Six months ago, my 8 years old niece announced that she wanted to learn how to sew. Every one of us became so excited about it because rarely does she declare an interest or passion for something that is new to her. Her dad went out and bought her a sewing machine, luckily he has some basic skills with sewing and he taught her the basics. For the next three months after that, she watched YouTube videos of sewing and will tell me who her favorite seamstress is. She will even tell me what thread colors she had bought, and so on. However, I had never seen her attempt to make anything.
Obviously, as the psychologist I was determined to get to the bottom of this. I sat her down and started to ask my questions. This comes in handy being the psychologist (and parents this is something that is easily learned). Guess what I found out, she told me that attempted to make something but her dad was too busy with work and her mom (which I found out later that my niece asked mom the question at the wrong time) reprimanded her for something that was somewhat unrelated to sewing but since she asked a sewing question at the wrong time, oops. My niece explained that she felt scared to try to do more and she didn’t know how to do it. She was afraid to make mistakes and be yelled at, and be wasting money. My response to her was: “we all make mistakes, and it is scary when we do. Especially if we might get yelled at and ignored. However, you already know so much in your head, if you don’t practice it you will never make the mistakes that you can learn from, and you will never get better.” I must have said this at least 4 or 5 times. Within the next 24 hours, she planted herself in front of the sewing machine, yelled at it many times and then asked for help. Watched a specific You Tube video over and over again. Even when she made a mistake, I said to her: “nice job trying, think back on how did you make that mistake and let’s figure out how not to do that again.” Two weeks later, I received a zipper pouch big enough for my wallet, phone, keys and lip gloss. Taadaa!!! Since then, she had made 4 others and each better than the one before. And her interest and passion continues.
More importantly, I gave my feedback to my brother in law and sister, who thanked me for finding out their daughter’s hesitation. Since then, they have tried to be more attentive and encouraging. Sometimes, you might get so caught up in your daily routine that you forget, which is completely normal. Sometimes, you need to just stop for 10 minutes, watch and think about what is your child doing and not doing. Sometimes, you need someone to help you figure it out. There is never one right way to ask questions but there are many ways to ask questions to find the right answer.