Dear Barb – All a-Board!

Dear Barb:

I moved away from home for university when I was 18 and now I’m in my final year. I have three younger siblings in high school and grade school. My father passed away a few years ago after a lengthy illness and my mother has raised us pretty well on her own. When I was home during the summer break, my mother told me she is sending my 16 year old sister to private boarding school. I really don’t think she should do this as I found it very difficult when I went away to university and I was two years older. My sister is very attached to her siblings and I think she would have a hard time adjusting to being away from home at such a young age. She will only be coming home for an occasional weekend. When I told my mother how I feel, she said this is a great opportunity for Shannon. We all inherited money from our grandfather, so the money is not an issue. I suggested mom send her to private day school, rather than boarding school. Basically my mom told me to mind my own business. My sister seems excited one minute and apprehensive the next, but she doesn’t show her apprehension to our mom. Maybe she doesn’t want to disappoint mom. When I try to talk to her about it, she closes up. I think this is a big mistake and my mom is going to regret it. Should I keep trying to change her mind or just let it be? Help, Melissa.

Hi Melissa:

Sending a child to boarding school requires a lot of serious thought and consideration, which hopefully your mother has done. Boarding schools offer residents continuous educational opportunities, as well as a variety of valuable experiences. Has anyone else in the family gone to boarding school, or is this something totally new for your family? You can find pros and cons to both experiences, but I think a lot of it depends on the personality of the child and her interactions within the family. For many children it is very traumatic to leave their home and family and for these children it’s not a good option. They may become homesick or possibly depressed. For others, it provides the stimulation they require to develop into a well-rounded person. I really believe you have to trust your mother on this and see how it turns out. You may be right and your sister may end up coming home after one semester. Keep the lines of communication open with her, as she may need someone to talk to when she becomes homesick?an inevitable part of going away to boarding school. As well, this transition will be difficult for your mother, as your sister is quite young to be leaving home. Things will turn out as they should.

Thanks for your question Melissa.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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