My boy is 16 months and I have noticed he is left-handed. He can scribble well using a pen and some crayon with his left hand. I also noticed whenever I gave him a spoon to feed himself he would move it to the left hand and eat well.

Back in our place, due to misinformation, left-handed people would be forced to learn how to use the right hand and be beaten. I was wondering if this happens in the USA and will the situation be

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    For what it's worth, children don't settle into a dominant hand that early. Maybe by 18 months or so, but typically not until they're 3 or 4. You may get good answers, but you may also be jumping the gun!
    – user11394
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 16:29
  • It's not only using his left hand but also using his left leg when climbing the chair or other stuff. Also in our family people tend to be left-handed so not a surprise. Lol he can scribble at 16 months. So I trust him. Not forgetting the fact that he's feeding himself fruits using that hand. I was just worried of how it works here in the USA
    – user22314
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 21:38
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    The OP's report seems to clearly indicate a strong preference for left handedness. @CreationEdge and Joe are saying that the OP must be wrong because handedness doesn't settle that early. Do you have any references for your claims? In the absence of strong evidence otherwise, I'd be inclined to trust the OP's observations. Commented May 31, 2016 at 19:13
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    Thanks for that, I will read it through. We're all unique in our ways. Surprisingly I never taught him how to hold the pen. So kids are different. I recall teaching some cousins how to hold a pen at that position at the age of 3. I was just worried about the taboos, I went through a lot now I write with both my hand's.
    – user22314
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 2:33
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    @CreationEdge: very interesting thanks. It looks like handedness starts to emerge very early in at least some children (sitting posture, reaching), but in many (most?) it doesn't settle for some years, and left-handedness tends to be weaker than right-handedness. So the OP's son developing strong left handedness by 16 months would seem a tad unusual, but not completely off the scale. As a lefty myself I strongly believe that trying to fight this is going to do more harm than good. Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 10:59

3 Answers 3


Nowadays in the US, it is extremely rare to encounter prejudice against left-handed students. It does happen (there was a preschooler in Oklahoma in 2015 whose teacher told him the left hand was evil), but is very rare.

I do recommend that you mention it to teachers -- often in preschool or kindergarten when beginning to teach writing, they default to putting a pencil in the right hand. Being alerted that he needs to be taught a little differently will help both the teachers and your son.

The biggest challenge your son is likely to face is that some things (e.g., scissors, can openers) are primarily designed with right-handed users in mind. There are alternative designs specifically for "lefties", though, so keep an eye out for them.

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    90's kid here: my kindergarten teacher apparently approached my parents 6 months in and told them I should be moved into "special help" class because I couldn't use (right-handed) scissors and refused to write with my right hand, to which my parent's had to inform her that I was left handed. 6 months and she couldn't recognise left-handedness. I got moved into the K-1 class with a different teacher and soon after, that K teacher "retired". I of course only found all this out recently haha. My point being, watch your kid's teachers like hawks. :P
    – Robotnik
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 2:24
  • Waoh, that's terrible. A special school just because of using the left hand. Looks like I need to maybe homeschool until he can write on his own well.
    – user22314
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 2:51
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    I think as long as you talk to the teachers it will be OK. But definitely practice at home with him too!
    – Acire
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 2:53
  • I am 34,a left-hander and non US resident. Being a left-hander i didn't encounter such a difficulties. My mom and kindergarten teacher encouraged me. Of course there are some devices/furnitures are meant to be right handed. But i didn't see much difficulty to adopt it.
    – Jeyara
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 3:07
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    While there is little overt prejudice against left-handed students in the US, there are a lot of unintentional mistakes teachers can make. For example, a teacher may well try to teach a left-handed kid to hold a pencil and paper as a right-handed student should, but mirrored. Any lefty can tell you that's not going to work. We hold the pencil and paper differently because we must in order to see what we're writing. Watch for things like that.
    – Marc
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:11

I have a daughter that is a "southpaw." We stated it up front to her teachers in school, and she hasn't had any problem. In our kids classroom, the scissors are ambidextrous.

The hardest part for her is using her right hand to use a computer mouse. I think this is an okay thing to make her use her right hand for, since all computers she encounters (that aren't her own) will automatically be set up for right-handed mouse usage, so she needs to get used to using a right-handed mouse.

Other than that, we haven't had any major issues with her being left-handed.

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    Scissors, yeah. One of the things I remember from my early school days was that left-handed scissors were available, but only sometimes. "So you'll have to use right-handed scissors today". It got to the point where I just stuck with right handed scissors. Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 11:02
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    I bought my daughter her own left-handed scissors for school. That worked.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 13:28
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    I know lots of lefties who still use the mouse "right-handed" - but with their left hand (ie they don't flip the buttons)
    – warren
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 13:39
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    Unless you kid wants to get into competitive gaming, it is absolutely no issue for a left-handed person to use a mouse right-handed. I am left-handed, and have 0 issues using the mouse right-handed. In fact, I am simply unable to use it left-handed.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 9:07
  • I know several right handers who use the mouse with their left hand, leaving the more dextrous right hand free to operate the keyboard. Depends what you're using your PC for Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 16:05

While there isn't much explicit prejudice against left handers in the U.S., there are minor day to day advantages to being right handed. Often doors, tools, and other aspects of everyday life are by default designed for right handed people.

If you are worried about it, you can affect the developing handedness of a child up at least up to age 2 or 3. Early on, it only takes a small amount of gentle encouragement to get a toddler to prefer to use the right hand by default. Asking them to use the spoon in their right hand at the dinner table is an easy way to start. We did this when a couple of our kids started out trying to use tools with their left hands, and it has not caused any problems.

Later when handedness is more well established, it may not be such a good idea to try to change it.

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    I doubt this claim. Have you a citation?
    – Marc
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:21
  • Which claim do you doubt? I have citations or personal experience for all but the final paragraph.
    – Warren Dew
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:35
  • I doubt you can alter the handedness of most left-handed children easily and without consequence. You see, I too have personal experience . . . the personal experience of having someone try to change my dominant hand as a child.
    – Marc
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:51
  • Since "most left-handed children" are older than 3 years, what you say does not conflict with my answer.
    – Warren Dew
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 2:08
  • The only evidence I have found and my own personal experience tell me that attempting to change a child's dominant hand is a bad move. You tell me otherwise if the child is very young, but you provide no evidence to support that statement. You don't even know if your toddlers were left-handed or just using the hand nearest the object of interest, so you don't know that you actually did anything at all.
    – Marc
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 2:21

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