Forced To Be Right Handed

Since left handed threads seem to be popular at the moment, I thought I’d raise this issue.

I was dimly aware that in the “olden days”, left handedness was considered bad, and children would be generally forced to write with their right hands. But every so often I have been amazed to learn that this has happened to people at least as young as me (I am 32).

Has anyone here had any direct experience of this - either being forced or even being the forcer? In the latter case I would be particularly interested to hear your motivations.

That happened to me for a little while. They made me go to writing therapy when I was in elementary school. They later gave up and released my because I was a stubborn little pain in the butt.
I’m 25, so I’m afraid it’s happened to people younger than you.

And the ages get even younger. It happened to me and I’m 19. I wasn’t forced to be left handed out of any sense of “Being left handed is bad. You must learn to use your right hand!”, it simply never occured to anyone that I might be left handed. My teachers at that stage weren’t the brightest sparks around… I didn’t realise it at the time either - I’m not sure I was even aware that it was possible. I just thought I was lacking in coordination (which I am). Years later I went to see an educational psychiatrist about a (mostly) unrelated issue, and she observed for some reason that I was probably left handed originally.

And younger still. My aunt and I got into a hassle about my 16 mo. using her left hand while eating. “Oh! She’s left handed. You need to do something about that before she gets older! It’s bad luck!” I cut this off at the pass by explaining that kids this age are ambidextrous. My family has a history of forcing kids to be right handed. My 32 yr old cousin had to wear a baseball glove while learning to write and my 28 yr old brother had to wear an oven mitt for a while. Naturally, their handwriting stinks.
Luckily, I don’t think this “tradition” has been successfully passed down.

It is nice to hear that stupidity was only a tradition, and not genetic, in your family.

WHY was it considered necessary to abuse lefties into becoming righties? My wife (a lefty) was never pressed to become a righty – both her parents are lefties – but she tells stories about her late mother, who took holy hell as a child for writing left handed.

As an adult, she was ambidextrous, and could write with either hand. Handy, perhaps, but hardly worth the abuse…

I suppose its because our world (largely) seems to cater to righties, and maybe they are trying to get the person to avoid the hassle of being a minority early on. I know that like 95% of the desks at my school are right-handed desks for example. I think its dumb- its extremely cruel to force someone to alter something that comes naturally to them like favoring one hand over another.

Yeah, though I am right handed I find myself to be freakishly strong with my left. Makes you ponder on lost opportunities (I had a damn good pitchin’ hand, mind you!)

31 yo here.

As a kid many things were done left handed. My folks tried to get me to do things right handed. Was teased by other family members for being a lefty. In school they made my learn to write right handed.

In high school my right hand was busted, so had to re-learn being left handed - didn’t take long. Now after many problems with my right hand I am fairly left handed again - ambidextrous really.

Left = sinister, at least according to some Latin thingie I vaguely remember reading about 20 years ago.

I was ambidextrous until a 1st grade teacher asked me if I was left- or right-handed. When I replied that I didn’t know, she explained that she needed to know this so she could issue me the correct pair of scissors. She also pointed out that she had only three pairs of left-handed scissors. So I told her I’d take whatever pair was left after the rest of the class received theirs. As it turned out, we had three lefties, so I’m right-handed by default. However, I shoot bow & arrow left-handed (well, really left-eyed) and I bowl and bat better with my left.

George VI of England was left-handed and forced to be a righty from a very young age. Many blame this for his horriblly severe stuttering.

Lefty here too. I’m 26 and when I started KP in 1980 I was made to hold my right hand behind my back. But I was stubborn and they let me go leftie. My mom told me that when I was 4-5 I used to start printing with my left hand then switch to the right when I was half way across the page. But now I am 90% lefty, though I do throw a frisbee and snowboard as a righty…

I had an old math teacher in junior high who always wrote on the board with her right hand, but with her left hand gripping the back of her belt or pants.

We asked her about this (in our ever so delicate adolescent manner), and she told us she was made to be right handed when she was young. Her teachers trained her to put her left hand back there while she was writing, and smacked her with rulers if she tried to use it.

My parents say I was left-handed when I was a toddler, but when I hit nursery school I was “converted” by mean teachers. But it was an incomplete conversion, if it happened. Even though I am righty now, I’m an awkward one. For instance, to this day I cannot hold my pencil the “right” way and people laugh at me. I’m serious; my whole self-esteem was lowered in the second grade when my teacher announced to the class that I would never be able to do cursive.

There’s a cool way to figure out how your mind is wired. Hold your finger in front of your face and look at it. Then, close your left eye. If it moves, then it means you are supposed to be right-handed. If it doesn’t, it means you’re left-handed. I feel bad because based on this test I’m right-handed, which means either 1) my parents were wrong about me being left-handed and thus I’m not special or 2) those creepy teachers pulled a serious number on me back in nursery school and messed up my brain!

My brother is the only leftie in the family.

At school the nuns told him it was a sign of the devil. He is 43

His hand writing, ftr, now is atrocious.

I am 32 years old and I was forced to be right handed in kindergarten and first grade. After that I wrote and cut right handed on my own. I have horrific handwriting and cannot draw a straight line to save my life. My hand hurts if I write for long, and I don’t hold a pen correctly, no matter how I try to do it.

I am at a loss as to why they did this, but I recall it clearly- my crayons and pencils were constantly taken from my left hand and put in my right and I was reprimanded for using left handed scissors (yes, they had them, but they were taken away whenever I tried to use them). Very bizzare and to this day no one seems to have an answer of why this was done to me. I pisses me off, though. The very idea of taking away someone’s natural instinct of left and right handedness just seems so wrong.

Actually, that test will only tell you which eye is dominant, and if I’m not misunderstanding you, the way you have it set up, you’re asserting that right-handers are left-eye dominant, which is not as I recall a particularly common combination. In any event, eye dominance doesn’t correlate very strongly with hand dominance. I’m left-handed and right-eyed, myself, and my hand dominance is fairly strong.

I got the information from a psychologist who I work with. She asserted that the two in fact are related. But since this is her word, not mine, it’s no skin off my tit if it’s wrong information.

I’m right handed and legally blind my left eye (I have 20/50 in my right. No, I have never seen in stereo)

But anyway, my dad went to an orthodox religious school through the 12th grade, where he wasn’t allowed be be left handed. They may have tied his right arm behind his back to train him up. He continues to write right-handed to this day, but he is ambidextrous about a lot of things.

On the other hand, I’m right handed, yet I can only bat left-handed (or do any sport involving a swinging motion). All because my brother taught me at an impressionable age… and he’s left handed! If I try to do it right-handed it feels wrong, and I just can’t organize my body to do it.

I remember in kindergarten we were in music class and I was playing a triangle. I was using my left-hand, even though I’m right-handed, and the teacher corrected me. I don’t know why, though-maybe I just wasn’t thinking, because I’ve never tried to use my left hand for anything else.

Another way to tell which hand is dominant is to do this:
Clasp both hands together interlacing the fingers. Whichever thumb is on top is your dominant hand. It may also feel weird trying to do it the other way.