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to think seven is too young for boarding school? long!

(53 Posts)
nowirehangers Sun 14-Sep-08 20:46:23

I honestly would love some people to tell me IABU and explain to me why going to boarding school at seven is not a bad thing because I am truly baffled by this
OK, so dh has an old friend from uni, very sweet guy if a bit screwed up married to a very high achieving wife: head girl, first from Oxford, kick-ass city career etc
She has two dds aged 3 and about four months. When she was pg with her dd1 she made a big deal about how she was going back to work full time and getting a full-time live-in nanny. Fair enough, I thought, as I work part time myself and have a nanny I am certainly not one to judge.
But the other day when chatting at a party about the pros and cons of bringing up dds in London, she said "Well, of course it won't be a problem for us because I'm sending dd1 to boarding school when she's seven"
I thought she was joking and laughed but she went on "No, you see, dh works very long hours and I don't fancy being at home alone in the evening with just me and the dds. I think she'll have much more fun at boarding school."
She went on to say she'd started boarding school at eight and loved it and then told me about a friend who'd just sent her ds to boarding school at seven because he found his younger siblings boring and he cried whenever his parents went out in the evening saying 'be with me'. They thought he'd be happier in an environment with his contemporaries.
Now am i getting this all wrong? It strikes me seven is WAY too young to be sent away from your parents. The wanting to be with friends all the time thing comes much later, I thought, and even when it does kids still need far more parental input than they think they do.
Or maybe not.
The whole thing seems even screwier in tnat she's always said she wants four dcs, despite not being maternal - her words - in the slightest. Her dh works these ludicrous hours as a lawyer partly because they want to send all four to boarding school whih seems like a catch 22 since she's blaming his long hours in part for this decision.
I just feel really sad for this sweet little girl. The mum added she'd really miss her but it would be in the child's best interests so she'd have to bite her lip and put up with it.
Please someone tell me that going to boarding school so young can be a positive thing and this woman is talking sense. Because right now I think she's a loony and it's really getting me down.

Mutt Sun 14-Sep-08 20:48:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Sun 14-Sep-08 20:50:06

I think she's loony, too. And 9/10 people I've met (or come across on MN) who went to boarding school say they would never send a child so young.

The parents who sent their child away because he wanted them sound like very strange people indeed, if the facts are as reported.

foofi Sun 14-Sep-08 20:50:37

I think some people are just programmed that way. DD1's friend has just gone off to boarding school - both her parents boarded as children and it's just normal to them. Don't be sad for the little girl - she'll probably get more attention there.

KVC Sun 14-Sep-08 20:51:07

Message withdrawn

zippitippitoes Sun 14-Sep-08 20:53:15

not sure why you are posting

but 7 is young to board

actually i think there are not many schools who now take children at seven for full boarding tho mpore have flexi boarding at prep schols

bobthebuddha Sun 14-Sep-08 20:54:31

I was packed off when I'd just turned 8 & would never in a million years do the same with my kids. But whether it works or not depends on the family & on the kids; I hated it, some people I know thrived on it. As Mutt says, their family, their choice, barmy as it sounds.

bobthebuddha Sun 14-Sep-08 20:56:53

...but no, I do not think you are being unreasonable smile

noonki Sun 14-Sep-08 20:58:14

I think sending your child to boarding school is totally awful, god they are young for such a short time

my dad was sent to one when he was six after his mum died, terrible for him sad

I know someone who only saw his parents once a year as they lived abroad... I think that is disgusting neglect

MarmMummy Sun 14-Sep-08 20:59:25

Well, I do think 7 is too young in most cases - but actually in my experience 8 is OK for some children. The two big considerations in my mind are the personality of the child and the rationale for the decision. The child needs to be quite open, happy to talk about problems when they arise (rather than be someone who bottles things up) and faily easy going in nature. The reasons should always be positive ones, and I think they need to have a very supportive homelife so there is no risk of them feeling they are being sent away. If they are going to send their child to board pre 13 (or 11 for an 11-18 school) then in many ways its better for them to start at the beginning when they are really looked after and when everyone is new to it. I would never suggest sending a child this young to board in a boarding and day school though - nothing worse than having friends go home at the end of the day, best to all be in same boat.

purpleduck Sun 14-Sep-08 21:04:40

I hate the idea of boarding school at any age, but I can see why some people do it if they are in forces etc.

PinkyDinkyDooToo Sun 14-Sep-08 21:06:40

DH went to Boarding school at 11. He loved it, he went because his parents worked abroad and there weren't good schools abroad. I don't think he would agree with 7 though. They are just babies at that age.

She probably will get more attention there though, and hopefully will have the personality where she thrives in that environment.

they are loons.
any age is too young for boarding school.

i honestly do not see the point in having children if you are going to send them away from home.

nell12 Sun 14-Sep-08 21:09:29

My ds started boarding aged 11 (when he went into yr 7) has a fab time, does all the things that I have neither the where-with-all or the energy to do etc etc etc


At 11 he was only just old enough emotionally to cope; 7 seems very young. Ds' school takes them from Year 5 (age 9/10) but even that seems young IMO

mytetherisending Sun 14-Sep-08 21:12:47

I can't understand sending a child so young? What reason did she want children for if she doesn't want to spend time with them and be fully involved with them?

Boarding school can be a positive thing and is more stable in certain circumstances. For example I have a friend who sent her daughter because she is a single parent in the Army and was having to go away for long periods on tours in Iraq/Afganistan. I know lots of forces children who board to avoid disruption to their education but not until secondary school age. IMHO 7 is very young. sad

fizzbuzz Sun 14-Sep-08 21:15:43

My ex-dp went to boarding school at 7. I don't think he has ever forgiven his parents. He has a very distant relationship with them.

He told me tails about going in for the first time clutching his teddy bear. It used to make me cry.

I personally could never part with my dc at 7, they are absolutely delightful in every way then. Ds at that's a different matter! grin

mytetherisending Sun 14-Sep-08 21:15:54

Boarding can be fantastic and the children have such diverse opportunities in sports/ arts/dance/equestrian etc but I think at 7 they are not self sufficient enough. Although most have small homely family type houses now it doesn't negate the need to have parents around.

Twiglett Sun 14-Sep-08 21:18:59

Boarding is for people who don't want to be parents. I judge. They are unworthy. And generally pretentious twats too

auntyspan Sun 14-Sep-08 21:34:49

My dad was sent to boarding school when he was 7 - but his family lived in India as his dad was in the forces. The alternative was being tutored at home on his own as his sisters were significantly younger than him.

My DH went to boarding school when he was 8 and wouldn't dream of sending our DC to boarding school regardless of age.

If this women is getting you down this badly you need to tell her rather than letting it affect you so negatively.

ChacunaSonGout Sun 14-Sep-08 21:39:50

we have friends whose children board from 11 ish

i judge blush

dp says its cultural - parents board children board they are brought up knowing it will happen so it is accepted

it feeld like shifting the parenting onto someone else - not right imo

HOWEVER i would have loved it butmy parents were shits

NorkyButNice Sun 14-Sep-08 21:41:51

I do think 7 is too young, but am interested why you are blaming it all on the mother and her high flying career? The father must also have some input so should be held equally responsible if they did decide to send their DD to board.

mytetherisending Sun 14-Sep-08 21:45:20

Twiglett I have to say that you are incredibly ignorant about situations where it may be necessary and infact in a childs best interest to board.
As I have said, with forces children their education can be seriously disrupted if they move schools every couple of years. Socially they loose friends every move and have to reintegrate. From this perspective it is more stable for children to board. Also, single parents of these children are not screened from going on tours for several months, who should look after the child then?

You need to open your eyes, its a difficult decision and all the parents I know who have sent children love them very much and it has been the childs suggestion because they know others who go and love it. angry I also know that they have all said to their dcs that if they don't like it after a term they can come home if they want to.

PixelHerder Sun 14-Sep-08 21:52:18

It's a risk. imo the younger they are, the bigger the risk - I know people who loved boarding school and also people who were on the brink of suicide there.

They might thrive on the experience, make wonderful friends, become captain of the hockey team and go on to a glittering career.

Or they might find it very difficult, be traumatised, bullied and suffer from having no one to spend evenings and weekends with except their tormentors and bullies.

Or they might fall somewhere between the two - but a parent will have little idea where they end up falling because they won't spend enough time with them to ever know.

Too big a risk imo.

wannaBe Sun 14-Sep-08 21:53:48

I went to boarding school when I was 5.

I can honestly say that at the time I had a great time. And I believe that boarding school made me the person I am today, and gave me the independence I have.


It was all to the detriment of my relationship with my parents.

And now that I have a ds of my own, and he is 5, and I pick him up from school every day and we come home and we talk about his day and I cook his tea and tuck him into bed, I feel very sad that I never got to experience that. That I never came out of school and went straight home.

And I would never, in a million years, even contemplate sending my own child to boarding school, ever.

wannaBe Sun 14-Sep-08 21:59:48

and why do you have two threads about this

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