Why I can never take my child to a boarding school

I have lived in a boarding school dormitory for seven years of my life, which not only made me dislike school but lost me that bond with my mother. I would never want the same for my child.

Don’t get me wrong, as a parent you have your reasons on why you would take your child to a boarding school. You probably have a job that requires you to take that step for your child. It could be you went to boarding school and you believe it made you who you are. Your reasons are valid and mine are as well.

I have to admit that boarding shaped me in many ways including putting me out of my comfort zone, and teaching me how to be independent. When I fell down and there was no one there to pick me up, I gradually learnt to do it on my own.

Boarding school also taught me to learn from my mistakes and their consequences, and I gained a lot of self-confidence that I don’t find it hard to communicate my feelings or air out my opinion.

However, all in all, boarding cost me that close bond with my mother because of the distance and as we grew apart each school term, it really hit me how school does not show the love and care that a parent gives nor will they instill the values you want in your child.

Most of my habits both good and bad were acquired in school from my caregivers and in such a scenario where its a strict boarding structure, I developed a few military like ways and this is a problem especially when trying to connect and interact freely with other people.

By sending a child to boarding school early, you risk your child’s self-esteem in case they are bullied by other students, who for some reason feel entitled to make others feel bad about themselves and their existence.

My first year in boarding school left me with some sore memories. I would like to call it trauma but it’s such a heavy word to use, right? I know, hear me out.

I remember the day my mom took me to this foreign place like it was yesterday. The details of this day haunts me to date.

Read also: Lessons from the trenches on surviving motherhood

I remember walking at this black gate and found a group of ‘women’ who didn’t seem friendly. We settled in and the first thing they did was to pour everything out of my well-arranged metallic box. Although this is beside the point, it stuck in my memory as what defined my first day at school. I remember it so clearly, the terror, anger and helplessness and the smell of my bathing soap which was Geisha Rosey, pink in color. I still hate this soap till date.

If you have been to a boarding school you know the first week of admission most of you sleep on your unwrapped mattress. Now imagine 100 students with new mattresses still wrapped in the plastic, at night tossing and turning. I can tell you I didn’t sleep at all for like a week. After a while I did adjust, or so I thought.

Home sickness now hit me. From missing my mother, my siblings whom I never thought I would miss, to my friends back at home. Most of all, I missed the food at home that I had thought was bad then until I joined boarding school and I tasted the food offered.

Boarding school in those days was a disciplinary place where you had to wake up at unearthly hours, wash your clothes, shower with cold water and if you’re late, you might miss breakfast or risk getting in trouble with the strict teacher on duty who walked with a very big cane and beat students if they erred.

This change to me was overwhelming. The first term was really difficult for me, my grades went down as well.

Boarding school has a very big impact on a child more than we would like to admit. I will pose for you a very controversial question: Why choose to have children that you are not interested in keeping them with you?

This is just my opinion and I have nothing against parents who send off their kids to a boarding institute. In fact, this is a topic I would never have with my parent because she believes she was doing what was best for me which I understand and I’m grateful. But still.

Immediately I was out of boarding school, which felt like prison, I swore that I would never want my child to go through what I did in boarding school. I won’t take my child to a boarding school unless it’s their choice.

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