Force a lefty to go righty?

February 12th, 2013 posted by Family Corner Staff

Photo Copyright Amanda Formaro/The Family 1998, 1999, 2000


“I have a 3 1/2 preschooler, she writes with her left hand and even eats with her left hand. May dad keeps on insisting that I correct her. He said it’s not nice and proper for a girl to be a ‘lefty’. But I do not want to because I believe that those who are left handed tend to be artistically inclined and intelligent. He’s been trying to correct my girl and she told me that she’s having a difficult time writing with her right hand. HELP! Im trying to look for some related articles on the net about this but to no avail. A lot of people, even her doctor and teachers, told me that I should not correct her and just let her be.”

~ A reader

Answers from our members:

Katherine wrote:

I too can’t believe that someone still thinks you should change the way the child naturally wants to write. My son is a lefty and his grandmother and father both thought that he should change. I had a left handed friend growing up and thought it waas natural, so I quickly set them straight. My husband remembers that he was more comfortable with his left hand and they made him change. My son is now 14 and left handed pitcher for his AAU baseball team and plays first base – all valuable commodities in the sports world. Let her be herself and tell your Dad she will be better for it.

Meg wrote:

I thought forcing lefties to change was something that stopped 85 years ago to my father. There are some researchers who feel that children forced to change have problems with learning all of their lives. I am ambidextrous and I always chose the easiest way to do anything. I sew a hem with my right hand but I do it in such a way that the only people who can help with the work are lefties. My mother swore I “unmixed” batters by stirring in the wrong direction. I shoot a gun with my left hand. My husband is a lefty who was never even told that left-handed tools existed. He has no problems working with all sorts of tools. I think you should just let your daughter choose her own way and tell your father to keep quiet.

Judi wrote:

I am a 36 year old mother of 2 very healthy (touch wood) children. I’m also a “lefty” and damn proud of it. I have heard several horror stories of converted “lefties” and none of them good. The one that stands out in my mind is that of a 40 year old who as a child was beaten by nuns for using his left hand in class. The damages of those early childhood memories are shocking. He still call nuns penguins. I was one of the lucky ones who was recognized and left alone. My father too wanted me converted and my mother told him to go to hell. All hell broke lose when my sister was born and could use both at the same time (she still can too!) I’m glad my Mom stood up to him, life’s to short to worry about what hand one is using, or what someone else is doing or what color the sky is going to be tomorrow. God help me but don’t these people have lives of their own that they have to pick on an innocent child who has no way to defend him/herself from someone like this. Tell your father I’m a beautiful Lady who has been complimented many times on my beautiful and delicate hands that love to create the most delicate gifts that I share with my loved ones. Those same delicate hands enjoy digging into my garden with my kids. And my husband has enjoyed my soft touch years, my home cooked meals, my letters of love, my paintings, my books, and many more unmentionables. Leave the child alone they will decide on their own. With love, positive attention and luck will turn out just as beautiful. Judi -(-(–(-(@ 🙂

Janny wrote:

I too am a mother of a lefty 3 year old and I am very proud of her for her differences. Other than the fact that it is hard to guide a left handed writer when your a right there are ways around it. I’m sure your fathers pressures to change are just echoes of the past and what they were told. Today we recognize differences as being part of who we are and celebrate each person as being unique in they’re own way. I say let her be and listen to what your own heart is telling you. Have fun with her!

Jessica MacKeigan wrote:

Check out Lorin’s left-handedness site at And celebrate your daughter’s uniqueness for she is in good company. . .Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth II, Betty Grable, Caroline Kennedy, Monika Seles, etc….

Nancy wrote:

Dear lefty Mom, I have three daughters, and very conservative parents. When my first born started to use her left hand more than her right, the same comments and pressure were made to me. It was so difficult to choose which way I was going to go. I finally decided to let her show me how just how much of a lefty she was. She is now 10, she writes beautifully. She does get frustrated at scissors and other right handed tools. But it quickly passes. As for me, I still get some comments on how I should have made her change. I don’t regret it one bit. My middle daughter was a righty from the start. My little one, now five, seemed to be on her way to be a lefty, holding utensils in her left hand, throwing etc….When it came time for coloring, she would use both hands but primarily her left. Now she is in school, and learned to write her name, with her right hand. Nobody forced it. All that to say that my two cents worth is that children already know the motor skills they will need to accomplish their daily tasks. It’s up to me to be flexible (to a certain point) in our daily routine. Meals, for example, we have to sit according to whose lefty elbow will knock the righty’s elbow…One more thing. I have made a point to not accommodate my lefty daughter with special scissors, or instruments. That way she had to learn to accommodate in our righty world. It makes her much more confident and less different. Regards to your family.

Nora wrote:

I read about the left handed little girl. That is normal for her, so why should she be “corrected”? I made the mistake of correcting my left handed son’s writing. He had nice handwriting after I kept telling him to write right hand He tried, but his writing isn’t that great. Think if someone would make you write left handed when you’re right handed. I can use both hands, my Dad was also left handed.

Barbara Dickie wrote:

You should never try to change something that is comfortable for a child if she decides on her own she wants to change then let her. Otherwise just leave her alone. In a nice way ask your father to please let her make up her mind of which hand she wants to use that at her age it is confusing to try and switch. Good Luck and God Bless

anon wrote:

Let her be. Thank God she has 2 hands to use.

Polly Eaton wrote:

Tell Dad to buzz off, I’ve been a lefty for 57 years and was very lucky when I went to school because my early teachers did not force me to write right handed. Now there are many left handed tools available that weren’t when I was little, I can still remember my frustration trying to use my mothers scissors, lefties were just not on the market in those post WW2 days, and finally had to learn to use them right handed. You are right in your thinking, let her use her left hand for what ever task she wants.

Kathy V. wrote:

I’m also left-handed. When I was in school and learning to write my teacher used to tape my paper down to try to make me write with my left hand curled. I’m from a family of 6 kids. 4 of us are left-handed, plus my Mom. If your daughter is used to using her left hand then that’s the hand she should be allowed to used. It’s worse when someone tries to force a child to use a hand they’re not comfortable with. I speak from experience, as that’s what my teacher tried first with me and I just couldn’t do it. Eventually she let me alone but it was really frustrating until then.

Andrea Petty wrote:

Amanda-When my son was little he also used his left hand to throw balls and eat. He seemed to be more comfortable with this hand verses his right. When he entered preschool they started showing him how to use his right hand also. For about 1-2 years he was ambidextrous (using both hands for certain things). Now that he is 9 yrs old he only uses his right hand but can’t hold a utensil very well when he eats. I wish he would have stayed with his left hand. Andrea

laura clang wrote:

I am kind of ambidextrous. I write and eat left handed and cut and sew right handed. If I am going to learn something new I have to do a little debate about which hand works best for the task. It has not hampered me in any way and I believe you need to tell your dad that he is out of line and she NEEDS to use whichever hand is the most convenient for her. You are right about being artistic. I quilt, sew, crochet, knit, and love the art world. Leave the kid alone!

Amanda wrote

: I know it’s really hard to tell your Dad to butt out, but in this case I really think that is what has to be done, gently of course. I am a lefty. I did very well in school, got A’s in many of my classes. Your father means well, I am sure. But the “old school” method of teaching all children to be right handed is very outdated and no longer practiced. PLEASE, for your child’s sake, do not force her to write with her right hand. She uses her left hand because the right side of her brain controls her actions. And you are correct about most lefties being intelligent or excelling in their fields. I have four children, one, my 2 1/2 year old, is a lefty. I think it’s wonderful! Please, don’t listen to your dad in this case. Tell him Thanks for your advice dad, but I am right on this one. I am not going to make her write with her right hand. Period. Your daughter will be much happier! Imagine someone trying to force you to write with your left hand. Imagine how that would make you feel. That’s how your daughter feels. She loves you and trusts you to help her grow. Her left hand is natural to her and she will excel in life. Let her. 🙂

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