DEAR HARRIETTE: My 11-year-old niece goes to a private school, while all of her cousins are in public school. I overheard her bragging about all of the things that her school offers that theirs do not. I felt like it was in poor taste. Of course, private schools may have enriched programs, but why would she want to make her family members feel bad that they don't get the same things? I feel like my sister is not doing a good job teaching her daughter about being sensitive. I wonder if I should speak to my niece directly, or if I should speak to my sister about it. What do you think? -- Sensitivity Training, Atlanta
DEAR SENSITIVITY TRAINING: If you have a good rapport with your niece, go directly to her. Tell her you overheard the conversation and wanted to let her know how you felt when she seemed to be bragging about her school. Chances are, she may not have consciously realized she was doing this. Point out to her that it may have made her cousins feel bad that they don't have all the same opportunities at their school. While she shouldn't hide her experience, she may want to listen a little more closely in the future and temper her stories. Telling one or two details of her academic life as her cousins do the same makes for better conversation and less one-upmanship.