Why I don't believe in boarding schools

The only people who can take care of your children the way they need is YOU

By Kavita Srinivasan

Published: Thu 25 Mar 2021, 5:08 PM

Why are you sending your child to a boarding school? Do you believe they’re going to give your child more than you can offer? Do you believe they will give your child the kind of lifelong friendships you think will serve them in their life? Is it because they will learn to be more independent? Is that why?

Or is it because you’re outsourcing what is meant to be your job? Is it because you can’t do it as well as you would like?

Boarding school-going children make great friends, are adaptable, can take care of themselves, and are far from spoiled... but they do suffer loss: loss of home, loss of constancy and loss of nurture when they need it the most.

There are plenty of boarding school-going children who rave about their experiences, saying they wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Who would not love living with their friends, day in and day out? There’s discipline, there’s fun, there’s travel (if you send them to a fancy school)… what’s not to love?

Here’s where the freedom and the friendships fall short: Where is the connection? The only one that children need to grow into secure and nourished adults: the connection with you. Where is that unconditional parental love?

Boys are sent away more than girls. “If I have a son, I’ll send him but not my daughter,” I’ve heard plenty of parents say. Why is that? Is it because sons don’t need protection and love as much as daughters do?

It’s no wonder, with their lack of nurture and connection with parents that the men today are grossly ill-equipped to deal with any emotion. They are repressed and express their feelings through rage, anger, violence and aggression.

Discipline is touted as another reason why boarding is great for children. Is it not possible for the child to have compassionate boundaries established from their parents? Why do you feel like someone else will be able to ‘discipline’ your child better than you? It’s a harsh question I know… but look within. What is stopping you from tolerating the discomfort of laying compassionate boundaries with your child? Is it easier to send them away than to parent them?

There are some who do it right.

I have a dear friend whose son was accepted to Eton. Yes, she was in a privileged position to adapt, which is why she even sent her son to school. She moved to the UK, changed her career and was there for him. She’s an ambitious woman but she did it. She wasn’t leaving him to the boarding school’s clutches. She was there, every weekend if he needed. He knew she was there. She gave her son the friendship and the worth of knowing his mother loves him. She wanted to give him the opportunity of attending a prestigious school, but she was there for him, through it.

Boarding school.

Who are these people raising your children? Do they love them?

Who are the friends?

Would you like your child to turn to his/her/their friends for comfort and constancy, or to you?

It’s a lie — that children have fun away from their parents for months on end. They may be happy to be away from trauma and chaos but underneath all that is a question: Why did you leave me? Why am I here?

Children aren’t meant to be away from you. They didn’t ask to be born. You chose them. So, choose to raise them. Sending them away to the arms of strangers is not parenting. It is the outsourcing of it.


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