Does boarding school scar children for life?

by 21stcenturymummy on February 12, 2010

An interesting article on DailyMail.co.uk yesterday, on ‘Whether boarding school scars children for life?’, talked about how people who did go to boarding school often feel that they were affected long-term. And speaking from experience, I think it definitely can have an adverse effect.

According to the article, around 90,000 children attend boarding school in the UK, and, for most, it remains a mark of privilege – boarding school fees cost between £16,000 and £25,000 a year.

Read the full article here (Source Dailymail.co.uk 11 Feb 2010)

Parents might think it will give their children a head start in life, but do they really think about the impact it could have on them emotionally? Especially at the age of seven, eight or even ten or eleven, it still so young and children are so reliant on their parents for emotional support. It’s easy to understand why a child can feel abandoned, which can then cause problems later in life.

It has made me think back to my days at boarding school. I went at the age of 10.  My mother, a single working mum, wanted me to get the best education possible and decided this would be the best way.  No one took into account how I would cope with it emotionally. I was very ‘unstreetwise’ and this, combined with the fact I was the youngest and one of the smallest in my year, meant I had really tough time. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself.

I remember getting a sickening feeling in my stomach on the way back to school and crying as my mother left. We were only allowed home one weekend either side of half term and one phone call a week, and the attitude was very much “tough, pull yourself together”.

There was a lot of bullying and bitching. Girls were stripped and given cold baths, eggs were put under mattresses of girls that were disliked, people were sent to Coventry (no one would talk to them), there were fights. I still have scars on my hands where I was scratched by one girl when I refused to hold her books.

The experience has made me very anti boarding schools and also all-girls schools. I look back at my school days in anger and I do think it affected my confidence and ability to build proper adult relationships. Whilst I don’t blame my mother, because I do understand her reasons for sending me to a boarding school, I could never imagine sending my daughter off to boarding school.

However, that said, my understanding is that boarding today in many schools is a very different experience. Children don’t just get left to get on with it, to see if they will sink or swim. A lot of schools work in partnership with families and the child’s welfare is the most important aspect. In some places children can board for a day, a week, or the odd weekend if they have school activities. It’s much more flexible and a much better way of doing things.

What do you think about this? Would you send your child to boarding school?

{ 62 comments }

Liz February 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I think it depends on the child to be honest. If you have a very confident child who’s been in the ‘private’ system since they were little then at 14-15 they aren’t going to have a problem boarding. It’s at the age where they need to spend all the hours under the sun studying anyway and it’s good pre-uni way of learning some independence especially as they can come home at the weekend – you can tell I’ve thought about this!

Little ones sub that age…personally I wouldn’t. My daughter is an over confident nearly 7 year old who’s been at private school since she was 2 and frankly I suspect she’ll be asking to board from about 10 onwards. But I think they need to be in a family environment at that young age.

However she’s not like me at all, I was a council estate, state school kid who didn’t go to Uni at 18 because I didn’t want to leave home, I wasn’t that confident – I went when I was 21! One of the many reasons she’s at her school is the confidence they are instilled with at such a young age – god knows how they do it but they do. So I suspect she’s going to be pissed at me when I say No 😉

21stcenturymum February 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Hi Liz, I think it also depends on the school. I think some children are better suited to some schools than others. I also think when children are older, more mature and can have a say in it, then it’s a bit different, rather than being forced into it at such a young age.

Liz February 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I think it depends on the child to be honest. If you have a very confident child who’s been in the ‘private’ system since they were little then at 14-15 they aren’t going to have a problem boarding. It’s at the age where they need to spend all the hours under the sun studying anyway and it’s good pre-uni way of learning some independence especially as they can come home at the weekend – you can tell I’ve thought about this!

Little ones sub that age…personally I wouldn’t. My daughter is an over confident nearly 7 year old who’s been at private school since she was 2 and frankly I suspect she’ll be asking to board from about 10 onwards. But I think they need to be in a family environment at that young age.

However she’s not like me at all, I was a council estate, state school kid who didn’t go to Uni at 18 because I didn’t want to leave home, I wasn’t that confident – I went when I was 21! One of the many reasons she’s at her school is the confidence they are instilled with at such a young age – god knows how they do it but they do. So I suspect she’s going to be pissed at me when I say No 😉

21stcenturymum February 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Hi Liz, I think it also depends on the school. I think some children are better suited to some schools than others. I also think when children are older, more mature and can have a say in it, then it’s a bit different, rather than being forced into it at such a young age.

jomiddleton February 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Hey!

On an unrelated subject, I just tagged you in a Shiny Happy Things meme: http://www.slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/shiny-happy-things-that-make-me-smile

Hope you don’t mind :-)
Jo x

21stcenturymum February 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

That’s a lovely post, of course I don’t mind!

jomiddleton February 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Hey!

On an unrelated subject, I just tagged you in a Shiny Happy Things meme: http://www.slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/shiny-happy-things-that-make-me-smile

Hope you don’t mind :-)
Jo x

21stcenturymum February 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

That’s a lovely post, of course I don’t mind!

ella February 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I had a horrible time at boarding school and would never send my children to one, even if schools are very different nowadays. However, I would consider sending them as a day pupil because the education is so good, but only if they were happy there. And if they asked to board, then I would be very happy to let them try it.

ella February 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I had a horrible time at boarding school and would never send my children to one, even if schools are very different nowadays. However, I would consider sending them as a day pupil because the education is so good, but only if they were happy there. And if they asked to board, then I would be very happy to let them try it.

21stcenturymum February 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Hi Ella, thanks for you comments. I think if my daughter asked to board when she was 14 or 15 then I would be happy for her to try it too.

deer baby February 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm

No I don’t think I would. Unless I was travelling abroad a lot or in the forces or something – which is most unlikely!

I used to read all the Enid Blyton Malory Towers book and think they must be such fun places to be but in reality I bet it’s very different and more like how you’ve portrayed it. My son would go if it was like Harry Potter! I went to an al girls school and some of the stuff you said sounded familiar. I couldn’t do it to my children.

21stcenturymum February 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

It wasn’t all bad. The school was very St. Trinian’s. We had midnight feasts, water fights and snuck out to meet boys. We also had these crazy parties called socials, where the girls would go to a nearby boys school and have a party. There was all sorts of naughtiness going on!

deer baby February 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm

No I don’t think I would. Unless I was travelling abroad a lot or in the forces or something – which is most unlikely!

I used to read all the Enid Blyton Malory Towers book and think they must be such fun places to be but in reality I bet it’s very different and more like how you’ve portrayed it. My son would go if it was like Harry Potter! I went to an al girls school and some of the stuff you said sounded familiar. I couldn’t do it to my children.

21stcenturymum February 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

It wasn’t all bad. The school was very St. Trinian’s. We had midnight feasts, water fights and snuck out to meet boys. We also had these crazy parties called socials, where the girls would go to a nearby boys school and have a party. There was all sorts of naughtiness going on!

A Modern Mother February 16, 2010 at 6:43 am

I wouldn’t. I think it’s too young to send them out, many of them uneqipped to deal. I’ve alwas been fascinated by this and would love to hear why people do it.

21stcenturymum February 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

I agree. All the comments so far have been from people that wouldn’t send their children to boarding school.

A Modern Mother February 16, 2010 at 6:43 am

I wouldn’t. I think it’s too young to send them out, many of them uneqipped to deal. I’ve alwas been fascinated by this and would love to hear why people do it.

Peggy @ Perfectly Happy Mum February 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

I wouldn’t send my children to boarding school so young. I would feel lost without them around and I couldn’t bear the idea that someone else is kissing them at night.

I can understand the reasons why some people have to though, for example if they are travelling a lot for work or if a child needs an extra support because he/she is uncontrollable.

However I don’t understand why to send them away when the parents could make themselves available even with the help of a nanny.

They leave home early enough and if at 15 one of them comes to me and says “this is the school I want to go to” because they are excellent in a certain discipline that my child is very keen on, then yes I will if I can, but there is no way they leave home at 10.

Parents are so important in the education and the emotional wellbeing of a child…

21stcenturymum February 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

Hi Peggy, it’s good you mention it from the parent’s point of view too. It’s not only the child that suffers. I wouldn’t want to be apart from my daughter when she is so young. Effectively someone else is bringing them up 24/7.

wendy May 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hi Peggy, Sorry to be so negative but don’t think for one moment that any one else is going to give your child a good night kiss, a pat on the head, a cuddle or a nice word, they don’t exist at boarding school unless things have changed which they may well heve in the last 40 years !!!

Vonnie February 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I went to boarding school for two years when I was 10 and I actually thrived in the environment, but it was a small school with excellent pastoral care and to be honest my home life was miserable. Boarding school was an escape and I really wish I’d been able to finish schooling there instead of moving back home.

I don’t foresee a time when I’d be able to afford to send my children to boarding school let alone private school, but to be honest I think it would break my heart!

Vonnie February 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I went to boarding school for two years when I was 10 and I actually thrived in the environment, but it was a small school with excellent pastoral care and to be honest my home life was miserable. Boarding school was an escape and I really wish I’d been able to finish schooling there instead of moving back home.

I don’t foresee a time when I’d be able to afford to send my children to boarding school let alone private school, but to be honest I think it would break my heart!

Jos February 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I’ll never be in a position to consider either private education or boarding, but that’s beside the point – I’m from Holland, where we have virtually no private or boarding schools (they only exist for travelling military/shipping personnel). I don’t see the point of having children if you’re just going to ship them off to boarding school. Surely the whole point of having them is to sit down at the dinner table at the end of each day, eat together, talk about everyone’s day, nurture and support each other as a family – or is that really naive of me? Surely if you have the money to afford boarding school you should be able to afford the domestic help to keep the house going and a private education if local state provision is poor? I know what I’d choose – it’ll be far too soon before they’re 18 and out of the house, working, not children anymore. I intend to treasure every moment. Even if I win the Lottery.

Jos February 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I’ll never be in a position to consider either private education or boarding, but that’s beside the point – I’m from Holland, where we have virtually no private or boarding schools (they only exist for travelling military/shipping personnel). I don’t see the point of having children if you’re just going to ship them off to boarding school. Surely the whole point of having them is to sit down at the dinner table at the end of each day, eat together, talk about everyone’s day, nurture and support each other as a family – or is that really naive of me? Surely if you have the money to afford boarding school you should be able to afford the domestic help to keep the house going and a private education if local state provision is poor? I know what I’d choose – it’ll be far too soon before they’re 18 and out of the house, working, not children anymore. I intend to treasure every moment. Even if I win the Lottery.

Michelle February 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm

My husband went to boarding school and its what made him–but he came from a poor East End background, received a swimming scholarship to a boarding school known for its excellent sports facilities and he went on to win gold medals at international meets. He found it tough being ‘the poor boy’ but it helped him develop other strengths in order to gain respect. He is now a hospital Dr who feels he can have a conversation with Chief Execs of multinational companies as easily as he can with a kid on a council estate. He feels it was the best thing for him.

However, he had four children before I came along and only one of those four would have coped with boarding school in his opinion. She is attractive, independent, strong willed and capable in sports as well as academia so she wouldnt get left behind anywhere. The others are all attractive and have strengths in certain areas, but none are as independent and strong willed as she is. Interesting to see who he feels would have coped and who wouldnt out of that demographic of four!

Michelle February 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm

My husband went to boarding school and its what made him–but he came from a poor East End background, received a swimming scholarship to a boarding school known for its excellent sports facilities and he went on to win gold medals at international meets. He found it tough being ‘the poor boy’ but it helped him develop other strengths in order to gain respect. He is now a hospital Dr who feels he can have a conversation with Chief Execs of multinational companies as easily as he can with a kid on a council estate. He feels it was the best thing for him.

However, he had four children before I came along and only one of those four would have coped with boarding school in his opinion. She is attractive, independent, strong willed and capable in sports as well as academia so she wouldnt get left behind anywhere. The others are all attractive and have strengths in certain areas, but none are as independent and strong willed as she is. Interesting to see who he feels would have coped and who wouldnt out of that demographic of four!

21stcenturymum February 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Hi Michelle, it’s great that it worked for your husband and I think there are are circumstances where boarding school may be a better option for the child, but not if they have a warm, family environment at home.

Babieswhobrunch February 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I can’t help thinking that boarding school is inhumane. An extension of shoving a baby in a nursery from four months. (thus speaks the mum who is about to do exactly that and who hates herself even though her son is 20 months )

21stcenturymum February 17, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I send my little one to nursery 2 days a week, it used to be 3, but I wanted to spend more time with her. With boarding school you’re away from them nights as well!

Babieswhobrunch February 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I can’t help thinking that boarding school is inhumane. An extension of shoving a baby in a nursery from four months. (thus speaks the mum who is about to do exactly that and who hates herself even though her son is 20 months )

21stcenturymum February 17, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I send my little one to nursery 2 days a week, it used to be 3, but I wanted to spend more time with her. With boarding school you’re away from them nights as well!

21stcenturymum February 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Thank you so much for everyone’s comments, it’s been really interesting to find out what people think x

21stcenturymum February 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Thank you so much for everyone’s comments, it’s been really interesting to find out what people think x

Babes about Town February 20, 2010 at 1:41 am

Interesting post. It’s a tough one. I went to boarding school at a very young age (7) and also had the added issue of being miles away from my parents in Africa.

I remember those stomach-dropping drives to school. That said, my first school experience was positive on the whole. It was a small school, strong community and family sense and I had older siblings there at first to help me through.

I think so much depends on the school choice, the environment at home (like someone mentioned, boarding can be an escape) and the personality of the child. I have some great memories from that time – mixed in with a sense of deprivation.

I do think boarding school has something to offer and helps you develop certain strengths – independence, for one. At the same time I would never send my kids away that young.

21stcenturymum February 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

Hi, thanks for your post. It’s nice to hear from someone who actually did go to boarding school at such a young age.

Babes about Town February 20, 2010 at 1:41 am

Interesting post. It’s a tough one. I went to boarding school at a very young age (7) and also had the added issue of being miles away from my parents in Africa.

I remember those stomach-dropping drives to school. That said, my first school experience was positive on the whole. It was a small school, strong community and family sense and I had older siblings there at first to help me through.

I think so much depends on the school choice, the environment at home (like someone mentioned, boarding can be an escape) and the personality of the child. I have some great memories from that time – mixed in with a sense of deprivation.

I do think boarding school has something to offer and helps you develop certain strengths – independence, for one. At the same time I would never send my kids away that young.

Sasha February 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I’ve just found the blog and read both your post and the comments with interest. My son went to boarding school 2 years ago at the age of 13; and has loved every minute of it.
As someone who was a day girl at a boarding school 30 years ago, I can safely say that boarding schools have changed immensely from those days.
His housemaster is charismatic, caring, and knows each and every boy, his foibles and his challenges. The overwhelming impression is that the majority of them have a fantastic time.
The other point I would make is that even with boarding, I see him every weekend, and all the holidays, so it is not as though I never see him. He is home approx 19 weeks of the year, and more if you count weekends.
Although I think you have to chose the school to match the child, and the same applies to day schools, I think that there is a lot to be said for boarding schools

DONNA September 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Very reassuring to read your comments, my 15 year old has been weekly boarding for 3 years and was joined by his younger brother age 11 this week, like yourself we know they have such fun in a warm enviroment and my sons love the boarding house, only 3 days into the week most people seem to think I have abandoned them, how I wish those passing judgement could see how happy my sons are and how they thrive, good luck with the quality time you spend with your family.

21stcenturymummy September 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to see a positive experience of boarding, unlike my own!

geekymummy March 3, 2010 at 5:34 am

hello came over from alphamummy.
Interesting post. I would not consider sending young kids to boarding school (though there are moments when it does soun appealling, how young can you ship them off?!). My husbands older brother was sent to board aged 9, since his parents were expats. My husband and his next brother were not, since by the time they reached that age the family was back in a country with a good education system. The older kid made good in the end but suffered from the experience and his parents sorely regret sending him.
On the other hand my husband boarded for sixth form and loved it. The fact that the school had a pub and that he lost his virginity there may have helped!

So I’s say a mature kid, say 15+, it could be a great experience, an early college, but littler ones, only if there is no alternative could i consider it.

geekymummy March 3, 2010 at 5:34 am

hello came over from alphamummy.
Interesting post. I would not consider sending young kids to boarding school (though there are moments when it does soun appealling, how young can you ship them off?!). My husbands older brother was sent to board aged 9, since his parents were expats. My husband and his next brother were not, since by the time they reached that age the family was back in a country with a good education system. The older kid made good in the end but suffered from the experience and his parents sorely regret sending him.
On the other hand my husband boarded for sixth form and loved it. The fact that the school had a pub and that he lost his virginity there may have helped!

So I’s say a mature kid, say 15+, it could be a great experience, an early college, but littler ones, only if there is no alternative could i consider it.

HelofaMess March 8, 2010 at 8:23 am

I went to Benenden School from age 11 – 18 and loved every minute of it. I suspect that we were at the front of the change from boarding schools being places of misery to somewhere that offered lots of love and amazing opportunities.

When I arrived the food was dire, the older girls could be cruel and there was little to do on weekends. My year said b*llocks to the elder girls and didn’t accept any bullying tactics. By the time I left the food was fantastic, there was a very strong family atmosphere with lots of support and weekend activities were brilliant… trips to Europe, to London to see plays, etc.

Also my relationship with my mother really flourished as she never had to be the bad guy any more.

I certainly don’t think boarding school is right for everyone and I wouldn’t send my child until 11. Nor would I send them to any old boarding school… I think it’s the right school for the right child regardless of boarding or not.

21stcenturymum March 9, 2010 at 10:57 am

Hi, thanks for your comment. I do think the whole concept of boarding has changed considerably in a lot of schools. It will be interesting to see what happens when my daughter gets to secondary school. If she wants to board, I certainly wouldn’t stop her, as long as there was flexibility involved.

I also think you’re absolutely right that it’s the right school for the right child.

Luschka March 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I watched something on TV some time ago about boarding and the little girl cried for ages about being left, and in the end she ‘accepted’ it and her mother (who didn’t work and ‘missed’ her children!!) was relieved that she seemed to be settling. My take ont hat is that the child has emotionally seperated from the parent, has felt the rejection and has accepte the pain of that and acceptance has come in the same way it does with death. That might sound dramatic, but I do think that’s how it works. I feel the same way about controlled crying. Right now is when she needs me more than she ever will. Why would I let her cry and feel abandoned? Interesting post. I think it’s a very interesting discussion.

21stcenturymum February 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

Hi Peggy, it’s good you mention it from the parent’s point of view too. It’s not only the child that suffers. I wouldn’t want to be apart from my daughter when she is so young. Effectively someone else is bringing them up 24/7.

Luschka March 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I watched something on TV some time ago about boarding and the little girl cried for ages about being left, and in the end she ‘accepted’ it and her mother (who didn’t work and ‘missed’ her children!!) was relieved that she seemed to be settling. My take ont hat is that the child has emotionally seperated from the parent, has felt the rejection and has accepte the pain of that and acceptance has come in the same way it does with death. That might sound dramatic, but I do think that’s how it works. I feel the same way about controlled crying. Right now is when she needs me more than she ever will. Why would I let her cry and feel abandoned? Interesting post. I think it’s a very interesting discussion.

Kate Adred September 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I was sent to boarding school in 1979 at the age of 8 until 16 as were my 3 sisters and brother when they tuned 8 and the majority of the time it was like a living hell with very brief ‘happy’ times inbetween. most of the time we didint see our parents for 2 months or so at a time even though they lived just 60 miles from the school! I now have 2 daughters of my own, they are both over the age of 8 and i would never even consider sending them to boarding school! even though they are alot different these days i think especially at such a young age Although it has made me and my siblings very tough and independent we have also been scarred for life and resent our parents for this!

wuzzle September 20, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I went to a prep school (boarded from age 11-13) and loved it. I was then sent to an all girls boarding school, which was very prestigious (supposedly) and i was supposed to love it. I was bullied and cried everytime i was sent back there, my heart would just drop to my stomach. I thought my parent’s must hate me to send me there….i everntually left only 2 terms later and joined a local grammar where i was very happy

Now many years later after promising myself i would never send my children to a boarding school i have sent my son who is 11. My husband is in the army and i didn’t want my son’s education being disturbed, however, since being there (only weeks so far) he has cried and told me how much he hates it, with bullying issues already. Now i don’t know what to do for the best and with a husband who has deployed i am left to the decision myself. and of course my heart is screaming take him out….but i know from experience what a great education he will receive if he stays…so my head says stay! it’s a very hard decision indeed!

21stcenturymummy September 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm

It must be very hard from you. The main issue is his confidence. A good education is important, but surely not at the expense of his confidence and happiness?

wuzzle September 20, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I went to a prep school (boarded from age 11-13) and loved it. I was then sent to an all girls boarding school, which was very prestigious (supposedly) and i was supposed to love it. I was bullied and cried everytime i was sent back there, my heart would just drop to my stomach. I thought my parent’s must hate me to send me there….i everntually left only 2 terms later and joined a local grammar where i was very happy

Now many years later after promising myself i would never send my children to a boarding school i have sent my son who is 11. My husband is in the army and i didn’t want my son’s education being disturbed, however, since being there (only weeks so far) he has cried and told me how much he hates it, with bullying issues already. Now i don’t know what to do for the best and with a husband who has deployed i am left to the decision myself. and of course my heart is screaming take him out….but i know from experience what a great education he will receive if he stays…so my head says stay! it’s a very hard decision indeed!

pippa September 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

I went to an all girls boarding school aged nine. It has made
me very independent, to the point that it is both my strength
and my weakness. I have been a single parent for nine years
and can’t imagine being any other way. Former boyfriends
used to say I was too independent. My son is at a private school having won a scholarship. He tried flexi boarding and
hated it. I had no hesitation in discontinuing that. He went
to two different activity courses in the summer holidays which
involved ‘boarding and loved it. My conclusion is that the
right boarding school at the right time for the right child can
work well other than that forget it ! As far as my son is
concerned , I am playing it by ear. If he wants to board at some point in his life then that is fine, if not that is fine.
If a child wants to go they will not feel abandoned.
I will make sure he is at a school where he can do either.
Being an only child he appreciates the company of other
children but he also loves the warmth and love and consistency of having his Mum there at the end of a day.

wuzzle April 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Hi I thought I would pop back, I had all but decided to pull him out (was literally in process of getting in car and driving down to get him) and had a phone call from him, he had decided it wasn’t so bad….Apparantly crying to mum and then chatting, playing & laughing with mates straight after is standard (was not happy to hear this!) I had spent a good many nights crying myself thinking i was ruining his childhood! Anyway so two terms in and he is still there, all has settled down, the pastoral care there is fab, so if i have ANY concerns they are straight on to it. The bullying was nipped in the bud asap, and was not just my son being cornered by this one boy, so he now literally has a dorm to himself as noone else wanted to share.

He joins in on games clubs & days out on the weekend so i never hear from him until monday, he is happy and my concerns are far outnumbered by the praise him & his friends now give the school and the after school activities.

Anyhow just thought i would pop back quickly to let you all know how it turned out :)

wendy May 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

When my son was 8 years old I thought to myself, “where was I at that age” and WHAM, it hit me, just before my 9th B.D. I was sent away to boarding school like all the girls and boys from our back ground. I am 50 now and have been in PRI therapy (past reality integration, a therapy that deals with old pain) the last year to find out why although I have a lot of nice friends and 3 or 4 very close friends, I feel such a distance from people some times, why I am often so dissapointed by people not reacting in the way I hope they will react, why I need attention, why I feel so hopeless sometimes, why I feel it hard to be loving and intimate with my partner even though we have a good relationship, why I for 90 % of the time feel so alone and how is it possible people see me as a clever, pretty, creative, loving, interesting e.t.c. person, I mostly don’t feel that, I can feel the highs of being told that I’m creative, thoughtful, or what ever but that fades quickly into feeling insecure and not so great, on the outside I appear to be confident and secure and I am to a certain extent, that was my upbringing, but inside………but of course we must not complain because theirs always people worse of than ourselves and these things are good for the character and don’t cry! My arse !!! I have always felt that it had to with being sent away so young and that is confirmed by the fact that if ever I talk about it I always have to cry. Yesterday I heard a disscusion on radio 4 Womens hour (had to cry again!) about scaring children for life by sending them away so young and it was such a relief to hear that other people feel the same as I do. I remember still been left behind at school for the first time. My Mother drove of with the window open, I put my hand through the window shouting “don’t go, don’t leave me” and my Mother wound the window up so I had to let go………..I understand why I was sent away, no “good” schools nearby, all my parents friends did it but 8 years old, how can people send a child of 6 – 12 or 13 away, I can imagine if the child is older and wants to go away that it’s fine and nowadays I think its even fun and I think it definately depends on the child. Boarding school has scared me for life and I am very angry about it but PRI definately helps. Also I am married to a Dutch man and live in Holland where people are horrified to hear that I was sent out of the family at 8 yrs old which makes you take a good look at the system. If you live in England and the system is considered normal one often doesn’t think further. I’m so glad I live here and was able to send my children to a school nearby. Why did I begin so late with therapy?, my brother died 1½ years ago aged 54, both of my parents are alive and I have seen very little emotion from them or my other brother, (they do all that secretly and inside and alone) they just say life goes on which of course it does. I thought to myself “if I’m not allowed to cry about this then when can I cry” and I thought I dont want to be like this any more. Sorry this is so long, but I have so much pain to get rid of still…………if your child does not want to go to boarding school, please don’t send them……………

Gerry July 20, 2011 at 7:17 am

Hi Wendy – thanks for your comments. I was sent to boarding school at the age of 13 because my parents lived abroad. I am now 49 and to this day I suffer exactly the thoughts and emotions you have described. I will look into the PRI therapy you mentioned. I would love to start feeling a part of something for the first time. All the best to you.

admin July 26, 2011 at 7:23 am

Sounds like you had a rough time. My mother and her brothers and sisters were sent to boarding school in England when their parents lived in Singapore. They only came home for school holidays. I understand they did this to give them a stable base, however I now live in Singapore and I would never send my daughters to boarding school in England, even if we moved around a lot.

twiggy January 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

wendy could you contact me would love some advice from you .twiggy_9@hotmail.co.uk

Holly March 15, 2012 at 1:11 am

Dad died when I was 6, my sisters were 4 and 8. Mom had to work 10 hours a day to keep the mortgae going. No one to care for 3 little kids. Off to a Catholic boarding school where we lived for 5 1/2 years. Talk about being lonely. I dreamt of my Dad for 14 years after his death. We missed our Mom terribly and yes we did cry a lot. We hung onto each other and even others as support. Long story short…My older sister became a paronoid Schitzophenic, my younger sister Narcisstic. She considered herself an orphan all these years. Me? Not sure…but I know how lonely I was. Yes, we lost dad at an early age but we also lost Mom by being sent off to a boarding school. I guess in a way you could call the three of us, Orphans. I did develop OCD. When we were home, I had to chk the doors 20 times a night to make sure they were locked. I had to check the stove 20 times to make sure it was off…..
I had to open and shut the refrigerator door 10 times before going to bed. Crazy things….Yes, they are all gone now but growing up they drove me crazy. No, I would never send one of my children to boarding school.

admin March 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

That’s a really sad story, I’m sure the memories are still buried inside you. I have so many bad memories of my time at boarding school and it has overshadowed the good times, I know there were some!

Kirsty April 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm

So why were you sent you at 10? I also went to boarding school but not until I was 14 – so it was a very different experience. I cannot imagine being physically hurt or living under the circumstances that you described? Almost sounds a little primitive. Was the education worth it? Really interesting post.

Kirsty

admin April 18, 2012 at 5:27 am

Hi, I was moved up a year early into secondary school. Sadly, the education wasn’t worth it. My mother thought she was doing the right thing, but my cousins all went to a good state school and good straight As!

admin April 18, 2012 at 5:28 am

Hi, I was moved up a year early into secondary school. Sadly, the education wasn’t worth it. My mother thought she was doing the right thing, but my cousins all went to a good state school and got straight As!

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