Hello- First I am trying to learn more so that I can me an ally to my niece with autism. We have a good relationship but I know I need to learn more to make sure she feels included when playing with my girls.
My question is regarding family vacations and what is expected of extended family. Recently we went on a family vacation with my sister, her husband, niece, nephew, my family, and my brother and his family. Everyone was getting along great the first day then, my sister started putting rules on what everyone could do to make sure my niece would always be included. The kids could not play football because my niece did not understand the rules, she was upset when we did not send our kids to bed early because her daughter needed so many hours of sleep, she wanted the kids to follow her daughters diet because her daughter does not respond well when she has sugar. If my niece wanted to do something (even though none of the other kids, including her son, wanted to do it) she guilted everyone into doing that. So my question is, am I not being fair because I grew frustrated and my kids are starting to resent their cousin or do I need to do a better job at being more inclusive when on vacation?
Also, I did talk to my sister about how we are all on vacation and while I agree we need to do things that my niece can do and eat, my children are also on vacation and should be able to do what they want as well. Her response was that it is not fair to her daughter that my kids got to stay up a bit later, have desserts with sugar, and when my niece is with her family, she should always be included and made comfortable.
It's unfair to prevent your children enjoying their holiday for fear of upsetting a different child with different expectations and needs.
Switch the focus from shared activities and even meals, and towards "What do you want to do?" If the kids want to play football then find something the niece will enjoy that the others might not and entertain her with that instead. Send your children to play or read quietly in their room at her bedtime, instead of making them go to bed.
Being fair to her daughter doesn't mean being unfair to everybody else. If your sister disagrees then just spend a day enjoying yourself by suggesting the kids play rugby, offering them sweeties, starting a film 20 minutes before bedtime that your children must obviously stay up to watch to the end...