Your Parents Aren’t Supposed to Be at Boarding School With You

| September 18, 2014

Where to start on this one?

Penelope Green's NYT piece, Leaving Home, but Not the Folks, in today's paper got my attention this morning.

It's a bit sensational and it looks at distinct minority of boarding school parents – those with desire and resources to live near their kid's boarding school. But, it still makes one wonder....

My wife and I are boarding school alumni. We have two kids. We've both been boarding school teachers and administrators. My wife currently teaches in a public school. Our kids attend public schools so we know our way through the public-private school continuum.
If, or when, either one of our kids goes off to boarding school, we're reasonably certain (never say never) that we won't be moving to, or nearby, their boarding school.
I – kind of – get the desire to be involved and connected but, not so much, that I understand wanting to be physically present during our kids' possible boarding school lives and growth.

It seems to me that overly connected parents hinder much of a boarding school student's potential growth. The blunt truth – you're not supposed to have your easily accessible parents to fall back on while away at boarding school. Sure, as a student, you've got the school's adults and structures to help guide and backstop you. But, you're supposed to do it yourself.

Boarding school can't do its job when mom, or dad, is around all the time.
Boarding school is a place where, as we say at our house, you 'learn to handle it'.
Boarding school should be about:

Independence.
Self Reliance.
Learning to negotiate situations.
Learning to play and share well with others.
Learning and internalizing healthy life-long habits- exercise, studying, planning, getting things done.
Learning to weigh the costs/benefits of choices and behaviors.
Learning one's limits and knowing how to place yourself in a position to be successful.
Building life-long relationships.
All in a safe environment in which students can fall-back on adults who aren't their parents.

Call me old-school. I know I called my parents too much from boarding school. But, I didn't want them there with me.

If your parents come to boarding school with you, do you bring them to reunions?