Parents can expect to feel some degree of separation anxiety when their child is away at boarding school, especially in the beginning. Even if there are other siblings in the house, it is perfectly natural to miss the son or daughter that you have spent many years caring for. At some point, all parents have to learn to let go; fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that hard.
Seven Tips To Help You Cope When Your Child Is Away At Boarding School:
1. Keep Busy: Nothing will take your mind off your child’s absence better than keeping busy. It’s extremely hard for the human mind to focus on two things at once, so stay occupied. Do projects around the house, volunteer for an organization or start a hobby or a new exercise routine. Take advantage of the extra time you now have to do something for yourself or others.
2. Visit: Visit your child during Parent’s Weekend and any other special events where parents and family members are welcome. You and your son or daughter will especially appreciate and enjoy these times. Plus, you’ll definitely notice how much your child has grown and matured.
3. Schedule Communication: Just because your child doesn’t live close by doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch with him or her other or stay involved within his or her life. Try to communicate with your son or daughter on a regular basis, but not excessively. It is not wise to be a “helicopter” parent. You need to let go, and your child needs to learn independence. Consider a Sunday morning phone call and a bi-weekly letter or email.
If your child may forget about a scheduled phone call, don’t panic or feel rejected. As insensitive as it may be, it’s actually a good indication that he or she has adjusted well to boarding school life. Your son or daughter will feel supported by all of your communication efforts and know you are still there for them.
4. Stay Connected to the School: One of the best ways to feel connected to your child is to stay connected to the school. Visit the school’s Facebook page and/or YouTube channel at least once a week, and read the school’s newsletter. Staying informed about school events will make the school and your child seem closer to home.
If you wish to know how your son or daughter is doing at boarding school, feel free to contact the school counselor, the residence hall adviser or anyone else who can address your questions. Parental involvement – even at boarding school – is important to student success.
5. Join the Parent’s Organization: Many boarding schools have a parent’s organization, so be sure to join it. Not only are parents there to support each other, but they also work together to improve the quality of life for all the students. You are not alone, so reach out and make some new friends in the process.
6. Have Faith: As a parent, you instinctively want to protect your son or daughter and make sure he or she is safe and well. However, once you have researched and chosen the boarding school for him or her, remember to have faith in the school to teach and supervise your child. More importantly, have faith in your child’s ability to adapt and cope.
7. Do Not Feel Guilty: Guilt is a feeling that often derives from separation anxiety, but it is certainly not justified. Parents of boarding school students must not only be selfless enough to allow their child to leave home, but they must also be committed enough to invest in their child’s education. Most boarding schools not only teach college-level coursework, but they also teach students independence, maturity, and responsibility. In short, you are doing what is best for your child’s future. Remember that you are giving your son or daughter a serious lifetime advantage.
Though letting go is not easy, there is definitely an upside: You have already experienced the trauma, college will be a breeze for you and your child! Read a parent’s perspective on their boarding school experience: Words of Wisdom for the Reluctant Parent.
To learn more about the benefits of boarding school read:
Boarding School 101: What is a Boarding School?
The Benefits of Boarding School
How Military Boarding Schools Help Build Good Character
Boarding Schools, Not Just for Troubled Teens
Military Boarding School Can Help Good Boys with Bad Grades
Why International Students Should Attend an American Boarding School
Interested in learning more about Texas boarding schools? Visit these resources:
Boarding Schools in Texas: Why Boarding School
Boarding Schools in Texas: How to Choose the Right One
Texas Boarding School’s Missions
Five Good Reasons to Choose a Texas Boarding School
Boarding Schools in Texas: A Map
Marine Military Academy is an all boy military boarding school located in Harlingen, Texas.
Authors: Harold Compton & Andi Atkinson