My 12-year old niece is really into arts and crafts, and recently got into crocheting. Before Christmas, she told me that she had a surprise gift for me, and seemed really excited about it. I told her I was really looking forward to it as well, and prepared her gift myself (which was actually art supplies).
On Christmas when we had our family gathering, she brought me her gift, and was super excited for me to open it. When I opened it, I saw a crocheted animal, but if I’m being honest, it looked REALLY REALLY bad. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing, and I couldn’t stop laughing no matter how hard I tried to suppress it, so I had to excuse myself to go to the washroom, where I locked myself for nearly 10 minutes.
When I came out, my niece was in tears with her parents trying to console her, and I apologized profusely and told her that I really liked her gift, but she kept crying and shouted at me, calling me a liar and that she sucked at art.
My niece avoided me for the vast majority of the party after that. I tried to make her feel better by displaying her gift on my living room cabinet, but my wife pulled me aside later in the day and told me to take it down after the party because it was, in her words, “really ugly” and made her uncomfortable.
Surprisingly, all the adults were very understanding of my situation, but I feel really bad because I feel like I destroyed my niece’s confidence, and I’m not sure how I can make it up to her.
What are your opinions? How would you handle such a situation? Here are a few comments on the story where it was originally posted: