September 22, 2009

left-handed daughter

Pink2TK wrote:

I need advice! I have a 5 year old daughter in kindergarten who is left-handed. She has told me before that she wished she was right-handed like myself, her dad and her 7 year old sister. I try to tell her that God made everyone different, she's special, and many other things. Tonight was different, she was in tears because she is left handed and wants to be like the rest of the family. She sat down and practiced writing for 20 minutes with her right hand. What do I do?? I want her to be happy, but I can't make her see that it's ok to be different.

15 comments:

  1. Dear PINK2TK,

    I share your concern about of the change of handedness your daughter is contemplating. Should you wish to have more background on this subject, you can see my book HIDDEN HANDEDNESS The Untold Story of Handedness Reversals at Amazon.com for an account of what happened to me due to the sort of transfer you have described.

    In my case the handedness switch happened without my awareness, with training from left to right-handedness starting at the age of about 12 months. I lived for 40 years as a false right-hander. The neurological penalties of the reversal were extensive, as I learned (much to my surprise) when I took the return journey to left-handedness at age 41.

    One of the better ways of understanding the impact of a handedness reversal is to view a proportional map of the neurons dedicated to motor control and sensory cortex in the human brain. The split of the neural real estate in this area is roughly 1/3LH, 1/3Body and 1/3RH, so roughly 2/3 of the cortex in those areas of the brain is dedicated to sensation and control of the hands. On that basis, you can see that a permanent shift of one's innate handedness is no laughing matter. It creates a tremendous lateralized shift of function in a highly plastic neural environment.

    Combine the large proportional quantity of neurons dedicated to control and sensation for the hands in this area of the brain with the fact that the brain is equipped with large quantities of mirror neurons in these same areas, and you can get a sense of what can take place if a handedness reversal persists for something as critical as writing and other skilled movements. Through neuroplasticity, the brain is capable of accommodating the reversal, but the price of that alteration in function can be high.

    I hope that you will be able to find qualified professional support and wish you and your daughter the very best!

    Samuel

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  2. Dear PINK2TK,

    (first i'm french so, sorry for the poor english)

    I think being lefty givs you a lot of advantages in life. Sports, mathematics, visualisations, memory, logic, imagination...Simply because a lefty use more his right brain contrary to righty who use left brain

    I had problems too when i was young, especially when i begin to learn how to write. Your daughter must learn how to use her left hand. It won't take long believe me, ask one of your lefty friend to teach her.

    Never make her change her hand.

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  3. Hello
    I felt the same when I was little left handed girl, and I had an uncle who tried to switch me to being "wrong handed" by doing mean and evil things. Luckily my mother stopped him and I never saw him again. You have to make your daughter believe left handedness is a gift! There are a lot of celebrities and role models who are lefties, and perhaps if you can make her conscious of it, she'll discover a lefty to look up to, to inspire her to great things. My personal favorites are president Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Angelina Jolie, Vincent D'Onfrio, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno. I could go on and on. There are also a lot of lefty cartoon characters, like Bart Simpson, and the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, is a lefty. I'm not sure if this helps, but it is one way to look at it. If your daughter can see that there are a lot of very successful lefties who have used the gift of left handedness to great advantage, perhaps she can learn to appreciate her own gift! Just try to make her conscious of the fact that even though the world is made for right handed people, she can learn to adapt and enjoy the thing that makes her special. Good luck!

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  4. I hear yah man, I an 31 and kind of went through that, I wanted to be like everybody else
    Being left handed I write with my left hand yet throw right shoot right and everything else right, she should be able to write a bit with her right hand just not as good.
    There are allot of advantages to being left handed, classic saying south paws just do it better, being 5 tho I guess she wouldn't understand it yet.
    Here is a list that might help. http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html
    http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/lefties.html
    My Friends Daughter's name is Christene is Left Handed and is 9 years old if that helps,
    Once last thing, Maybe sit the family down and everybody draw with the other hand, hopefully showing sinking into her that it is perfect to be a Lefty. Good luck
    T.S.

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  5. Tell her the truth as below...

    1) god does not exist - she has enough to cope with without all that mumbo jumbo
    2) left handed live shorter but arguably better and definitely wealthier (in terms of money) lives
    3) not to join the army - a left handed person is more likely to die in the army

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  6. Dear PINK2TK,

    I am left-handed too but I've never come to the thought that I should be right-handed. I am rather curious to know what makes your daughter to think that way.

    As for my suggestion, I think your daughter need some encouragement from her friends or teachers (usually family members doesn't work, I guess) that being left-handed is special (something like: Wow! You can write with you left hand, and I can't.). The feeling of `being special' will be the best encouragement and support for your daughter.

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  7. I, too, am (or was) a lefty in a right-hand family. My mother tried to change me when I was little (just beginning to feed myself - she tells me - I don't remember) and I refused. I have one great-uncle who was a lefty. I always thought it was kinda cool to be different. I don't remember writing ever being a problem though I can remember my teacher at school giving me extra help regarding how to hold my hand at my desk on my notebook; do they still use those writing tablets that open from the top? those were better than when we went to the left-hand spiral notebooks; the binders that open from the top were always better too than the ones that open from the left; the rings were always in the way unless I took the paper out. Now I'm married to a lefty (who holds his hand different when he writes than I do; he does the hook method; writes from upside down; I think he never had the write writing paper and tablets and binders when he was growing up like I did so this was how he adapted; our two children are both left-handed so she may not always be the "different" one if she just hangs in there.

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  8. Former Pseudo-RightieNovember 5, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    I was "taught" to be right handed from an early age and it wasn't until about 4 years ago I regained the use of my left hand for writing.

    Once I did that, I noticed I became calmer, less confused and had a clearer mind. Forcing someone to switch disrupts their cognitive abilities, clouds their reasoning, disrupts motor functions and creates emotional instabilities.

    Keep encouraging your daughter to write left handed or she'll have a lot of problems down the road like I did.

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  9. I am right handed, but I want to become left handed because my girlfriend is left handed.

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  10. I am 39 and a left handed.My father made me to write with right hand.I believe it was the worst thing i have ever earned.changing a natural behavior because the others thing you are breaking a rule. during last six month i have been trying to back to my nature.at first it was hard but I'm getting used to it because i am a LEFT handed.

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  11. I'm a 14 year old lefty, and have never wished to be right-handed. Although I am absolutely terrible at almost every single sport I play, I'm always a starter because of my left-handed advantage. I did have some problems in home-economics this year, because most of the appliances are made for right-handers, but the solution was I got to kick back and watch everyone else do the work and enjoy the food after it was prepared ;)

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  12. im a leftie, always have been and always will be.
    i do find it really difficult to type.
    i play golf, football, guitar, piano, peel veg all with my right hand but only because i had to adapt my ways due to lack of assistance and resources when growing up. please tell your daughter that being left handed is a special gift and is natural- embrace it and all's well that ends well.

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  13. I sure hope you are still reading these answers. I did the same thing when I was in first grade and my mom didn't know what to do either. I wanted to be right handed like every body else. My mom had seen how being forced to be right handed had done so much harm to two of my uncles. My paternal grandma had the right answer. She simply said,"Why not let her do both?" I practiced both ways for about 6months. I was better lefthanded but it was cool to do both and my friends tried to learn both too with varying degrees of sucess. To me it ment not being "stuck being different" it ment that I had choices and support for learning new things. I did eventually decide that it was easier for others to be right handed and easier for me to be left handed. And I was Okay with that.
    PS On a slightly different note there are some very good left handed letter formation guides available for those who want to learn to write left handed, I wish they had been available when I was learning to print.

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  14. It's not a good idea for natural left handers to switch because there are cases where switching handedness in some kids caused studdering and dyslexia. Do like someone suggested and let her try writing with both hands and evenaully the left hand will get better faster than the right hand and she will begin to prefer the left hand. Also get her some left handed books for kids letting her know that there are lots of wonderful talented left handers in the world like Oprah and our current President Obama.

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  15. Hi
    I am left-handed and I found it hard to learn things because no-one in my family was left-handed. In play school I was sat next to another left-handed person and we became really close friends. I thelps a lot if you know someone else left-handed. Why don't you throw your daughter a surprise party and invite everybody she knows thats left-handed? You could invite family, friends people from kintergarten and let your daughter know that she isn't the only one thats different.

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