Boarding schools can be extremely polarizing. Parents often fear and avoid them. The idea is unfortunately common that shipping your kid off to boarding school is giving up or abandoning them. It’s an admission of guilt and insufficiency - “I wasn’t good enough. I was a bad parent. I can’t handle my teen.” Many parents are so very afraid of this, and it prevents them from considering or even researching boarding schools. Others who dislike boarding schools argue that your child will be one of many, receive no individualized attention, or that the solution is only temporary.
The opposing side would make a stronger argument for boarding schools. So many troubled teens are struggling with depression that too often results in suicide. Others find themselves in juvenile corrective facilities for violence, drug use, or other criminal issues. Some drop out, run away, or wreak havoc in the lives of their families for years before being unleashed on society as ill-adjusted adults. Surely these teens would have been better off had they received the structured support and rehabilitation that comes with a boarding school, right? It is a compelling thought, especially if your life has been impacted by a troubled teen who never seemed to figure it out.
As with most polarizing issues, the wisdom falls somewhere in the middle. Both sides seem to view boarding schools as a last resort. Parents are afraid that sending their kid off is quitting, and advocates sometimes see it as a way to remove threats and prevent issues created by troubled teens. In reality, boarding schools should not be seen as a last resort by anyone
- Not Permanent. The first reason boarding schools aren’t a last resort is that they aren’t a lifetime prison or exile. Your teen will one day graduate and reenter society.
- Education & Recreation. Any good boarding school includes carefully developed curriculum and activities which will help troubled teens live a life that is normal and enriching. They will still get an education, plenty of exercise, new experiences, and relaxing fun time. It isn’t just a holding cell!
- Family Interaction. Good therapeutic boarding schools like Liahona will actively involve family members in the process, so parents don’t need to worry about abandoning their child.
- Rehabilitation. The goal of successful boarding schools is to send a healthy, happy, well-adjusted teen back into society. It’s never a “last resort” or “final solution” or “only choice left.” It’s a powerful option for parents who want to see their teen grow and improve, but have exhausted their existing resources.
Boarding schools are NOT a last resort. They aren’t giving up, quitting, or hiding your teen away like some kind of failure. Boarding schools are an excellent option for troubled teens who need a little more help and structure to overcome issues and reach their potential.