On the surface, boarding school seems like a positive and beneficial environment for children from all backgrounds. Boarding schools offer students a high-quality education, many opportunities to explore their interests and expand on their skills and the chance to develop maturity and independence from a young age. All of these qualities seem beneficial to students. The disadvantages of boarding school are not obvious to most, but they become more pronounced as boarding school students graduate and move into adulthood.
Lack of Parental Involvement
When children attend boarding school, their parents are not involved in their day-to-day lives. On the surface level, this often causes a distant relationship to develop between parents and their children. Parents know very little about their child’s friends, teachers, interests, likes or dislikes. At a deeper level, this means that parents have little or no opportunity to impart their family values onto their children. Parents are a child’s ultimate moral compass. They are responsible for teaching children the important aspects of their culture, religion and beliefs. Often times, parents who send their child to boarding school turn these important responsibilities over to teachers and staff members whom they do not know. This often results in children who have beliefs that are very different from their parents.
Limited Emotional Development
Children who live at home have many different opportunities for emotional development. Parents, siblings and friends spend a lot of time talking with children and learning about how they feel about their lives, their relationships and challenges that they face. Teachers at boarding school do their best to provide students with a supportive environment, but they simply do not have the time or resources to provide adequate emotional support to the hundreds of students that they teach. Many boarding school children often suffer from detachment and other emotional issues as they reach adulthood.
Lack of Downtime
Students at boarding school are immersed in the school environment around the clock, seven days a week. There is little, if any, time left for downtime. Downtime and relaxation are important for people of all ages, and especially adolescents. Children use their free time to develop friendships, explore their interests and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings. Students who attend boarding school often suffer in these areas because they lack sufficient time for self-reflection.
Adherence to a New Set of Rules
Children at boarding school spend hours and hours of time learning the rules of school. They know what to say, when to say it, what to do and when to do it. While this may seem beneficial to most kids, some children struggle with this stringent adherence to boarding school rules. School rules dictate every aspect of a student’s life. When they return home for school breaks, they are no longer required to adhere to school rules. Some students take their freedom too far and become involved in drugs, alcohol or other destructive behaviors. They simply do not know how to handle their freedom beyond the walls of boarding school.