updated 14 Sep 2011, 12:26
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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
The New Paper
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Left-handedness is inherited


My 15-month-old boy seems more prone to using his left hand rather than his right to pick up toys or food.

I'm worried that being a left-handed person might inconvenience him when he grows up. My friends say I should correct him now before he turns two. Should I? And how?

- Madam Jessica Yap, 33, auditor


Move into the 21st century, woman! We are no longer in medieval Europe, where left-handedness was associated with witchcraft. The wizards and witches are gone (although they live on ad nauseum in Harry Potter movies and books).

Left-handedness is common nowadays and there are entire retail universes devoted to serving lefties. (Find tools, stationery at sites like,

Left-handedness (as well as right-handedness) is inherited, experts say.

Dr Terence Tan, a consultant paediatrician with Kinder Clinic at Mount Alvernia Hospital, said there is very little parents can do to "correct" left-handedness because the child will use his hand of preference.

If he is genetically programmed to be left-handed, any attempts to force him to change might cause more damage than good, in a situation known as "contradictory left-handedness".

The boy will feel pressurised and it could cause other problems.

You wouldn't want your child to end up with dyslexia or start stuttering, would you?

Worse, if he gets motor disorders like clumsiness or nervous tics.

But, if he is very dependent on his left hand at 15 months, Dr Tan suggested his mum to consult his doctor to rule out hemiplegia - a weakness on one side of the body.

A physical examination by his doctor should confirm this, he added.

I know, the world is unfair. It is built for the right-handed people, with tools tailored for them. Even teachers are propagating writing styles meant for right-handed people.

Don't worry, these learning difficulties are just minor inconveniences, and the boy will adapt to. Call it the lessons of life, and he simply has to experience them slightly earlier.

Oh PS: A predominant use of the left hand means a more developed right brain.

Which means he could be a creative genius in the making - or the next leader of the most powerful nation in the world (Mr Barack Obama is a leftie) or Singapore (like Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, signs documents that impact our lives with, you guessed it, with his left hand).

So stop fretting and enjoy the uniqueness of your child.

Dear Parents,

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Unload your problems. Write questions to our very own super nanny at [email protected] Write "Dear Nanny" in the email's subject field, and do include your full name, and contact number.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments

go for an DNA test please. however, he may also turn out smarter than you. go and offer your thanksgiving.
Posted by A_Commoner on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 14:28 PM
This is interesting. My son is the only 1 in the family (both families trees) who's left handed. How come ah?
Posted by JUSTSPOREAN on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 13:29 PM
interesting, used to be lefty childhood and using right now, they call ambidextrous. right, you get this comfortable feeling using e.g left hand to cut, right to write vice versa. sometime u get to 'use' both comfortably.
Posted by crapbuster on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 12:22 PM

Please don't make your spelling teacher sad. :D
Posted by A_Commoner on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 09:42 AM

I can write with both of my hands...:D just that with right hand, it's neater.... with left hand, you need MAGNIFLYING GLASS.:p
Posted by Tsunamiw4ve on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:36 AM

Lol... are you left handed too?
Posted by Los Liberatos on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:23 AM

Yes, it has got to do with genes....

Nonetheless : whteher rgiht hadned or lfet hednad, the barins has the aiblity to raed wrods as a cmopsoite wohle.

So enojy raeding & simle...:D
Posted by Tsunamiw4ve on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:19 AM
Very true that this has got to do with genes... my kid's left-handed, so is his mother. :D :D
Posted by Los Liberatos on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:12 AM
Right handed : Use left side of Brain

Left handed : Use right side of Brain
Posted by Tsunamiw4ve on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:11 AM

Posted by Tsunamiw4ve on Thu, 8 Sep 2011 at 00:09 AM

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