11/08/2015 by Aruna Kamath
When we discovered that my elder daughter was left-handed, we were a tad baffled. How could this be possible? Neither of us – my husband or me – was left-handed. Nor did it run in the family. Since left-handedness is closely associated to genetics, we found it a little strange. But then, we weren’t particularly perturbed or hassled. So we just let her be and didn’t really bother to interfere to make the switch.
Today, she is all of 15 and continues to be left-handed. She’s perfectly fine and totally comfortable using her left hand for all her daily activities like brushing teeth, tying shoe laces, eating, writing et al. Whatever you and I do with our right hands, she does with her left.
In many parts of the world, being left-handed is considered a taboo. In fact, till date, in many regions around the globe where superstitions are rife, left handed people are believed to be a cursed breed. So much so, that they are compelled to change over to their right hand. I myself have heard of several instances of how parents have converted their children from left-handed children to right handed!
Though, scientists are still unable to unravel the mystery behind this phenomenon, one theory that explains the reason for being left handed is the dominant use of the right side the brain. For left-handers, heir right side of the brain has a better developed motor function. For right-handed people, the opposite is true.
But all said and done its not easy being a left-handed in a right handed world. South paws have a hard time performing their day-to-day tasks, considering that most tools, appliances and equipment are designed for the right handed majority – from scissors to flush tanks and switch panels on appliances. In fact, I’ve seen my daughter struggling to cut out shapes with right-handed scissors. But, even with several obstacles, lefties seem to manage quite well. Very well in fact!
Should you switch your left handed toddler to be right handed?
A lot of parents feel that the child would feel more comfortable using the right hand for activities like writing and eating. So they train them from a very young age to make the switch from the left to right. However, science says is not advisable to tamper with your child’s left handed abilities. Allow the child to choose one hand over the other. Forcing a change can lead to co-ordination problems and be traumatic for the child, as well as ruin the child’s handwriting. Remember, their brain is organised in a way to control the left side better. So switching hands could cause great confusion and behavioral problems.
The best way to help your left handed child is to invest in tools which favour them. Fortunately there are several special tools available in the market today that are designed to make their life easier .
Did I face any problems raising my left handed child?
Well frankly no! May be because I didn’t really pay much attention that she was left-handed. Even when it came to writing, I didn’t give it much thought. I just allowed her to figure out on her own, the position she is most comfortable with.
However, there were some minor things that I had to keep in mind. For instance, when I get her clothes stitched, I have to remember to give special instructions to the tailor to keep the pockets on the left hand side and the button holes on the right.
Similarly, we have changed the health faucet in one of our toilets to the right hand side, so its convenient for her.
Some interesting ‘leftie’ facts
- 10% population is left-handed
- Research shows that lefties tend to have higher IQ
- Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Leonardo Da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin were all lefties
- They are better at multitasking as their brain is forced to work faster
- Lefties make better artists
Left-handed children are as smart, intelligent and cool as their right handed counterparts. They are no doubt, unique and special. So, for heaven’s sake, let them be their normal selves and don’t force them to change. Like the popular saying goes “I may be left-handed. But everything’s right about me!”