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Why Boarding School May Actually Make Parents and Kids Closer (And Other Benefits)

For many parents, the idea of dropping your child off at boarding school tugs at the heartstrings. No parent has an easy time being away from their kids. However, if boarding school is something your family is considering, the pain of separation may be eased by considering the benefits. Here’s a look at some of the major pros of boarding school, according to experts.

An Education in Independence

Jonathan Ezell, Vice President of Randolph-Macon Academy, a co-ed boarding school founded by The United Methodist Church, says that boarding school’s life lessons of self-reliance, respect, and self-confidence, taught under the watchful eye of an established boarding school culture, are “priceless.” He says that young people actually learn to depend on themselves — a skill necessary for navigating the entirety of adulthood. In his opinion, starting to practice this early is a good thing. “It is much like the difference of being told what life is going to be like, and actually living life — on your own, depending on your own judgment — working out your own solutions every waking moment,” he says.

Nicholas Maldonado, the admissions and recruitment coordinator for Arthur Morgan School, echoes this sentiment. “Boarding schools help students build valorization and recognize their self worth. As they participate in a community in which they are seen as equals (as opposed to just the children being taken care of), they recognize what they can contribute and how they affect people around them. They can see the impact they make … For many students who don’t attend boarding school, they must wait until college to achieve this level of introspection and autonomy.”

Must Read: What to Look For in a Boarding School

Fringe Benefits

In addition to core life skills, students also enjoy lots of smaller perks. Alina Adams, author of Getting Into NYC High-School and a school admissions consultant, easily rattles them off. She points out that many boarding schools have:

* Sports facilities far superior to what city schools can provide

* Small classes and more choices in subject and electives

* Much better financial aid than many private day schools

Adams also makes the point that, when it needs to be, boarding school can be a safer place than home. “For some children,” she says, “[boarding school is] a chance to get out of a dangerous or otherwise harmful neighborhood or living situation.”

In any case, Adams says that boarding school gives students a chance to live independently, which makes them better prepared for college. “I often recommend boarding schools to the families I’m working with,” she says.

Maldonado concurs, saying that “Boarding skills also teach important life skills like household chores, doing one’s laundry, and work projects. They also teach interpersonal skills like getting along with roommates in living situations and working out conflict.”

Parents and Children May Actually Grow … Closer?

But what about all that time away from the family? Though counterintuitive, Ezell says the separation may actually strengthen families ties:

“Something of a paradox often manifests itself between parent and child while the student is away at boarding school: Children grow closer to their parents,” he says. “Why? Consider the daily friction of life eliminated — the chores, the homework battles, the daily stress and anxiety of living together. All of these points of friction are taken on by the boarding school adults. It allows for the parent to become a partner (not a friend), a guide (not a driver). Maturity between both parent and child grows until the bond of respect welds parent and child more closely than they can imagine.”

Potential Benefits of Boarding School
Potential Benefits of Boarding School Promotes self-reliance, independence, and responsibility
Potential Benefits of Boarding School Prepares students well for college life
Potential Benefits of Boarding School Helps students recognize self-worth
Potential Benefits of Boarding School Teaches important life/domestic skills
Potential Benefits of Boarding School For some children, it's a chance for a more stable, supportive living situation
Potential Benefits of Boarding School May actually add closeness to the relationship between parent and child
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Author: Ali Trachta

Ali is the former Content Writer/Editor at Niche. She's a content strategist and award-winning writer, as well as a former editor at LA Weekly and NEXTpittsburgh. As a mom of one who's lived and worked all across the country, she's glad to have once again found her niche in her hometown of Pittsburgh.