Monday, May 17, 2010

Self-esteem and Mix(ed)-handedness

Had a most illuminating chat with son last night.

He was reading the book Stick Up for Yourself: Every Kid's Guide to Personal Power and Self-Esteem. Again.

Why? I asked.

"O well, you know, my self-esteem is at an all-time low."

Something to do with being ranked in "C" team at cricket.

But you came in top at skiing, I said.

"Yeah, but that is all forgotten," (ie by the other boys in class).

Then he went into the technicalities on how to bowl a cricket ball and how he was often criticized, and we drifted into talking about his preference to use the right hand for some tasks and the left hand for some tasks.

Clearly having a very strong left hand has given him an advantage in piano playing.

Obviously, I said, your brains must be a bit confused when it comes to bowling a cricket ball.

Ah! That explains why you are so good at skiing, I said. You use both left and right sides of the body equally when skiing.

Face on son shows a lightbulb has gone on.

Did some quick research on the internet and decided that while son is not ambidextrous (as his grandad was), he is also not left-handed (like his mum's brother and his dad's brother).

He writes exclusively with his right, more dextrous hand but uses his left but stronger hand for using a knife and twisting a jar top off. He told me when he used to try to remove a jar lid with his right hand, he would twist the jar with his left hand instead of twisting the lid off.

He is "mixed-handed".

Not very nice things are said about children who are mixed-handed, that they are more prone to ADHD, for example.

But not enough is said about how such children do in sport and what kind of sport they are good in. In this link I found that "Generally, people with crossed hand-eye preference seem to have the centre of gravity closer to the midline of the body, giving them better balance and hence better performance in gymnastics."

I would like to hear from other mixed-handed people or parents of mixed-handed children to find out what their experiences are.

In particular what kind of sports are mixed-handed people good at. We are still trying to find a sport that son could excel in (apart from skiing) at school. We can't wait for him to do hurdles, but athletics is a very short season at his school.

Our son, like Bill Gates, is able to jump very high from a standing position.

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