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Raising a Lefty in a Right-Handed World

Submitted by on June 20, 2012 – 10:09 am4 Comments

Raising a Lefty in a Right-Handed World

by Kerrie McLoughlin

Those poor lefties! They pick up a mug and the picture is facing away from them. They struggle while using regular scissors. And we’ve all seen a lefty write while their hand smears ink across the page while they sit at their school desk made for righties.

Ellen Jones of Overland Park says two of her five children are lefties. One interesting challenge her older son (a fraternal twin) faces is that his clothes are always on the hangers “backwards.” He also has to make sure to sit on any of his siblings’ left side at dinnertime or else they bump elbows throughout the meal. Ambre Rush, a teacher in Kansas City, always looked forward to being able to drive with her left hand … until she realized she’d have to start the car and shift gears with her right hand.

According to, “by age 5 most kids consistently use one dominant hand” for things like dribbling a basketball, writing and eating. Luckily, these days lefties are seen as special rather than strange, so there’s no need to try to force a natural-born lefty to use their right hand instead.

Since only about 10% of people are left-handed, living among so many right-handed peers can be frustrating, to say the least. Shawne Pennington, a mom from Independence who also has a 10-year-old left-handed son, says, “I’ve had to learn to adapt to things. For instance, I cut with regular right-handed scissors and use regular spiral notebooks, but have to tilt the notebook at an angle — almost writing upside down. For Trace it’s different now. We can get spiral notebooks specifically for lefties, although it’s not always easy to find them. They did try to get me to turn right-handed, and as a result I’m pretty ambidextrous!”

Never fear because help is out there for lefties! From grown-up lefty woodworking tools to special spiral notebooks for all ages, companies like and carry products for lefties that will take your child through to adulthood. School/office supplies, cooking utensils, toys, guitars, and gardening supplies are just a few of the offerings. For dozens of ideas for making your lefty’s life easier from childhood through adulthood, check out the book “Your Left-Handed Child.” is also full of resources to help your child.

If you have a lefty, she might enjoy knowing some things about lefties to make her feel more special. Below are some Lefty Fun Facts from

  • If you have twins (either identical or fraternal), one will most likely be left-handed.
  • Left-handers adjust to seeing underwater more easily.
  • Left-handers do great in sports like tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing.
  • Four of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed.
  • One in 4 Apollo mission astronauts were left-handed, which is 250% more than the normal level.

Here are few famous lefties

Tom Cruise, Henry Ford, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Jenner, Paul McCartney, Michelangelo, Barack Obama, Babe Ruth, H.G. Wells, Oprah Winfrey, Isaac Newton.

Kerrie McLoughlin is the mom of 5 and author of “Make Money to Write About Your Kids.” She can be found at




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  • Jennifer says:

    All three of my daughters are lefthanded! The oldest took the longest to finally decide. The other two were really dominant from the begining. In my family I know of my mother both grandmothers and belive a great aunt and possibly great grandmother were all lefties! I believe I was supposed to be also so I am a pretty ambidextrious person.

  • Jolynn says:

    As a left-handed nurse in a drug rehab, I was shocked that it seemed that 75% of the patients were left handed!!! (No, I never did drugs). I was curious if there have been any studies about this? Or was it just a freak occurrence at my facility?

  • MomOf1AutisticPrincess says:

    My 5 year old is ambidextrous! She is also dyslexic & autistic, which makes it that much more difficult! She literally favours both hands 50/50 so I need to buy right and left handed items! I have them separated & coordinated by coloured marks to match the bins so she knows what left and what’s right!

  • Kathy says:

    I love the attention we lefties are getting today, National Left-Handers’ Day! I have always loved being left-handed. In my family – I was one of six children – and my Dad, one of my brothers, and I were lefties. We are the most artistically creative of the family. Interestingly, one righty brother and his righty wife have three children – all of them lefties!

    I posted on Facebook today for those who were left-handed to “like” my post. I’ve been amazed at how many there are. I think the percentage seems awfully low. In MY world, there seems to be a higher percentage of lefties.

    I’m glad there is more help for left-handed. I HATED how pencils and pens would smear on my fingers. I think that was the only thing that really bothered me, though.

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