Why in the past have schools tried to change which hand kids wrote with?

United States
February 16, 2009 1:51am CST
my dad (now he is 74 so this is A LONG TIME AGO) was left handed when he was a kid but when he went to school they had a FIT and made him learn how to write right handed so now he has been right handed every since.. is there a reason that right handed would be better or is it that they just wanted everyone the same or what?!?! seems stupid to try to change what was natural to him!! but i didnt know if in that time period there was an idea that it needed to be right handed or what?! any idea?
1 person likes this
18 responses
@CatGods (4595)
• United States
16 Feb 09
When I went to school I remember the teacher trying to make me write right handed. It didn't work. I think my mom must of put her foot down and put a stop to it with the school as well. I also remember the teacher trying to make me use left handed scissors and that didn't work either. I write left handed but I use scissors right handed. That is what feels natural to me. I've also taken notice that I eat left handed but when I reach for a glass of drink, I do it right handed. Throughout the years just for grins and giggles I trained myself to use scissors left handed and I can do it but I'm not as good as when I use them right handed. But I still can not write right handed. They say that left handed people are the only one that are in their right mind....LOL AND it has been proven by science that left handed people are more creative. Go figure.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Feb 09
im glad your mom made them stop.. its so unnecessary in my mind.. if the child is able to write then let them write!
@Lindery (854)
• Latvia
16 Feb 09
I think it was an idea so everyone is the same. Anything out of standard was out of "normal" earlier. In my country you don't have to look back in so fat past, left handed were discriminated still 20 years ago here. I live in Latvia which used to be under Russian Soviet control and ideology was crazy and strict. I remember when I was in first school classes one of my classmate was left handed and teacher kicked his fingers with a ruler each time she noticed the little kid is using his left hand to write. I think people didn't think deeper, they just did what other have told.
• United States
16 Feb 09
thats really sad!! if everyone was the same the world would be so boring!!
@Paula1966 (1102)
• United States
17 Feb 09
It all stems from ancient superstitions. In ancient times, it was believed that the evil spirits or forces inside you resided in the left side of your body, while the good lived in the right side of your body. So, if your dominant hand was your left hand, that meant you were just "off". We still see this reflected in modern language. The French word for "left" - "gauche" - is also a term used for something that is awkward or lacking in social grace. Subsequently, if someone was left-handed, for literally millenia, society tried to fit them into the norm by "making" them become right-handed. I personally believe if you force someone to change their dominant hand, it doesn't "hard-wire" correctly in your brain. My younger sister used to always use her left hand as a toddler. Then, when she went to school, they made her use her right hand. Even today, as she approaches 40, her writing still looks much like that of an elementary school child. I guess it just never really "took".
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
my dads writing is ok so i guess it took as far as neatness but yeah i dont think it really CHANGES the person mentally or anything.. i wonder if they have done tests to see if the left handed people that switch start using the opposite side of their brain (left side after switching i mean)
@Paula1966 (1102)
• United States
18 Feb 09
Thanks for the BR. I think I was thinking more along the lines of the physical aspect of how the brain works and how my sister's handwriting looks. Mentally, she is probably better off than I am, LOL.
• Philippines
16 Feb 09
Being right handed is a normal or standard writing position. They say that if one people is left handed, he is different. Maybe that's the reason why teachers try to fix this problem. I have a daughter which is 2 years old now. When she hold a pen for a very first time, I noticed that she put the pen on her left hand and tried to write on the piece of paper. My husband said that we must correct her as early as she can. Now that she is 2 years old, she always put the pen on her right hand. I just want to share my observation, that the left handed person seems to have a good written than to right handed. Maybe they have their own way of writing strokes.
• United States
17 Feb 09
i would think it would be harder on the kid if you try to change it later on than let them be but if you are starting young then it shouldnt be that big of a deal i would think
• Philippines
23 Feb 09
I want my daughter to be right handed. Anyway, we don't have a hard time fixing it, in just a minute she really held her pen on the right hand.
@jlamela (4909)
• Philippines
8 Apr 09
Actually we were also taught in the house to be right-handed that when my brother was 4 years old my father trained him painstakingly to be right-handed when we noticed that he was holding a pen on his left hand, but no matter how my father tried, my brother will really transfer the pen on his left hand because that's how he feel comfortable. According to some old folks left-handed will be very difficult and they seems odd because some of the machineries and design of the technology assumed for right-handed.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Apr 09
that is true.. a lot of machines and etc are made for right hand only.. compared i cant do anything with my left hand i cant imagine being vice versa and having to use my right hand for stuff when im not right handed
• United States
23 Feb 09
It used to be thought that people who were left handed were possesed with the devil. (this was during the middle ages) Until recently there was thought to be something wrong with the child. Since the 70's there has been a great deal of brain reserch that has shown there is nothing wrong with being left handed. We must remember that when you dad was a kid there was so little know about how the body works. There is no scientific reserch that I am aware of that says being left or right handed is better.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
yeah its sad that they didnt know any better so they forced them to change back then.. all that extra learning and effort for something silly
@mariposaman (2967)
• Canada
17 Feb 09
Forcing left handed children to use their right hand is abuse. It does not work properly and can cause harm. There is some speculation that it can result in stuttering as well. Right handed people just do not get it that being right handed is somehow not any better than being left handed. I have been left handed all my life and succeeded in becoming a contributing and smart member of society. I thank my parent and teachers I was not tortured into used my right hand.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
yeah i think its abuse too
@lisa0502 (1726)
• Canada
17 Feb 09
When my dad went to school he was also left handed. He went to a Catholic school. Now what he was told as to why he was not supposed to write left handed was because it was a sign of the devil. Now how they figured that one out I do not know. Mind you he grew up to be a mean drunk so it could very well be true. He still writes with his left hand.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
what a horrible thing to tell some one!! the kid may take it literally and get all messed up!
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
16 Feb 09
They did the same thing to my mom...and turns out she bowled with her left hand...wrote with her right...ate with her left hand....and did other things with her right....
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 09
haha she was all over the place
@FDBrister (115)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Humans have a way of doing things that aren't so bright. It was once believed that people who were left handed were deformed, less smart, and different than the rest of the population. Thank goodness for social advancement. Think about it, we as a people have done things like that throughout society. For ages, people who are different have been forced to conform. Native Americans, Blacks, developmentally disabled, mentally ill, any one who is different has always treated like; those who are unwilling or unable to conform to societal norms are treated with contempt and scorn. Many people who are now considered geniuses were scoffed at in their own time.
• United States
17 Feb 09
yeah its interesting how people that seemed stupid or crazy later are viewed as genius etc
@lynnemg (4539)
• United States
16 Feb 09
My Grandmother went to a Catholic school as a child and they did the same toher. She was naturally left-handed, but the nuns made her write righ-handed. I think at that time, it had something to do with beliefs.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 09
hmm i never thought about that.. (beliefs part)
• United States
16 Feb 09
My older brother is a leftie and the schools tried to make him a rightie. Mom went to the school, threw a fit, and they stopped trying to make him a rightie. I don't understand it either, but i do know its still done.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 09
im surprised they still try to change you in these days and times
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
16 Feb 09
My Aunt is in her 50s and people tried to have my grandmother teach her to be right handed. I think they did it because there weren't a lot of left handed items and they didn't want kids to stick out.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 09
that makes sense.. thanks!!
@sharay (2776)
• India
16 Feb 09
they must have been seen like the odd ones out, when all the others have set that writing must be done with the right hand, if a child is cultivating the habit of writing with left hand, there is some changes happening in the routine, which some people do not want to let happen, even if some parents didnt bother and in fact like the unique way, the people around them would have stimulated them to work on it as if its something that should never happen in the world or even out of jealousy that the kid is unique
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Feb 09
sad when unique = bad..
@izathewzia (5142)
• Philippines
17 Feb 09
I have no idea why people in the early years only requires right hand writing. My elder sister used to right using her left hand until now. But our mom told us she was trying her best to teach my elder sister to write with her right hand. She just did not succeeded.
1 person likes this
• China
17 Feb 09
in the past people view the lefty are abnormal, you can't simply blame on them, because only few philosophers or psychics can jump out of the time setting,and skip the influence exerted by the circumstance and backgroud, but now,timing has change, so people now think it in totally different way
1 person likes this
• Singapore
17 Feb 09
ok, this is really a LONG TIME AGO, and i wasnt even born yet.. not even my parents are born yet.. LOL.. Im not sure what is the education system at that time. Maybe the teachers just find it easier to teach him when they themselves are right handed, and all your dad need to do is to copy the motion? =)
16 Feb 09
I completely agree. It is ridiculous to try and change someone who writes with their left hand to become right handed. If someone is born being left handed, then there is no point in changing it.
1 person likes this