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Hostility to parents who "send their kids away" to BS

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Replies to: Hostility to parents who "send their kids away" to BS

  • RanabonaRanabona 73 replies1 threads Junior Member
    We have spent a lot of money on private schooling for our children. I think it is so funny when women in my one group of friends actually say to me, "I don't know why you spend your money on private schools when we live in a perfectly good school district." Meanwhile, their houses are decorated to the hilt, they drive luxury cars, and our girls night discussions eventually get around to what super expensive vacations they are taking over spring break, summer, and/or Christmas. My house decorations could not begin to compare, I have never owned a luxury car, we rarely go on vacation, and I am the one looking like the slumpidink when we get together. Everyone has different priorities, and I have no desire to trade my decisions for how I "waste" my money with theirs.
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  • Charger78Charger78 707 replies4 threads Member
    Amen (amen, amen).
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  • MamaBugMamaBug 34 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Having used (in no particular order and with varying degrees of success) home schooling, public schools, private schools, out-of-district schools, grade skips for my children -- and now considering boarding schools / early entrance colleges -- I have found "school choice" to be the most explosive parenting issue to discuss with others. It makes people defensive and threatened in ways no other topic seems to. Well, other than the breast is best debate and co-sleeping.
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  • mountainhikermountainhiker 744 replies66 threads Member
    @ranabona -

    slumpidink - my new favorite word to describe my Marshall’s and TJ Maxx wardrobe!
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  • RanabonaRanabona 73 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I think I often find it is difficult to defend my decision to send my D to boarding school because, in doing so, people then believe I am judging their decision...the one I didn't choose. It definitely makes people defensive and threatened.

    @Mountainhiker - I should dump my friends and hang out with you!
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  • baseballmombaseballmom 1566 replies44 threads Senior Member
    the latest comment from a "friend" when I listed the far away colleges our current BS son is considering: "Oh, we're not that, ahhhh, kind of , ahhhh, parents. We like them, ahhh, close to home." This was followed by an awkward silence while I tried to think of a response. I couldn't so I just smiled and nodded. She recovered quickly and listed a bunch of the latest wonderful accomplishments of her child. More smiling and nodding by me...
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  • muf123muf123 765 replies25 threads Member
    Yup, I got the same eyebrow raising comments when my 15 yr. old announced that she would be attending BS in a different country. One parent asked if I was sending her to reform school. Another asked why the schools in the US weren't good enough for us. I realized our true friends were the ones who admired my daughter for seeking a unique high school experience. Anyone who makes passive aggressive comments and needs me to justify a family decision is not a supportive friend. I learned to smile and nod to all the others.
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  • stagemumstagemum 538 replies6 threads Member
    I related this on a thread last year, but wanted to repeat it: I grew up in a predominantly blue-collar city and, when my eldest sisters first went away to school, most people had only one notion of what it meant (years before Roe v. Wade, of course) when teenage girls were "sent away." My sisters were actually amused by the suggestion that they might be "wayward girls" (yes, the "home" in our area still used that expression into the 1960s), rather than preppies. My English teacher in junior high dismissively referred to "finishing school" when he heard I was headed for boarding school.
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  • mountainhikermountainhiker 744 replies66 threads Member
    Just got completely blindsided by a friend of 15+ years. In a Facebook conversation completely unrelated to boarding school (it was about kids away at camp, and missing them, without a single mention of BS), she out of the blue blasted me in a long diatribe for “sending your kids away to boarding school.” She loves her son, is not ready to let him go, plans to enjoy him for the next two years, and ended up with a discussion on “different parenting styles,” with the clear understanding that the decision to send kids to boarding school is a “poor” parenting style.

    Ouch. I expect some of this is stemming from the fact that she’s sending her eldest daughter off to college in the fall, and will miss her very much. Maybe she’s projecting her discomfort/fear onto me, who knows. But it still hurt, especially coming from someone I thought was a friend.

    I thought I remembered a discussion on this topic from a while back, and found this thread. Thanks to all for the support here - sometimes it does feel really lonely to be in a part of the country where boarding school is not known, not appreciated and most definitely is misunderstood.
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  • ParlabaneParlabane 575 replies21 threads Member
    It's surprising, and disappointing, to confront ignorance in a person you know well. On the macro level, we struggle with the fact that large swaths of our population are poorly exposed to people from different cultures, who make different decisions, and value things differently. These same poorly exposed population groups are often the most judgmental. It's toxic for the U.S.

    If I were in a part of the country where my child was only exposed to kids just like him or her and where 99% of the population moved in lockstep on academic and social issues, I would be so grateful for a top boarding school opportunity, if only to arrest ignorance before it becomes a habit.
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  • wcmom1958wcmom1958 343 replies8 threads Member
    Some friend, Mountainhiker. The most generous criticism I've rec'd from people here is "oh, you're from that part of the country and everybody does that there." People seem to take it personally when you decide to do something different. Given a choice of doing an honest assessment of why someone might choose differently, and just deciding they're wrong, most people do the latter to assuage their own sense of powerless.

    Now that we have one entering Senior year I am literally ducking when I see the parents of her peers. The grilling has escalated. The big question in local minds seems to be "will she fare better than our kid?" And their hopes are bathed in undisguised schadenfreude.

    It is hard, but no one in this house regrets it. It has been lonely and I am obviously more cynical, but BS has created friendships too. When one door closes... and all that.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5319 replies248 threads Senior Member
    If I were in a part of the country where my child was only exposed to kids just like him or her and where 99% of the population moved in lockstep on academic and social issues, I would be so grateful for a top boarding school opportunity, if only to arrest ignorance before it becomes a habit.

    @Parlabane: We live there. It’s a stifling place. We don’t know a single family who has even heard of much less considered BS. Not a single one. None of our child’s teachers or principal had ever been requested to fill out recommendations or forms for BS; they didn’t even know what they were looking at or who they were writing to. We don’t feel hostility here so much as total ignorance that leaves us out of every conversation. There is no curiosity either beyond the obligatory, “How’s DS doing? When will he be home from…where’s he at again?”

    DH and this board are all I have on this choice that is so consuming for our family. I am so grateful for all of you. I read you daily even if I don’t post often. Through your thoughtful positions and writing styles, I have a mental picture of each of you, and I count on you for advice and guidance. I am the one in the corner listening to your lively conversations, learning, admiring your experience, and feeling so blessed to be part of this well-spoken community. And, @Parlabane, thank you today for reminding me that a major reason my child is at BS to arrest ignorance before it becomes a habit. I appreciate you putting into words for me “what oft was thought but never so well expressed”.
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  • STLmom23STLmom23 33 replies4 threads Junior Member
    "I wouldn't send my teenage daughter to California. Not for a million dollars."

    I appreciated her candor; however, I don't think I asked the question.
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  • SevenDadSevenDad 4285 replies136 threads Senior Member
    In our school district, we have always been one of the families that is "different". Partially because we opted for private school when the kids were in fifth and second grade respectively. Our kids are both pretty bright, which I think is one reason we haven't gotten much grief from acquaintances (and never from people we consider friends) who mostly say things like "Yeah, I could see how your kids might have outgrown/aren't well served by the LPS."

    There are a handful other local families with kids at BS, but for the most part they are in a different (higher) tax bracket than we are. One myth about BS that we try hard to dispel to anyone who is curious is that it only open to the wealthy...we encourage all to explore and tell them it might surprise them who qualifies for aid.

    I second the diversity observations above...even our semi-commutable day school is more diverse (racially, and I think economically) than our LPS (local public school).
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  • tigerdadtigerdad 88 replies2 threads Junior Member
    This issue comes up so often on this message board, I feel it must be quite pervasive. We live in an area with no good public school option, particularly for middle and high schools. Thus, a sizeable minority apply to and go to boarding schools. That does not stop the comments, however. I am quite certain that it is in part jealousy, and in part a feeling that their may be something to the boarding school choice. But yes, at times the antipathy is palpable.
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  • SevenDadSevenDad 4285 replies136 threads Senior Member
    @tigerdad: I failed to include in my earlier post that we (very) occasionally feel another side of "the judgement"...that people think not that we're punishing our kids by "sending them away" but rather that we're a "snooty" or hyper-intellectual family or something because we have opted out of the public schools.
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  • tigerdadtigerdad 88 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I agree with that as well, and feel that there is likely a component of all of the above in the responses we receive. From some, I have been told, "I alwalys thought she was a good girl". From others, there is the response, "Why do they need to go away?... you did just fine". Some do assume that out children go to boarding schools because the public schools "aren't good enough for you". Other parents say that they could never send their children away... they love them too much. When I feel like becoming confrontational, I will say, "It isn't about me or what's best for me. It's about what's best for them". One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to leave my son at boarding school this past year. I'm still glad I did it, and he is now glad, as well.
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  • Charger78Charger78 707 replies4 threads Member
    Most (12) of our son's private-school eighth-grade classmates (18 total) opted for parochial or private high schools. A third are doing LPS. This is the poorest part of NJ and our school was founded to give one of the few alternatives to PS that exist in a 450 square-mile swath. In the end, the parochial and Christian schools outnumbered the private day/boarding by two to one. This was influenced quite a bit by location/driving time and by cost; our elementary/middle school still charges less than 12K and that is the high end of the comfort zone for the families that come to us. Only three applied for boarding; one to one school, one to two, and our son to three. All the BS applied to were less than two hours away. Not all that many talk to us about our son's boarding destination, but most comments have been congratulatory; maybe a couple implicitly questioned the value of such an investment. With boarding costs at these levels, there is most definitely an elephant in the room, referred to or not. The standard line I give to prospects is that financial aid is an uphill battle, but you might find it worth gunning for. I overwhelmingly feel that making the BS journey even thus far has been like a cross between buying a house and getting married.
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  • Momof7thgraderMomof7thgrader 312 replies6 threads Member
    Honestly, if one more person asks me "aren't you going to miss her?" I'm going to scream.

    I've also had several "I could never send my daughter away - I love her too much". After about 3 times I've stopped trying to explain that we are not "sending her away" and I now respond flippantly "Good thing we don't love DD that much" and roll my eyes.

    Last week at an 8th grade graduation party I had to sit through a lecture, in front of several other parents, about how I needed to understand that I was giving up 4 years of my child's life.
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  • STLmom23STLmom23 33 replies4 threads Junior Member
    "Won't you be worried about her?"

    (You forgot that gem, Momof7thgrader.)

    ; )
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