Should you send your teen to boarding school?

By: Contributors

Whether to send your teen to boarding school depends on the qualifications of the boarding school, what your home atmosphere is like, and whether your teen's friends and neighborhood exert a positive or negative influence. As a parent, one of your goals is to raise your teenager to become a healthy adult. Does it look like your teenager is heading in that direction? Is your teenager succeeding in school, more or less cooperative, and law-abiding? Or are you parenting a troubled teen, one who no longer listens to you or follows your rules; who won't cooperate with the professionals you pay to help, and who seems like he or she is just headed for problems?

Boarding schools, whether they're military boarding schools, reform schools, or therapeutic treatment institutions, offer your teenager the chance to start again without the negative school, neighborhood, or home environment that's holding him back from positive growth. A structured boarding school program can provide your teen with many more forms of therapy to resolve issues than a once-a-week appointment, as well as eliminate the drugs, alcohol, or family conflicts that could have contributed to your teen's misbehavior. A well-run therapeutic boarding school can get emotional and academic progress back on track, teach the 12-Step program, and ingrain social skills and communication skills. Military boarding schools, which stress sports, academic excellence, and following rules and schedules, could turn out to be the right decision for your teen. Other choices are wilderness programs, which focus on teamwork and outdoor therapy, and residential treatment centers, designed for teenagers with severe depression or substance abuse.


Try to visit the school, interview parents who sent their teen to the school, and ask about the success rate the school has, the student-to-staff ratio, the staff turnover rate, how the program is structured, and how parents can stay in contact with the school and the teen. A boarding school can be the right solution for certain problems - it's an option to consider.