5 Reasons Why I’m Against Boarding School

Boarding school your only option? Before jumping into the bandwagon, you need to reconsider the options you have before enrolling your child.  Make that crucial decision after this.

A boarding school is a facility that offers pupils with education within the premises. They have been in existence for centuries and have widespread to many countries, but their set of ideas differs. Some boarding schools allow pupils to board till the term ends; others give the privilege of leaving the school on weekends, while others permit day schooling pupils. The schools can specialize in accommodating a specific gender while others allow both genders in admission.

On this post, I’ll take you through my own experience when
my parents thought that the only option was to enroll me to a boarding school.

Before then, research findings by a top psychotherapist Joy Schaverien; the author of boarding school syndrome shows that boarding schools can seriously damage a student’s mental health.

Ivan Yates, a then minister for agriculture shared the same sentiments on how he had a mental breakdown and he traced the source of it being sent away to a preparatory school at the age of eight.

Here’s my story;

Being the first born and the only child aging seven years
then, I was in grade one and just from being a preschooler, you understand that
I was not yet too familiar with being away from my parents. My mother was to
leave the country within the shortest time possible because of work-related
issues. I couldn’t have stayed with my dad who was also working. The only
option they had left was to take me to my aunt my mother’s sister. They
finalized on the arrangements.

Did they consult me? Your guess is as right as mine. No, they didn’t! I was only a child who did abide to everything set before me. The day came, and off to my aunt, we went to another city. Separation from my parents began from this stage. As the nearest school was pretty far from my aunt’s place, they agreed on taking me to a boarding school.

I was heartbroken. I cried all I could and concluded that
the world was not fair enough. Being pulled away from where I was getting all
the attention I needed to an unfamiliar place was the worst decision ever made;
to a boarding school. I was in denial. It was terrible.

On this post, I’ll take you what I went through and what any
other child can undergo. Considering their vulnerability, you can draw your
conclusions wisely.


Rejection is the worst feeling anyone can go through. After analyzing my parents’ decision, denial stood out. How could they? Was that the only option? Why was I not consulted? So many questions lingered my mind, and up to date I still have the feeling that maybe, yes, perhaps if they asked me, things would have been a bit better.

Rejection hurts. From then, my brain was wired in such a way I looked things from a different angle. My view was, if my parents did this to me, what of the outside world? The rejection was written all over my face, and I felt so much connected to it though it hurts.

Lack of parental love

Parental love is crucial to a child’s well-being. Preschoolers who receive love and nurturing from that tender age, become adults with high self- esteem. There is also a massive growth in the part of the brain which aids in learning, memory, and response to stress. Without parental love, there will be no self- confidence that can come out from this kind of child.

A parent would always be there to counsel and to discipline but in a loving way. Parental love is very vital to every child in developmental stages. The feeling that your parents are always there to love and guide you in all areas of your life is an incredible feeling.

You know what? “Unhappiness in a child accumulates because he sees no end to the dark tunnel. The thirteen weeks of a term might just as well be thirteen years.” Graeme Greene

Defense mechanism

A defense mechanism is an unconscious psychological mechanism that lessens anxiety from undesirable or detrimental stimuli.

Imagine how heart-wrenching it is to go to an unfamiliar
place full of new people whom you don’t know. My first week in a boarding
school was the most robust path I traveled at that tender age. There was no one
to defend me while bullied. I had to craft ways on how to never miss a plate of

food or porridge; I learned the hard way how to protect my things from anyone
who thought that I was a minor with no say regarding whatever that concerns me.

In this kind of scenario, a child from a tender age learns
to be defensive in all areas. A defense mechanism is a tactic that you never
enter into a classroom to learn. It happens automatically.

In most cases, children who have undergone this experience
never let it go that fast. It still amazes me that even when the other party
isn’t a threat, you always find yourself ready for defense. It’s a feeling
wired deep down the brain cells that if any form of attack arises, you are
prepared to defend yourself.

A breaking of crucial bonds

Breaking a link between my parents and i is the worst
scenario so far. Can the relationship be redeemed? From my own experience, it
is hard to restore a bond broken between a parent and a child. Growing up in
the presence of your parents gives you the privilege to interact more deeply. Your
parents will always be the first people to open to.

You share with them almost everything; your joys, secrets, hurts, body developmental changes, and anything that pops out from your head. What happens when you move your child to a boarding school?

You guessed it right. This child will never open up to you no matter what. Trust was initially broken in the first place so there is no way this child can trust you with their deepest needs or worries. They will either bottle them up or find a more trustful friend of which you are not so sure the kind of advice they will give.

For example, what happens when your child reaches puberty? As a parent, you will be the most resourceful in this case.  In this kind of scenario, a child will be more confused wondering whom to open up to and trust with their worries.

We are living in dangerous times, and the outside world will always be resourceful to give help to the unlucky children who have no one to walk with hand by hand. Your valuable piece of advice in whichever way comes in handy in your child’s life. Let your child learn from you. Can you be their mirror?  A parent-child relationship is very crucial, and it’s every child’s wish to have a stable relationship with their parents.

Do you know that up to date I can’t open up to my mum? We lost the intimacy found between a parent and child. We have no connections whatsoever. The bond was tampered with at that tender age. At school, I bottled up my worries most of the times. You get the picture now?


I loathe this element with my all. When your child goes to a boarding school, their socialization is only limited to other pupils, teachers, and workers around the school. Do you know that this particular child can never strike a conversation? Sounds weird? It is a shocking truth.

It’s until recently that I gathered the courage to speak in a group of people. In line with my previous work, it involved talking to clients, and this has helped me. The flights are gone, and I’m amazed how I can address a gathering or start a conversation with others.

A child brought up in this kind of environment turns out to be shy, less confident, and feels that they are not the best fit. Imagine finding yourself in a situation where each is required to speak in a meeting/gathering, and your output is needed. It can be traumatic.

These children only find pleasure in their own company. They like locking themselves in their rooms doing what they love rather than mixing with others. I would hate the thought that my child can go through what I went through. It takes a lot of time to undo what has been already wired in a child’s mind and feeling inadequate is very demeaning.

I love how fast children interact and make friends. We would all love that to happen to each one of us.

Final thoughts

“Unless you have been to a boarding school when you are very young, it is absolutely impossible to appreciate the delights of living at home.” Roald Dahl

I’m not ruling out that boarding schools are not an option. They come in handy in cases where parents’ careers are at stake, or a child turns to be defiant. A boarding school can re-shape their behavior and turn out to be the best children in the society.

The ball is in your court to kick it to wherever it pleases you and where the outcome will be the best. Analyze the above points, weigh them down and come out with a firm decision on how you would love your child to be. It’s never easy to bring up a child to be the best and with good morals.

It takes sheer determination, and when the results are fulfilling, you smile knowing you’ve done your part and your children will never have a reason to blame you for anything.

Shiphillah Wanjiru

Walking with you, side by side in the parenthood journey. Ideas, tips, and strategies of how to manage our lives as moms regarding health and parenting.


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