Is boarding school the right option for a distant child who has been abandoned by her mother?

by Anonymous
(New Zealand)

I am the eldest of three children. I live in New Zealand and my mum moved to the other side of the country with her partner. She left us to live with other relations. I'm 16 and live with my aunt, the second youngest whose 14, lives with our dad and the youngest, she's 12 and she lives with our grandmother. We are all not very close to our parents but however my sister (the youngest) is closest to me and is very distant to everyone else; where as my brother and I are still close to other members of the family.

As said in that video about child survival roles, I am the parentified child; my brother is the rebel child and my sister a mixture between the lost child and the mascot. She is always off in her own fantasy world and is never paying attention to her surroundings, but she also likes to be performer and make people laugh. She is not very independent and always relies on me to do things for her and to tell her what to do.

We are looking at sending her to boarding school to make her more independent and our grandmother is getting too old to look after her. However I do not want her to become even more distant from the family and view it as more abandonment.

Do you have any suggestions about what to do?

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Oct 21, 2011
You're Welcome!
by: Don

Keep in touch as you grow through this. There are a lot of people reading these posts - some are helped by your sharing and others pray for me for one! Others do what they do to support you and get what they need out of your sharing!

Pay it forward,

Oct 18, 2011
Thank you :)
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your advice.
I've been trying to understand the issues behind abandonment and neglect and this site has been extremely helpful. I will defidently look into professional help for my siblings and I. once again thank you for your time

Oct 16, 2011
by: Don Carter

I agree...this is an incredibly complicated issue that requires every bit of investigation possible. If your sister's needs were not met by anyone but you over the course of her life, then you are her "mother" not her sister. That's complicated for the BOTH of you because you had to give up your childhood needs to "be strong" and take care of the others. So you are just as wounded as her but you were able to "become more independent" like you did.

"Being Strong" may be easier in some ways, more than being vulnerable...but there will be all kinds of complications in intimate relationships later on for both of you, unless you can both find healing for the emotional injuries of abandonment AND a way to get your needs for connection & vulnerability met as well as those for separateness (independence) and ego-strength in a balanced way.

I think this REQUIRES professional help on the scene as you go through this decision-making process.

If that is not possible then all you can do is your best. Later on as adults there are always options for dealing with the matter how old you are. (Therapy, 12-step groups, etc)

May a flock of Angels guide and direct you in this!


Oct 12, 2011
by: Anonymous

You are her big sister and she will always depend on you.
I'm happy to hear you will all be talking to someone. There are affects from these situations that need to be processed that you are unaware of.
This is a great website to open the door of understanding it.
Look at life from your sisters shoes, that's a big shift for a young mind.
:) Wish you the best of luck and stick together.

Oct 12, 2011
answers to the questions
by: Anonymous

thank you for your comment :)
my aunt is considering it however she is struggling to afford just my upkeep.
she doesn't seem bi polar or depressed, and it doesn't run in the family. but yes we are looking at child psychologists for both her and I, this is how I got onto this web site.
we were thinking of sending her to boarding school when she's 13/14 yrs. and still have one more year with our grandmother, but we are also considering other options. And also other options to stop her from being so co-dependent on me.

Oct 11, 2011
a couple questions
by: Anonymous

Is there a possibility your aunt would take her in with you?
To be the youngest child and the only one to get sent to boarding school seems cold to me.
I am not judging by any means, because this is not an easy situation.
My sister- 3 yrs younger than me. After my parents divorced was in her own world as well.
Are their any disorders like bipolar, anxiety, or depression?
I only ask because my sister went over 3 decades before diagnosis of bi polar disorder.
But in those years, it is critical to get therapy to adjust. If its an option. I would suggest strongly.
12 is still young. I know its easy to forget, or wish they'd catch up to you but that is a huge shift in the family.
Kids want to please, and may not open up to what is really on their mind, their feelings, she may need guidance from an outside professional.
Don't brush this off, it is a critical step that wasn't provided for me or my sister and believe strongly to avoid heartache later in life.

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