Are You Left Handed? ‘The Prevention and Correction of Left Handedness in Children’.

Are you left-handed? Did you experience the teacher’s and societies wrath as you were growing up? (let us know your experiences in the comments section below)

Whilst we all know that in the ‘olden’ day’s left-handedness was discouraged but are we really aware as to the extent it was ‘discouraged’?

Right up to the 1970s educational institutions were engrained with discrimination and intolerance. There are many stories of brutal attempts to impose conformity and ‘normality’ upon left-handed children. Techniques such as tying the left hand behind the chair and full on corporal punishment for daring to do what came naturally to approx 10% of the population. There was the psychological torment as well, from being accused of being abnormal and in league with the devil to being accused, strangely, of being a communist!

Many Soviet bloc countries maintained strict policies against ‘lefties’ right up until the 1970s. Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia and certain Soviet bloc countries all made right-handed writing compulsory in all educational establishments. Albania went as far as to decree left-handedness a crime punishable by law.

Whilst attitudes and approaches have changed over time there can still be detected a subtle and perhaps truly sincere desire to persuade ‘lefties’ to switch, as it would make their lives so much easier in this predominantly right-handed world.

Are you left-handed? We’d love to know your story growing up in the comments section below.

The mark of the left-hander.

Famous Left-handed People

Leonardo Da Vinci

Toulouse Lautrec

Robert De Niro

Judy Garland

Charlie Chaplin

Marilyn Monroe

Lewis Carroll

David Bowie

Paul McCartney

Albert Einstein

Winston Churchill

Jack The Ripper

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More from Patrick Boyle

19 Comments

  • I trained as a teacher in Belfast, 1951-1954. We were taught never to force a child to use his/her right hand, but to seat the children so that there was no hindrance to using the left hand for writing ,etc. This was a great relief to some young children whose parents had been very hard on them for being left handed. One little boy lost his stammer& became happier & more relaxed!
    My husband was forced to use his right hand at nursery school about 1939 in S.Africa, resulting in very poor handwriting!

  • Both my brother and I are left handed (both our parents were right handed). Fortunately neither of us experienced any discrimination or intolerance when at school – we were at school during the ’50s and ’60s . In those days such things as left handed scissors didn’t exist so we just got on with using what we were given without any problems. The only items that I need to be made specifically for a left hander is a potato peeler, although I cheered when left hand cheque books were introduced.

  • My sister was treated very badly being left handed. We went to a Catholic school where the teachers were mostly nuns.This must have been about early 1950s. She was only about five and was sent to the head teacher, where she had her left hand tied behind her back and was made to writè with the other hand. She couldnt do it and cried a lot. They kept on trying to make her conform and this awful experience played on her mind for many years.

  • I was rapped over the knuckles with a thick wooden ruler for sewing with my left hand – I have hated sewing ever since. I am so glad that I learned to knit right-handed and still love knitting – as long as I don’t have to sew things up!

  • I was born left-handed in 1939, and it was during WW11 that the family doctor told my mother not to make me use my right hand. I experienced no prejudice or problems while growing up, apart from when learning to knit, but a sympathetic teacher solved that. When learning embroidery I first learned how the stitches were formed using my right hand, then whenI undersstood that, I switched to the more natural left hand. I use scissors in the right hand because that is the way the blades are set, but in everything else I use the left hand. I’m now nearly eighty years old, and my only regret is that neither my children nor grandchildren have inherited the trait.

  • Being educated in the ’50’s and ’60’s I wasn’t forced to write with my right hand but as the photo above shows often had either pencil or worse ink on my hand. My work was often smudged as a leftie tends to work across their work instead of away from, as a rightie would do. I eat right handed, apart from soup and dessert, knit right handed and played hockey at school right handed because that was how I was taught. Everything else I’m very much a leftie. AND proud to be one!
    I’m also proud to say my 5 year old granddaughter is left handed too!

  • I am left handed and when I was in school about 1963 I was made to use my right hand and I started to stammer ,mum went up and told them to let me use my left hand ,stammer went

  • I was born in 1943, at Grammar School 1955-1960, left handedness was never mentioned by anyone. The only comment ever made was that 5 of us were sitting one behind the other. It was coincidental as we were sitting in alphabetical order!
    I have never had any problems with utensils either, my mum bought me some left handed scissors as I did dressmaking, but Infound them more of a hindrance as I was used to normal ones.

  • When I was at school in 1960 I had a teacher who would punch me in my back when she saw me sewing left handed and make me change to my right hand. My Mother, when I told her of this, went straight to the school teacher and said she would punch her if she did it to me again! I still have the sewing bag I was working on at the time and you can see where I had to change hands. That was the only time I experienced discrimination.

  • I started grade school in 1945. No one mentioned my left handedness in the first grade, and in the second, I was bought a brand new desk with the arm rest on the left side. That pristine desk followed me through grade school. In high school, there were no desk arms so it wasn’t an issue. So when did that acceptance turn to backward thinking on the issue? Is it because I went to school in Canada? It seems we are more enlightened in this country than people in charge are in many others.

  • Yes I am,and so is my daughter,my Dad would lay the table left handed but was right,so does my husband eat left handed but are right,II knit, cut with right hand cut with a knife for bread etc with left,and if sewing put pins in left,also granddaughter eats left but is right.(we must be brighter we have to work out what the right handed are doing)

  • I am left handed, apart from a pre school teacher tying my left hand to a chair and my mum going crazy over it no bad experiences. Out of 4 siblings myself ( the eldest) and my brother (youngest) are left handed. Then marrying a left handed man having 3 children which none of them are lady handed!

  • I am left handed and had a few issues at school in the 60s and early 70s.
    I clearly remember going home in tears because a teacher tried to make me write with my right had I was only about 5 or 6.
    Other problems came later when using a fountain pen because I came across my work everything smudged .

  • when i was younger I remember at junior school the dinner monitors would make me eat right hand fork and left hand knife ..very infuriating .but at home we had family of six and out of the six there were 5 of us and all were left handers..i wasnt eating my food the wrong at home .but very confusing it was with idiots at school 🤬🤬🤬🤬

  • I went school in Aberdeen early fifties at Kittybrester primary was forced to try and write with my right hand. Then I went to Westeron and was allowed to use my right hand always smudged the page usung a nibbed pen even to this day my handwriting is atrocious

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