon as I turn
    the mouse around, it’s easy .
    My husbands’ family is very interesting. We’re wondering what the odds are of
    there being 4 out of 6 members of his family being lefties ! His dad is a righty.
    His mother was a lefty. Their first child (a daughter) is the only right-handed
    child. Their next 2 kids are boys, then a girl…….all lefties.

  25. Moshe says:

    I was a left handed child that was forced not to use his left hand. I can report on all effects except memory and reading, above especially during my childwood until the age of 25. Some of the effects disappeard during the years and some exist until today especially writeing with a pen or drawing. My mother always complained that I can not draw a line. I had bad table manners.

    I had a terrible childhood, very with nick names, no friends, the only friends that I had where books, there I had the possibility to use my imagination. Nothing else. only the library.

    It was bad at home, it was bad with the neiborwood, it was bad at class and especially in school, and for what? Every body was nasty with me. Ifelt that people enjoy it

    It’s over. I worked hard to overcome it.

    The only question that I have WHY????????

    It’s genetics, my father was a left handed my daughters are also left handed and brilliant.

  26. Hope says:

    I have a son named Reese who is left handed. When he was in preschool his teacher brought to my attention that she thought he was left handed. She told me not to get made at him. I thought why would I do a thing like that. His dad is left handed and grandfather was also left handed and his dad. So I looked in to it they say thatt your brain decides in the whomb what hand you will write with. My aunt Jackie says you need to make them be right handed or they will be left handed . Which we know that’s not true. I do everything I can to help him out .

  27. Jim says:

    When I started school many years ago I was asked to write my name, you guessesd it, I used my left hand. The teachers noticed this and told me to use my right. I was asked again to write my name and instinctively used my left. I was corrected again and each time I used my left hand a little slap was dished out with a rule.

    Since then I have learned to use my right hand and write very neatly and perform most tasks this way however if I play cricket or golf I use my left hand, when I first decided to play guitar I instinctively looked at playing left handed but decided it would be too difficult because of the way it was laid out and so learned to play right handed.

    Everything I do tends to be biased towards to left of my body and I immediately notice left handed people. If I do a job with someone they instantly refer to me as gag handed because of the way I pick things up or turn things etc

    My son is left handed and he writes as such. It somehow makes me feel cheated that I was made to do something against what was natural to me and I do get confused when co-ordination is called for but have learned to live with it but it has never held me back

    Just thought I’d share my experience with you

  28. Nan says:

    My son is six. When in preschool, I believe the teachers were trying to make him right handed although I was very against this. He developed a stutter and kept telling us that he needed to “practice” everything right handed. Strange talk from a 4 yo. In kindergarten, as in pre-k, I provided the teachers with true left handed scissors and talked about supporting his handedness choice. The stutter disappeared within weeks. Coincidence? I think not.

  29. anusha says:

    I was born left handed & my mom l8r changed my wrighting and eating 2 right forcefully ! haa the worst part is tht people alwayz assume that i am a fool..watevr i do or talk will be foolishness…
    Right now i am 20..& i feel bad if it’s all bcoz i hav chngd 2 right…& i dun hav confidence in me 1st f all…vry tensed character…
    It vl bcome prob f i change again 2 left??

  30. Morti says:

    I’m 38 years old and turn 39 in September.

    I can remember attending my first school in 1981 in North London and been made to sit in a set seat and made to write with my right hand. If I was to use my left hand in class I was hit on my left hand with ruler and then told to use my right hand.

    This would go on during the course of the whole day, sometimes, if my teacher felt that enough is enough my left hand world be tied to behind my back on to the chair. This wouldnt stop and as a result I became lazy, not been able to focus and pay attention in class. I would also go home with headaches. This effecting my confidence and I was made to attend special needs classes. Whilst at this school my written work suffered and was very messy, often been described as a spider was walked across the page. This been oppersit to completing my homework.

    On parent evenings my teacher would refer to me as been sleepy, lazy, lacked confidence and never complete class work on time. My parents went mad when they found out what was happening and after which I was allowed to be left handed.

    I only attended this school for less than a school year as I started in the January and moved in the following December.

    Even to this day I think that all my problems where due to the time I spent at that school.

    I went to catering college and when I started working at a famous golf club in England in the late 1998, my department manager would not allow my promotion to supervisor unless I retained to silver service right handed. So even in the current times there’s always someone who wants us to change.

  31. Nataliya says:

    Hi there! I was born as left-handed. At the age of 3, I was forced to write and draw with right hand, by my Grandma. Until I entered the University, I did not feel any inconveniences of being converted right-handed. Except for my horrible handwriting. I was good at lang uages and played accordeon. But when I started graduading, my life turned out to cauchemar. I could hardly get concentrated at anything, by the end of the day I felt extremely tired. I could not make notes, because of pain in my right hand. I tried to write with my left hand, but with no result. There was always confusion with directions. One depression followed another. However, I graduaded successfully, worked then as a translator, but recently I gave it up, since it became more and more difficult to translate somebody. Sometimes it is very hard to me to explain something, to make good speech. I prefer to write than to talk. Now, I have the only one question: in such situation, does it make sense to train and develop left hand? Thanks.

  32. Aks says:

    Well, my experience goes similar to what Joel had. I was a born left hander(so was my father.He still is a leftie!) who was forced to change to right handed. I’m 24 years now, working as a researcher in one of those fortune technology firm. But then, I wouldn’t say I have failed with this change from left handed to right handed. Certainly, I see myself different from people around me who are right handed. I cant get into the minute detail of anything and good at understanding or framing the bigger picture. I can present better to a layman on anything and everything. Also, I remember how my handwriting has ruined after changing into right hand. My handwriting looks very kiddish even in this age compared to a very good handwriting I had earlier. I must admit, i still have traits that a left hander is good at- I’m creative and people like my paintings and photography. From what I see myself having involved into a scientific field, I see myself good in understanding and comprehending anything from a high level and able to suggest a solution. But I don’t find interest in going to the minute level of fixing them. I take more time for it.

    Somehow, I see an advantage having the traits of a left hander and practicing right hander skills(science,logic etc). But I regret having changed to right hander. I’m planning to start writing again in left hand.Any idea if that helps improve what I am?? Or does it have any influence in the way I think once I make the change??

  33. Joel R says:

    At the earliest signs of being left-handed my mother trained
    me to be right-handed. I’m 37 years old now, and how this has
    effected me is obviously subjective and impossible to prove, but I
    will venture a few guesses anyway. I sucked my left thumb until I was
    7 years old. With nothing to do with my dominant hand, as other
    children learned to write, draw, eat, throw a ball, etc. with their
    dominant hands mine was left with nothing to do and thus remained in
    my mouth. I think this may have hindered my verbal and social
    abilities, as I’ve always been extremely shy and unable to express
    anger properly – I used to stutter as a child when I was angry. I’m
    still not good at expressing myself verbally, thoughts are easier to
    communicate on paper for me, and my social skills are still lagging
    behind others. I excelled in school, math and science, and sports;
    ventures that require a lot of competition but not communication. I
    began college with a football scholarship and majored in physics but
    quit school after two years, probably due to a lack of social skills
    that caused me to abuse alcohol and other drugs. I finally cleaned my
    life up and at age 30 earned my college degree in philosophy with a
    heavy emphasis on psychology, and then attempted law school, but I
    still don’t have the social skills necessary for the profession, so
    I’m working in the telecommunications construction industry, climbing
    towers, installing lines and antennas for cell phone carriers. I
    believe having been switched from my natural left-handedness to being
    right-handed has had negative side effects, and I highly discourage
    the practice.

  34. Stephanie says:

    My Grandmother started out left handed but was forced to change to her right hand. She said if she had children or grandchildren that were left handed she would make sure they were left alone to write as they wanted to. She had 1 son and 1 granddaughter that are left handed. Me and my uncle are the only 2 left handed people in our family. Was hoping my son would be a lefty but he chose his right. I agree though children should be left alone to write with which ever hand they chose.

  35. Harald says:

    Hi there,
    I am lefthanded as can be, but was forced to write right-handed. My mother later regretted that decision, because she thought my bad handwriting comes from there. I don’t know maybe she was right. Being forced to use my right, actually made me good at both sides. My father always told me you cannot use tools with your left, but i had to, and i can say I am better in all things DIY with my left, than my father ever was with his right hand. We have a saying in Germany that someone has two left hands, when he is incapable of doing anything manually correct. I tend to say, that I have 2 left hands, but luckily I a`m a left hander. After school i did an apprenticeship as car mechanic and being able to use both hands, was a great advantage. When I learned to play the guitar I never thought of changing the way I hold it, because to me it makes perfect sense, because the left hand is much more sensitive, so when i have to choose the chords, that’s what my better hand does, the strumming can do my weaker hand. In my studies, i had to learn hebrew and as sure as anything I changed the pencil to left, in order to write from right to left and it worked just fine. I actually never pondered to change my writing hand. Just a few years ago, during a coaching training I started it. I did not change completely, but I enjoyed the experience and still use it sometimes. A lot earlier i found out, that i am able to write mirror writing with my left in a perfect, neat and well readable hand-writing. It’s a nice but pretty useless skill. Unfortunately in the last few years I developed MS and it affected my left side stronger than my right. I now have a foster daughter who is a leftie and of course I encourage her to fully use her potential with that side.

  36. Lucille Burns says:

    Fortunately, my Father [born 1895, and also a left-handed telegrapher] was allowed to remain left-handed; and when I went to school, he made sure the teachers knew, and I’ve always been left-handed and -eyed, and unable to do domestic niceties.
    When I went back to college to get my degree by 40, and taught school for 25 years, I just couldn’t believe that left-handed children were still being taught incorrectly! What is so difficult to learn: Whichever hand you write with, the paper is parallel to that arm!
    I can’t draw a picture, but use the slants to illustrate:
    Left-Handed: /
    Right-Handed: \
    Left Handers of the world unite and: WRITE CORRECTLY!!!!!!!!!!
    Love, Lucille

  37. James S says:

    I’ve always written with my left hand. Nearly fifty now and when I notice another lefty, I say, “I see your correct-handed too.” You see, all those others may be right, we’re correct.

  38. hiram audeves sauceda says:

    as i read the article a lot o things have sense, i did wet my bed until i was 11 may be 12 years old as well being introverted, and all people blame that to me, as a child you are bullied just because you are different even if you are not forced to write with your right hand you are bullied by your classmates just because you use the other hand, but a right handed will never know because no one have show them how it is to be a left handed and the possible effects the conversion can have in our lives, thanks. I am proud to be left handed.

  39. Kent Hartose says:

    I was force to right right handed by my kindegarden techer, Result: bedwetting till I was 15, shyness, timid, and at 58 I made myself switch back to writing left hasded. It wasn’t easy but afeter a few year my left hand handwriting is better than my right handed writing, When I wrote right handed I was always told how bad my handwriting was. To this dad have difficult spelling even though I have 3 degrees and 220 graduate hours of college.

  40. Carol says:

    After reading the comments, I thank God for being as lucky as I was that not only was my mother left handed, but my second grade teacher was as well. She was the one who taught me to write correctly. She said, “I’m not going to force you to change writing hands, but I WILL show you how to hold the pen correctly.” She did, and I have never forgotten. My handwriting is neat and I do not curl my hand or drag my pinky. She insisted that I have proper writing etiquette, probably to show those prejudiced against left handers how wrong they were.

  41. Crystal says:

    My only child is left- handed. He is my pride and joy. I would have never tried to force him to be anything other than left handed. He is left handed and we are proud of it!!!! To all the left handed people out there… You ROCK!!!

  42. gill w says:

    I have triplet sons, from an early age it became apparent that one was left handed, one was right handed and the other ambidextrous.
    I’m sure the teacher had her reasons but when he was learning to write, the ambidextrous son was always told to use his right hand – he now writes with his right hand yet bowels cricket balls with his left!!

  43. Jenny says:

    I am fortunate in my parents refusing to let the school force-change my writing hand (4 other children were, in the same class!) – I am totally lefthanden, -eye, and -foot. For many years I was unable to use my right hand at all. I am from the generation who wrote with pen and ink, and therefore I write down the page, with the paper lying at rightangle, so as a result I have always had a leftsloping handwriting. When I was 15 I was sendt to a boarding school in the UK, where a teacher wanted to force me to write with my right hand – fortunately I was old enough to protest and was backed up by the head mistress. My grandson is also lefthanden, and I have with great delight provided him with all the lefthanden equipment possible, which were not available in my childhood (the ’50’ies)

  44. Sheri Richards says:

    This article has me thinking about those of us with mixed dexterity. I learned to write right handed. Though my Mother has told me that as a very small child I would color either/both hands. I eat with either hand, though mostly my right. I learned to couched right-handed, but when I tried to learn knitting I could not; until I tried it left-handed. I have dislexic tendencies, always had trouble with handwriting and reading. I also have some noun affasia. I can also admit to some of the other items on your list. Anyone know of any information on this subject?

  45. steve tillcock says:

    why in this day and age are we considering changing the way our brains function? Adapt.

    grow up…

  46. David E says:

    I was allowed to develop as a left-hander, and have no childhood trauma to report on. I don’t know when I learned to tie my shoes, but I must have learned it at the same time as my coevals. I have only one amusing story to relate: when young, I had a harder time than most telling left from right — I would have to think about it when told to lead with the right foot. A gym teacher told us the amusing story of a peasant who joined the army but couldn’t tell left from right. His sargeant put a piece of straw on one foot and a piece of hay on the other and would say hay-foot and straw-foot. We all thought the story amusing. But, it wouldn’t have helped me: as a city boy, I didn’t know the difference between hay and straw.
    With the new ball- and bamboo-pointed pens, I barely curl my hand at all anymore; interestingly, when I write Hebrew, I don’t curl my hand at all, and I don’t smudge.

  47. Lizzie says:

    All these comments took me way back to my childhood, remembering that I was never forced to write with my right hand, although to this day people tease me about it. But what I do remember vividly was the needlework teacher giving up, exasperated, having tried to get me to do shirring (?) on a little dress with my right hand, and unable to show me how to do it left handed! I think I gave that subject up at the first opportunity. However, I now find myself quite creative both in my work and at home where I make all my curtains, always made my daughter’s fancy dress outfits etc, and am. like almost all lefties, considered quirky and different.

    I don’t care – I like being different.

  48. Igli says:

    Hi, I was born in Albania and my first teacher beat me to write with my right hand. The side effects mentioned above have affected me, for example until 15 years old I wet the bed and sleep walked (I lived on the second floor). At the moment I am student nurse here in London and I have seen people writing with the left hand which is nice because they didn’t have to go through what I have gone. I think people have become more civilised now and don’t pay attention to these insignificant things, however I have met people from other countries who hold very hostile feelings towards the left hand. I think that history has shown that ideas based on prejudgment and old religious discrimination have crashed on the floor and broke.

  49. Sonia says:

    I always felt that being left handed was a very special and positive thing! (Although I take to being more mixed-handed than most, so there are a lot of right-handed things that never bothered me). I’ve always had great handwriting and I love to experiment with alternative scripts! My question is: What if someone elects to use their right hand, like in adulthood, and practices to be ambi-handed? (Not ambidextrous because that means “two right hands” and what would I want two right hands for?) ;) My right is not as good as my left, but then again it is still better than many natural right-handers out there. :P But I can hardly tell the difference when it comes to certain types of calligraphy–maybe it’s because I have to be careful and deliberate either way.

    So, I had fun with it. But I think there’s two crucial things happening:
    1. It is a freewill choice
    2. I have reached adulthood and my left-handed handwriting has already been established for years

  50. Chas says:

    In reply to Tonya. There is a very simple way of teaching your son to tie his shoe-laces – use the mirror image! That is, sit facing him. Tie a pair of laces on your shoes and get him to copy you. His actions will be a mirror image of yours.

  51. Dusty Trombley says:

    I can remember,long before going to school, being told I was stupid because I could not learn to tie my shoes, even tho the youger children had learned. When mother remembered the teen-age boy next door was left handed, she had him teach me, and it worked!! Still, when I started school, she told the teachers that I was right handed. I learned to write right-handed, but I also learned left-handed. I can write very clearing backwards left-handed as well as forward. Plus being able to write with both at the same time, or even backwards with the left and forward with the right at the same time. I enjoyed the challenge!! I am left eye and foot dominent. I try to encourage others to try the same. I am very artistic, but I suck at Math. I may not be normal to some, but I am to me!!!

  52. Paulette says:

    I can relate to this email. When I was in the 2ND grade my teacher would paddle my hand every day and put my pencil in the right hand in front of the whole class and tell me I would never amount to nothing and would not be able to get a decent job. Well, needless to say this stayed with me all my life and as I went through school I was ashamed of being a lefty, I would try to eat with my right hand in the lunch room so no one would know I was left handed I would try to do everything I possibly could with my right hand. It really left a mark on my life and stayed with me always. I felt that being a lefty was something evil or something like that and I feel that because of this happening to me that it caused me to not be as gifted and talented as I should have been. I write left handed and eat left handed but every sport and even down to washing the dishes I use my right hand and right foot for everything. I pray no child has to go through this just becasue they use a left hand it does leave an impact on your life forever. Thank you for these left hand emails they are uplifting and encourageing even in my life now.

  53. Lanette Wagner says:

    I too was forced to be right handed. My mother(Catholic) considered it a sinistra-the work of the Devil.

    • Jatna says:

      In some places, people from diverse Christian denominations (not only Catholic: that being left-handed is wrong is no Catholic doctrine) think that writing left handed is related to evil. This may be due the fact that in the Bible the evil things are put to the left side. And yet there is even a lefty hero in the Bible. This way of thinking was kept in pictures: if you see old paintings with the Devil drawn in them, you’ll see that the Devil is usually a lefty. It’s not important for most now though: I have seen left-handed priests for instance. And yet my grandmother says tat my left-handedness should have been corrected when I was younger. Also, some studies of old suggested that being left-handed meant living a shorter life, suffering mental illnesses, dyslexia and such, so it is natural that the parents who heard and believed that (presented as scientific results) wanted to ‘protect’ their children. PD: Could the “Share” tab with the FB, Twitter and so on buttons be placed at the left?

  54. Bob Willke says:

    I feel fortunate that I was not forced to change writing hands as a child. I am by no means a whiz-kid, but I was able to keep up with the other kids when I was a child(and have done the same as an adult). But, I was never taught to “write” left-handed, struggling with the way the paper is tilted, to smearing the ink when I wrote. To this day, I tilt my paper as a right hander, but I learned, on my own, to print very fast!(the only way others can read my writing!
    By the way, I was the only child out of 8 that is left-handed(couldn’t find recent ancestors that were left-handed, either).

  55. Robert Williams says:

    After reading some of the post about being converted from left handed to right handed , My question is how do the adults who where made to write right handed get help in converting back to writing left handed again ? I know it would help me to be converted back since I have suffered from a lot of those problems that were listed in this article.
    Best regards, Robert

    • Kate Gladstone says:

      You asked about help regaining your natural left-handed ness with writing. As a handwriting instruction/remediation profession (from a family which is about half left-handers), I have encountered quite a few such cases and will be be happy o help you as I have helped the others.

      Please reach me through my web-site — http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

  56. Johna Mohr says:

    Reading your post took me back to my kindergarten days. My teacher, Mrs. Ward, Nordale School, Fairbanks, Ak, became my persecutor. To this day I remember exactly what she looked like and to me the only thing she was missing was her broomstick. I was terrified of her. I was never mistreated by my parents and like so many children, afraid to tell them what was going on, thinking it was all my fault. That somehow I must deserve the treatment. I sat at a table with 4 children and I was on the end of the table on the aisle; no one on my left. I was writing with a red color crayon in my left hand when the Wicked Witch grabbed it out of my hand and jabbed it into my right hand and made some nasty remark that all the other kids in the class heard. Of course that made all the kids in the class not like me because there must be something wrong with me if the teacher didn’t like me. Talk about “child abuse”. The crayon incident I remember, the never ending repetitive penmanship drills, how ugly and mean she was and one other incident is my total recall of my first year of school. This teacher played the piano and I do remember just loving music. She was playing the song, “To Grandmother’s House We Go”. I had to go to the bathroom so badly and I could barely hold it. We were all sitting on the floor around the piano and I kept looking at the big clock on the wall hoping I could hold it long enough for school to get out. I was to terrified of this teacher that I couldn’t bring myself to ask permission to go to the restroom. I must have been holding it for hours. Anyway, as you probably can guess the floodgates let loose. Suddenly, this pretty little girl in a lacy, frilly dress jumped up and yelled, “Ooooo! I’m all wet. Then others started jumping up yelling the same thing. I figured I’d better jump up and yell or the Wicked Witch would know it was me and then who knew what might happen. On my way home I sat in the snow and slid down the banks so when I got home I simply told my mother that I got wet playing in the snow. So began my educational career and I believe it really affected the rest of my life. I became very quiet, reserved and an introvert for many, many years. I had an abusive teacher in the 3rd grade that pulled my long dark hair and slapped me and a 5th grade teacher that emotionally abused me and either directly, (as in kindergarten) or indirectly because of the left hand switch it made life difficult. I couldn’t play sports. I couldn’t figure out how to hold the bat or which hand to throw the ball with. I couldn’t throw very far with my right hand so why play baseball? I wasn’t a klutz but I didn’t have the energy or stamina to participate in a lot of things. I loved music and could never get good at any instrument. I was and am a jack of all trades and a master of none. I’ve kind of been a loner all of my life and actually enjoy my own company better than the company of others. Do I think switching a “lefty” to a “righty” is detrimental? Yes, absolutely! When a child is switched over a life is lost. What could have been is lost forever. I may have been a Mozart or an Einstein. I’ll never know what could have been and so I have just adjusted to the struggle with my own life and abilities. I just keep trying and work extra hard at every thing I do.