Being A Left-handed Kid In A Right-handed World!

MY VIEWS | | February 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

When my 5 year old was born she tended to use her left hand. I have no idea why that concerned her dad so and I often caught him trying to “teach” her to use her right hand. Pediatricians warned that it takes a while to know since children flip between using both hands from the time they are born. Eventually, and much to my husband’s relief, she did end up using her right hand. Of course he knew this was because of her natural tendency rather than being steered towards any direction.

My left-handed daughter

Then I had my feisty little daughter who clearly would have none of that right-handedness. Dad knew better than to leave well enough alone. It bothered me none, as I could not understand what the fuss was about. I had no one in my family using their left-hand predominantly and I felt as long as her hand was fine who cared. I hated seeing her swap her shoes when trying to put them on everyday and her frustration at being corrected soon thereafter. She has since learned better.

This world is right-handed!

Then she started playing with toys and I understood the fuss. Did you know most toys are designed for right-handed children? Yeah, neither did I.  Those toys, which I had never looked at so closely before, now their striking features like way the buttons are located, catered for the hand of the right-handed kid etc stood out. Now that I have been seeing the world through her eyes and my heart clenched as I realized that is just one more minority issue she would have to deal. Yay, right ? Just what a little brown girl needed.

Left-handed handshake?

Toys aside, I started realizing other things too. Like a handshake or a high-five which should be a simple way to connect and bond leave me flustered and confused as I struggle to remember to use my “other” hand. I hear people who are left-handed are normally in the creative field, but since none of my family are left-handed I don’t know. But then again, I have no one in my field that is in that field.  She does create a mean kick-ass drawing though so you just never know.


  1. 1
    Shana says:

    I am left handed and my biggest thing growing up and now is scissors. They make left handed scissors but in my opinion they are even harder to use then the right handed one’s and if I use the right handed one’s too long they start to hurt my hands.
    I never really thought about a handshake and now that you point it out you’re right, I never shake with my left hand, always my right.
    My dad used to tell stories of when he was in school and if someone wrote with their left hand they got smacked with a ruler, thank goodness that is not practiced anymore.

  2. 2
    Janessa says:

    I’m left handed and eventually taught myself to cut with the right handed scissors because the left handed ones always sucked. Put her in softball, left handed players are always a great asset on a team. :) I think our littlest son is going to be left handed – he kind of flips back and forth right now and hubs is already dreaming of putting him in baseball and teaching him to pitch and he’s 3. LOL I think as a left hander you just adapt to the right handed world, I don’t remember it really being an issue growing up, as an adult my biggest obstacle has been trying to teach my kids to tie their shoes – they are right handed and I do it “backwards” according to them, so hubs has that job from here on out. :)

  3. 3
    Rob says:

    I am left handed but I use my right hand a lot also. I write and eat left handed. I catch with my left but throw with my right hand and I golf right handed. Not sure if this is normal for left handed people but that is how I roll.

    Also, I am not in the creative field I am in the finance field which I guess at times can be creative. LOL.

  4. 4
    Jessica says:

    I’m left handed and 2 out of my 3 girls are also left handed. It has definitely helped them to have me also left handed, but it has not been easy whatsoever. Everything is geared towards rightys!!

    Just remember to put their milk on the left side of their plates at dinner. :) This will surely prevent a lot of spills.

  5. 5
    Mommy Niri says:

    at least you have a head start in understanding it. My road ahead is much longer

  6. 6
    Elizabeth says:

    Like the other lefty commenters I can totally relate to this! Scissors, spatulas, can openers… the right-hand focused product list goes on and on!

  7. 7
    liza says:

    i have a 5yr old lefty too, the rest of us are all righties. i have definitely noticed this too.

  8. 8
    K says:

    The current President is a lefty!

  9. 9
    Mary Beth says:

    I, too, am a lefty. And both my mom and dad are lefties. So, in our house my soon-to-be 25-year-old younger brother was the right-handed minority. Poor kid couldn’t tie his shoes until 3rd grade because no one could teach him.

    I also throw a baseball with my right hand, because my only glove was a right-handed glove. My dad couldn’t find a lefty glove other than a catcher’s mitt and rather than subject me to a life of doom behind the plate, I learned to throw as a rightie.

    As an adult, there are a lot of things I adapted to and now can do with both hands: scissors, ironing, stirring just to name a few. I put my make up on the right side of my face with my right hand and on the left side with my left hand.

    Both of my grandfathers were also lefties. One was forced a rightie by having his left hand tied behind his back. His penmanship was horrible. A Needs Improvement in handwriting in second grade pushed me to practice writing from the newspaper during the summer so I’d get it right.

    As a lefty there is a lot to overcome, but a lot to learn about yourself in the process. Kudos to you for allowing both your daughters to find their own way!

    Oh, and there is a store in San Francisco called Lefty’s. Yep, all for us. ;)

  10. 10

    I’m a lefty and although my youngest is only 1 I’m pretty sure he’s a lefty too.

    I always struggled with notepads with the binding on the left side. My hand always hit the coils. And I’ve been known to smear a little ink because as a lefty your hand brushes wet ink as you move from left to right.

    I learned to bat right-handed though as a kid. I think lefties are more ambidextrous than righties because we have to be. Love being a lefty though!

  11. 11
    Vanita says:

    I actually know several left handed adults and they came from right handed families. All 6 are creative and have very successful cares doing what they love as artists (one guy is a sketch artist/graphic designer/singer/pianist). Two of those friends shared their experience with me growing up. They were frustrated, especially in school where u mostly found those chairs with the desktop attached that were designed for right handed kids, but after daily frustrations they found relief in their art and their parents nurtured and encouraged their creative needs. I once thought my 2nd child would be left handed and after chatting with these friends I decided to let nature take it’s own course too. She’s definitely right handed but can also write pretty well with her left. As parents the best we can do is encourage and supports our kids.

  12. 12
    Sarah Baron says:

    A couple of thoughts here… Being a lefty is GREAT. I can attest to this. I like being a “little” different. Never had a problem being a left I couldn’t overcome.

    Also, the year Perot ran against Bush and Clinton (I think?), all three of the candidates were lefties.

    This is a good sign. No worries. Just be happy she wasn’t born 100 years ago when they forced you to be a righty.

    Sincerely yours,
    Sarah Baron

  13. 13
    Francine says:

    We think that our son, who is almost 2 might be a lefty. At any rate he’s much better at throwing food into his juice glass with his left hand. lol I hadn’t thought about the implications of this so this post is very helpful! My little sister (who is ow 40 eep!) was born a lefty but forced to become a righty. She’s basically ambidexterous now, but her right hand handwriting is pretty bad I tell ya!

  14. 14
    Adam says:

    Having grown up a lefty, I can agree with above posters that scissors, kitchen implements, and notebooks have always been annoying. I’ve learned to do a lot of things with my “off” hand, just out of necessity.

    Although one cool advantage no one thinks of… Swordfighting! Those that train mostly against right-handed opponents sometimes don’t quite know what to do when faces with a lefty!

  15. 15
    Eanor says:

    I’m a lefty and am 53. I think the best approaches are a. Stop whining, and learn to use what is available, and b. be inventive. I grew up with right handed scissors in school, and simply learned to use them. Often if you just go with what is there, you’ll find that your hands will learn just fine to do what’s required.

  16. 16
    lefty says:

    Being lefty is awesome. I love it. Sure you’ve gotta work a little harder then righties, but in the end you end up better at stuff because of it.

  17. 17
    Cassie says:

    Being the only left handed in my family and nobody helping me to learn to write or tie my shoes, and several other activities, I had it pretty tough growing up. My teachers tried as hard as they could to get me to write right handed, and I was slower at learning to write the alphabet than the other kids, so I was placed in a “special class” although it was not needed. When I played left handed in sports I got into trouble for “cheating” and had to sit out on the bench several times for it. Up until high school I was accused of being difficult with teachers because I wrote left handed. Scissors are a pain, and when I enrolled in a Horticulture class in High school I had to buy my own left handed gardening tools, instead of learning to adapt to right handed ones.

    I had to learn to adapt very fast in a right handed world. It was tough, but I’ve learned to think quick in a lot of situations, and adapt faster than other people because of it.

  18. 18
    Ron says:

    I am left handed and understand some of the difficulties that it comes with. Examples being the ones everyone has mentioned with scissors, trying to learn to tie shoes, etc.

    Some benefits though; sports (many sports give a lefty an advantage) we adapt better since we do it all the time.

    I have your answer why we don’t shake hands with our left. I was told this story when I was in school by my middle school history teacher and it stuck. The reasoning goes back to when we didn’t have indoor plumbing and had bad hygiene. People would use the restroom and wipe with their left hands. It was seen as disrespect to shake with the left hand because of this.

  19. 19
    Kasey Terrill says:

    I happened upon this post because I was searching for lefty toys for my 3 year old. He is sitting here fumbling with a jack-in-the-box and getting really frustrated. He will be the only lefty in our right handed immediate family. Thanks for all the helpful comments!!

  20. 20
    Ally says:

    im the only lefty in my family… i couldnt tie my shoes until i was in the 3rd grade because no one knew how to teach me, i use right handed scissors with my left hand (i dont know how it works but it does), i tried to take a crouchet class but no one knew how to teach me so they told me i could take the class… sometimes being a lefty is hard, but you learn to adapt and life ends up being more fun!!!

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