Anything Left-Handed > Blog Posts > Newsletter articles > October 2010 > The effect of changing left to right handed

The effect of changing left to right handed

For many years, left-handed children were forced by their parents or schools to change hands and at least write right-handed. We have also heard many stories about other activities that have been forcibly changed – from eating to making the sign of the cross in Catholic schools.

We received a note from Kent in the USA that made us think about this again and try to get some more feedback from members on this subject. This is what he had to say:

I was forced to change my writing hand from left to right at a young age and I would like to see feedback from your other readers that were forced to write right handed as to how it affected them. I'm a male in the US and I wet the bed up until the age of 12 and I wonder if that was related. Also the universal opinion of my penmanship is that it is atrocious. I'm 62 now and a few years back I taught myself to write left handed. Although I'm slower left handed (probably less practice) the writing is clearly more legible.

King George VI left handedAnother thing that has made us think about this is a new film to be release shortly called “The King's Speech” about UK Monarch George VI (King from 1936 to 1952 and father of our current Queen Elizabeth II), starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. He was a natural left-hander but was forced to write with his right and grew up as a nervous child with a pronounced stammer. The film does not seem to make much of the forced change in handedness, but stuttering is one effect of changing hands that has come up in research before.

There is a good article about the film here:

  • Are you a natural left-hander who was forced to write right handed?
  • Is there anything else that you have been forced to change and do right-handed?
  • What effect did these changes have on you and how have things changed as you have grown up?

Are you aware of any research into this subject, or do you want to undertake any?

Please add a comment to this blog post or use our contact form to send us your thoughts – we will report back in a future newsletter.

You can see an update on this article with more information here

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Posted in Lefty info, October 2010

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370 comments on “The effect of changing left to right handed
  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m 71 and was given occupational therapy at age 5, to change my leftiness to right handed. I didn’t perform well academically until I was older. My mother frequently received notes from school saying I underperformed, based on testing. I recall writing in salt with my right hand, and going to a reading clinic. I don’t recall having been given a reason. After all, it was a long time ago.

  2. william jackson says:

    Hi all, i thought it was just me, i went to a strict school who gave me a slap to remind me to use my right hand and yes i soon learned, i found when i joined the armed forces that holding and firing a rifle didn’t feel right as i pulled the trigger with my left hand and cradled the weapon with my right hand and this was not acceptable and this resulted in me leaving the infantry.
    Misguided adults who impose there brand of life on the young are nothing but psychological bullies..

  3. violet kadiri says:

    good afternoon, my was left handed but was forced to use his right hand this is affecting him seriously as he can hardly concentrate as every thing seems module-up especially his writing.please i will appreciate any advise to help him he is 6 years plus.

    Thank you

  4. Rich Gallien says:

    I am a natural left-hander who was forced to write, eat, throw balls, and do anything else that required training, right-handed. Like a few other posts I read I failed typing miserably, have terrible handwriting, and have very poor eye-hand coordination. All of this made me so self-conscious, especially the clumsiness, that I became extremely introverted. Up until my late fifties i actually believed I was right-handed, although I always wondered why I did so many things left-handed, and wondered why things were so awkward for me. Not until I asked my mom did I learn that I was really left-handed, the school had convinced my parents that I was better of being a “rightie.” Now at the age of 65 i’m still trying to teach myself to write left-handed. If you know of any children who are lefties, please do not let someone “convert” them to a rightie, let them be what they were born to be, left-handed.

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