Sending Your Child To The Hostel – Pros And Cons

6 min read

Written by Pradeep

Pradeep

If you are thinking about sending your child to the hostel, chances are that you are confused about its relevance and goodness in today’s world. This confusion will only be further aggravated by opinions and advice from all and sundry.

There are broadly four kinds of reactions to someone sending their children to one of the old, big boarding schools.
sending your child to hostel

There are no “best schools” but there is a school that is “best” for your child.

  • “Wow! It will be so much fun and exciting” (Thanks to Enid Blyton and Malory Towers or J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts, depending on the age group of the person!)
  • “Oh my God! What kind of parent are you?” (Thanks exclusively to Aamir Khan and Taare Zameen Par)
  • “Your child will become a drug addict by 5th standard.” (Thanks to half baked information and wild imagination)
  • “It’s a good decision. Boarding schools are known to churn out independent and well-rounded children. It has cons too. But it is your call .” (Thanks to common sense!)

Since this is about your child’s future, it is important to remain objective and make an educated decision factoring in all the pros and cons. This is what we hope to achieve with this write-up.

In This Article

What are the Advantages of Sending Your Child to a Boarding School?

Are you sending your child to the hostel? Let us first look at some of the most commonly agreed pros of boarding schools. Then, let us critically examine each of them when we talk about the disadvantages.

1. Independence and Self-Reliance

Most boarders exhibit a sense of independence that far exceeds their peers. The fact that they cannot run to “mummy and daddy” for everything truly help them learn to manage things alone. This is a quality they build for life.

2. Confidence

As a direct consequence of being independent, these kids develop a sense of confidence like no other. A good boarding school does not only focus on academics.

It exposes children to cooking, carpentry, social service, art, drama, music, trekking, mechanics, and so on. The more exposed they are, the more confident they will be, to face the world.

3. Discipline

“If you do not behave, I will send you to the hostel” was a warning many parents gave their kids till a generation back. While the threat itself is not healthy, the implied message – that a boarding school life will discipline a kid – is true.

4. Simple, Standardized Living

Everyone is equal in a hostel – whether you are the child of a popular movie star or an IT worker. Life is simple, in the sense that they are not spoiled for choices. Life is standardized, which means that everyone needs to follow the rules and eat the same food.

5. A Better Social Being

Kids from all walks of life come to a boarding school. When a child is forced to live among 100s of other kids from different backgrounds, it gives them exposure like no other.

Further, to survive, they need to interact, collaborate and befriend this diverse group, which makes them a better social being who understands, appreciates and adapt to different personalities.

6. Friends for Life

Almost all ex-boarders swear that the friends they made in dormitories are their friends for life. This network can come to help at any stage in one’s life.

Advantages of boarding school

Advantages of a Boarding School – How Relevant are They?

Now the most intriguing part of this dilemma is how relevant are all the advantages listed in the above section. Most of the “good” boarding schools were established pre-independence in hill stations imitating the British format, targeted at British children and Indian royal and affluent families.

Things have certainly evolved in these schools from that era, no doubt. However, the point is that the boarding school format was established in India to meet these unique climatic and educational demands of the British. There were no schools of the same caliber back then.

Today, the situation is different. There are great day schools available across the country, many having international standards. Most of these schools also impart confidence, self-reliance and make kids socialize.

So is boarding school worth it? It is a decision to be made exclusively by the parents. Your decision to put your child in a boarding school might be plenty – a family tradition, school’s brand name, status, peer pressure, or even something more troublesome like disciplining a troublesome child.

In such cases, a regular day school might not cut it for you. So if you are convinced with your reasons, then you can ignore the debate on the boarding school concept!

Disadvantages of Sending Your Child to a Boarding School

boy sleeping hostel bed

Apart from questioning the relevance of what has traditionally been considered as the pros of a boarding school, we also list here some of the most commonly cited cons:

1. Child’s Home-Sickness

While common, it is still debatable that if the advantages offered by a boarding school justify the pain the child feels.

2. Parent’s Child-Sickness

As important as children’s homesickness is parents missing their children and second-guessing their decision. It is all the more painful if you have a particularly emotional child.

3. Blending in Issues

Boarding life is not for everyone. While some adapt to it like a fish in a pond, many find it very difficult to blend in. You cannot remain shy and introverted and expect to sail through the years.

4. Adjustment Issues

Some kids feel detached from their family life after coming back from boarding school. They might not be able to connect to their parents’ way of thinking or even outright disapprove of them.

5. Boys-Only / Girls-Only Vs. Co-Ed

In today’s day and age, a child needs to learn to interact with both genders well. It is a bit old-school (literally) to put boys and girls in isolation!

6. Other Risks

There are other risks associated with boarding schools as well. Bullying is one of them. Some kids – especially the ones that find it difficult to blend in – are beaten up and treated badly by the “rowdies” in the school

What Should I Take Care of if I Send My Child to a Hostel?

All these aside, if you do decide to send your kid to a boarding school, here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind:

  • Explain to your child why he is being sent to a boarding school. He should not feel abandoned, now or at any time in the future.
  • Remember that the school cannot be the parent. You have to keep in touch with the teachers regularly and understand the progress of your child.
  • Always trust your child. If he complains about bullying, chances are he might be right. The school is likely to downplay the issue, but you need to let your child know that you are with him.
  • Pick up the right age to send your child – most experts peg it at nine years.
  • Always lookout for any signs of unhappiness. Your child might not open up to you in a fear of letting you down or because he partly blames you for the unhappiness. This makes it all the more important for you to keep your antennas up.

As we said before, this is an individual choice that you and your spouse need to make together, based on not just what you both want but also what is best for your child. All the best!

FAQ’s

1. Will my Child Hate me for Sending Them to a Hostel?

Initially they might. The separation can be hard. However, many children adjust easily.

2. Can Sending my Child to a Hostel Ruin my Relationship With Them?

It can be tough. Talk and make your child understand the reason behind your decision to send them. Keep in regular touch to reassure them.

3. Can Sending my Child to a Hostel Affect Their Behavior?

Yes, it definitely will. Many children take time to adjust. Until then, they can be quite rebellious.

4. Can I Send my Young Child to a Hostel?

It’s a personal choice. Different households have different needs. Communicate with your child and reassure them constantly.

Read Also: Homeschooling: Pros and Cons

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