DEAR HARRIETTE: My son goes to private school thanks to a considerable scholarship. We are enormously grateful for this opportunity. The one challenge we continue to have, though, is that many of the children come from wealthy homes, and we can't begin to keep up with them on any level. Most of the children came back from summer break talking about their trips to Europe and Asia. My kid went down South to visit his grandma for a month, which has been a family tradition for several generations. I want my son to feel confident talking about his experiences, but I fear that he often feels poor and then not as good as them, so he doesn't even tell them. How can I help him to feel confident in the sea of so much wealth? -- A Great Divide, Westchester, New York
DEAR A GREAT DIVIDE: Start by reminding your child of the richness of your culture. If your son participated in a generations-old family tradition, make sure he knows how special that is. Talk to him about the experiences he has, the people with whom he interacts and what it means for him and his life. Also, be clear with him that he does not need to try to compete with the other children. As hard as it may be at times, he must learn that his life, as it is, is valuable.
You may also want to enroll him in activities outside of his school that are grounded in your community, so he can be in the company of people of similar socioeconomic status and shared values. He needs to learn to navigate in different cultures and feel confident everywhere. This takes conscious effort on your part to create engagements in which he can prosper.