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How do you know if your child is left-handed?
by jak3739
April 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

My husband and I both have "lefties" in our famlilies but we are both right handed.  My daughter switched back and forth for awhile but she is decidedy riight handed as well.  My son, I'm not so sure about.  He basically does everything with his left hand except for things that I taught him how to do.  I didn't force him to use his right hand but he cuts and tries to write with his right hand.  He uses scissors beautifully for a four and a half year old, so that isn't my concern.  However, he is getting frustrated with trying to write.  He usually picks up the pencil with his right hand, so I was trying to teach him how to hold it, but it seems awkward and he usually ends up in tears.  One day, he picked it up with his left hand and then got upset that he was using "the wrong hand" and switched.  I told him if he wants to write with his left that is fine, and he just put his head down and cried.

I don't want to frustrate him.  I'm not pushing the writing but it is something he wants to do but it always ends in tears.  I just don't know how to tell if he is indeed left handed and how to teach him to write if he is.  My mother-in-law is very against kids writing left handed and forced all her children to write right-handed even though at least 1 says that he was left-handed before she made him change and he is still upset about it in his 30's.  I don't know if some of the frustration is because she told DS that he must use his right hand and since he is still young he is still figuring it out.

Sorry to ramble, I just don't know what to do.  He loves "doing school" otherwise and always wants to do things even if I tell him he is finished.  I don't want this to put a damper on the whole process.  Thanks.

ETA:  My son is 4.5 years old for those who have asked.  I remember as a kid my grandfather saying how he was bullied in school and had his hand tied behind his back.  So, I would never force a child to be one way or another as far as which hand to use.

Also, my son is language delayed and did not start talking until after 3.  There were many factors, mostly he had constant ear infections and lost over 9 months of hearing in a little over 2 years.  So, he is catching up quickly and I think sometimes he stil has a bit of the frustration left over from when he couldn't talk when it comes to communicating.  He is already starting to read and still has some speach issues but is doing amazingly well considering.

Thank you for all your help.  If anyone has any ideas of what I could do with him to take the pressure of writing off or even to allow him to experiment more, I'd appreciate it.  My daughter switched a lot but once she started writing she was decidedly right handed and never looked back.  I don't really have any experience with teaching lefties.  I was looking at pencil grips to make it easier for him, but the all seem to be right handed--althought I have no idea if they are or not.  Thanks.


  • leighp1
    by leighp1
    April 22, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I am not sure if I am any help, but I can say that my dd is both.  She writes with both hands, but mainly right hand.  She does so many things with her left and we just call her ambidextrous.  Have you tried having him draw or color or paint and tell him its an experiment (Da Vinci used both hands at the same time to do things, he could draw and write at the same time!).  See how he does.  Maybe have him draw a picture with the left hand and have him copy it with his right hand.  He is still young and things still can change.  If he cries when writing, I would not have him do it.  Squiggley lines and lines up and down to begin with might help. 

  • oredeb
    by oredeb
    April 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

     how old is your son?


  • almondpigeon
    April 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    i'm a lefty & for some odd reason, i keep hoping that at least one of my kids will be left handed too.  i let them use either hand to write/draw/color.  i never even mention it to them unless they look like they're having a hard time holding the pencil/crayon.  my 4 yo switches back and forth, but his writing is still so sloppy, i can't tell which hand is working better for him, lol.  

  • oredeb
    by oredeb
    April 22, 2013 at 9:50 AM

     i knew my dd was a lefty from the start, she always did stuff with that left hand! when she started to write thing(scribble  or color )shed use her left hand that was about 2, but my other kids are right handed and they colored and scribbled at about 2 also but they kept changing hands, then at around 4 they stuck with their right hands

    not sure if it matters but theres more lefties than rights in our families, but we only got one left handed child out of the kids!hahaaha

  • jak3739
    by jak3739
    April 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    My son is 4.5 years old.  I don't really try to do writing with him, but he has an interest so he asks to write things.  He can write with his right and color with both hands.  I just don't know if he is trying to write with his right hand because we all do and then getting frustrated. 

    I will try the art experiment.  I have never said anything about which hand to use, but obviously demonstrate things with my right hand. 

    I am upset with my MIL for making a big deal about it.  She babysits for the kids when I work once a week and I think that maybe she said something to him and that is why he is suddenly frustrated, when we were making progress earlier in the year.

  • KrissyKC
    April 22, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I'm one of those confusing people...

    I write and bat decidedly left handed...

    I throw and cut decidedly right handed...

    I cannot switch.

  • tuffymama
    April 22, 2013 at 6:48 PM
    My ODS is fairly ambidextrous. Credible studies have shown that children forcibly switched from left to right more often make depressed adults than those allowed to continue as lefties. That's enough of a push for me to leave it alone. Your MIL is functioning under some archaic notion that lefties are of the devil. Left-handers were even put to death or tortured in several cultures at some points in history. Tell her to step into this century and realize SHE is the boogeyman to her grandson, not his left-handedness to her.
  • KrissyKC
    April 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Might your MIL have had some time with him to get him so upset when he writes with the "wrong" hand.. because he sounds a little too over stressed about it.   Or do you think it's just because you guys are right handed.

    Maybe you can google some famous right and left handed people and show him some examples of people who are very successful both right or left handed.  

    He also could have that type of personality where everything has to be "just" so... if things are different or not 100% up to his standards, (a little bit of perfectionism), then these type of kids get really upset.

    I also knew a 4 yr old that was very advanced academically and she cut REALLY well.   In fact, her favorite activity was cutting.   She would sit for hours at my house (when I babysat her) and just cut up paper and glue it onto something.   She would color some, but mainly cutting.    She got upset when there was change, didn't really want to play with other kids (only wanted the adults attention), had problems eating... she didn't write much yet either.

    Mom had her tested and found out she was mildly autistic.  (although, I wonder if that's not over diagnosed these days)...

  • kquad
    by kquad
    April 23, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    My middle son is left handed and we think my youngest is too.  With the little one we just let him choose what he wants to do - no pressure. 

    My middle one we went the same way, but we had a hard time with teachers pressuring him to switch.  There are some out there that will push for right handed and we had to explain to each that he is left handed.  :) 

    You might have a left handed family member just spend some play time with him coloring and things like dot to dots..

  • hwblyf
    by hwblyf
    April 23, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    I remember the day in high school when we had a substitute in our physics class.  That's a loooooooong time ago now, so you know it made an impression.  The guy took chalk in BOTH his hands and wrote his name forward with his right and backward with his left (try it.....for whatever odd reason, your brain is cool with this).  Maybe show him this and have him try it out.  My second son is a lefty, but 1st grade was spent with him trying to use his right hand to cut.  His ps teacher was very concerned because of how poorly he cut.  I told her he was a lefty, and she was shocked.  I think sometimes kids think they're SUPPOSED to go right because so many people do.

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