Don’t Force Your Child to Change Hand Preference

left-handedLeft-handedness raises apprehension in everyone. Parents usually do not prefer their kids to have left-handedness.  Perhaps, left-handed people are evaluated as less skillful just because their mode of action looks different from that of the right-handed people in most. Parents and teachers forcefully make a child to use right hand, as the left hand is presumed to be an evil hand and the right hand is considered lucky.

Also Read: How to Reduce Writing Difficulties of Left-Handed Kids

I have seen parents  in some families rapping the knuckles of a child and also tie the left arm behind a child’s back to make the right hand the only usable hand. I can  recall my next door neighbor  snatching pencils out of her daughter’s  left hand and saying, “No! We write with your Right hand–see?

Unfortunately, left-handed people have to cope with disparaging nicknames, sayings and misunderstanding about being left-handed. If you trace-back to history, you will be surprised to know that primitive population had equal proportions of right and left-handedness. But with evolution, owing to cultural beliefs or innate factors, preference gradually changed to the right hand. Due course of time right hand acquired greater agility and was passed down through the generations.

Is their any Role of our Brain in Hand Preference?

If we look into anatomy of our brain, it is divided into two halves known as right and left hemispheres.  Both of the parts are separate on  functional grounds and “cross wired”  to the body with different tasks. Left  hemisphere controls the right side of your body and right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. Though this information is still a matter of  controversy among neuroscientists.

The left hemisphere deals with logic, words and language, mathematics, science, order/pattern perception, practical and reality. The right hemisphere deals with imagination, creativity, spatial perception, “big picture” orientation, symbols, images and feelings. If the left side of the brain is dominant, the person prefers right hand and vice versa. Naturally 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 a child to change hands and  write right-handed is like to go against natural dominance in that case brain gets confused. It can have very bad effects in later life as well as being traumatic at the time and ruining their handwriting.

International Left-Handers Day, August 13

The age of hand dominance has been debated for decades that what is  the age at which hand dominance becomes a salient trait.  But with the consensus maintaining that at about 5 years old children begin to have stability in hand preference. International Left-Handers Day,  falls every year on August 13.

Famous Left-Handed Personalities

Many international renowned people are born lefty – Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Tom Cruise, James Cameron, prince William, Pele, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Neil Armstrong, Marie Curie, Aristotle.

In India , we have many lefties who  have ‘left’ nation proud – Prime minister Narendra Modi, Father of Nation, Mahatama Gandhi, Sachin Tendulkar, Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bacchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar, Mother Teresa, Mary Kom.

Side Effects of Forceful Conversion of Hand Preference in Child

Studies have found that this forceful conversion can cause multiple problems in the developing left-handed child, including  learning disorders dyslexia stuttering another speech disorders.

Upon searching on the issue, I found an article written on website, exclusively dedicated to left hand people. Article enumerates some of the effects people have reported to them 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.

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