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Implications of forcing left-handers to become dextral writers


A six-year-old boy, Nonso Eneh is a left-hander. His father, Mr. Pius Eneh, a typical African of Igbo descent, a strict disciplinarian find the act absurd and wondered where his son picked it.He made it a duty to compel Nonso to use his right hand especially while eating each time he is around. The act, which he described as bizarre, he vowed, cannot be tolerated, not among his household.

Poor Nonso slowly and progressively, started using his right hand after several years of caution and spanking. But the entire scenario displeased the mother.This was her argument; abrupt interference of the left-handedness in Nonso may likely ruin his supposed intellectual ability as a left-hander. “Compelling Nonso to use right hand is a disruption and distortion of the child’s Intelligent Quotient (IQ). The act is capable of altering his intelligence, thereby projecting him as a dull pupil.”

Mr. Eneh on his part believes that it is inappropriate for a child or adult to give or take something from an elderly person using a left hand, not even a hand check. “As a true African, it is forbidden, and it is against our culture.But Mrs. Eneh belongs to the school of thought that says left-handers are smarter and more intelligent than right-handers. Has her husband done anything capable of ruining the young child’s chances of being a wizkid?


There are lots of arguments about left-handed individuals. They are generally right-brain dominant, according to scientists, meaning that they are often more creative, emotional and think holistically.But research has it that the belief that there is a link between talent and left-handedness is a myth with a long history. It is a popular belief, with varying and contradicting research outcomes.

In the case of Nonso, experts say it has not been scientifically proven; notwithstanding, the act of forcing left-handers to switch to right-handedness is wrong and capable of causing psychological distress.A certified Clinical Psychologist, Pamela Udoka, in a chat with The Guardian, said there is nothing wrong with a child using a left or right hand, as it is a function of the brain, hence compelling such a child to switch hand is abnormal.

“It is a myth that if a child is using left hand, it is a bad omen. It is our culture, it is the way we were brought up and nurtured to understand those things. But truly, if a child is using a left or right hand, allow him, it doesn’t make such a child less human.

“So parents should stop tampering with the hand the child uses. Let the child function the way his or her brain is wired. It is wrong for the father of the child in question to force him to be using right hand. It has its own implication. Parents, teachers should stop forcing kids to use a particular hand.She continued, “If a child greets, collects or gives something to an elderly person with left hand, it is not wrong, that is an African culture, so long as the child is developing normally in all spheres.

If the child has normal developmental expectations and behaves accordingly, there is nothing wrong whether he/she uses left or right hand.”Speaking on the popular belief that left handers are more intelligent than right handers, Udoka said “It is a myth, there is no scientific prove that if you are left hander, you are more intelligent than those who are right handers.

Also, a report by the Director of Current Time TV, (the Russian-Language Network), Daisy Sindelar, noted that, “forcing a child to switch the hand he or she writes with can cause considerable chaos as the brain struggles to establish new communication paths with the body.

“Adding to the confusion is the fact that people also have a dominant eye, foot in addition to a dominant hand. According to Chichkanov, tampering with the formula can have devastating consequences on a child’s ability to learn


‘If a lefty writes with his right hand it’s bad, because we’re changing the hand but not the leading eye or the leading foot.’ So a child who has had his hand changed is more prone to distraction; he absorbs information more poorly. As a result, he can become more irritable. That kind of process simply doesn’t improve his chances of success at school,” Sindelar said.

For Consultant Psychiatric and lecturer, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Oluseun Peter Nubi, when a child is being forced against his/her will to use a particular hand, there are implications.Although there are many researches that have been done in that area, Nubi said the research outcome differs, “as some were for, while some were against, but there is no difference found. So one cannot conclusively said it causes this or that. But the angle we take it from as psychologists is that when a child is forced to switch hand, it causes psychological distress to the child.”

However, top on the long list of world famous lefties are Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Aleksandr Pushkin, Paul McCartney, Barack Obama, and Martina Navratilova, among numerous others.But when you look at the world’s population in view of the collated number of left handed people, who are geniuses; and put it side by side with right handers who are also geniuses, it is indeed very unclear whether lefties are more intelligent than right handed people.


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Nonso EnehPius Eneh
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