One of the largest questions surrounding the Duggar clan isn’t just how many rolls of toilet paper they go through in a day or how raided Costco is after they’ve been shopping! Now that the eldest kids are getting married, curiosity about this family's lives is being extended into whether they will pass along their unusual upbringing to their own children. It also goes without saying they’re going to have kids right out of the gate because they’re Duggars.
It’s just what Duggars do. But the question surrounding the family, even back when we still lacked those last two youngest Duggars and watched a mere “17 and Counting”, was how voluntary this is for the children. Of course, that question is a little irrelevant when you consider this life and the pressure of such a gargantuan family is all they’ve ever known. It’s a complex issue that’s never been more relevant than now.
So how much of their parents' behavior is this veritable colony of children going to pass along? How strictly will they adhere to their parent’s ultra-ultra-orthodox interpretation of the good book? And most importantly, how many shows and franchises can TLC milk out of a family larger than many pre-school class sizes?
First, let's have a look at the 10 things the Duggar dads are doing the same as Jim Bob...
20 The High Baby Count
Nobody just wakes up with as many children as Michelle Duggar has. And if you do wake up and find yourself the mother of nineteen little ones, then you’re absolutely in a scary movie that I wouldn't hesitate to watch on opening night. Even though it takes a literal lifetime to pop out nineteen children, the second generation is already well on their way. At only thirty years old, Josh Duggar already has five children, which is certainly more kids than most! Jessa is three years younger and has two, which for now, is a meager amount for a Duggar. Only time will tell if anyone hits the double digits, but they’re on their way.
19 Marrying Young
The Duggars aren't teen spouses but they’re close. Almost all of the kids have married at the age of twenty. Doubting me? Josh is 30 and he got married a decade ago (yeah, we’ve had the Duggars that long). Jessa is now twenty-five and married back in 2014, Joy-Anna also married in her 20th year and while Josiah married at the ripe old age of 22, that was only after a failed romance (but we’ll get to that). Jana’s the outlier since she is unmarried and 26, but the rest are married off at an age where most people haven’t even gotten the hang of long-term mature relationships.
18 Not Taking The Wheel
That phrase can mean a lot of things; maybe a pop country song or a terrible technique for driving a car and in this case. Once upon a time, nineteen children ago, Jim-Bob (how is that his real name? Is he also one of nineteen children?) and Michelle had the audacity to use birth control. And the divine powers let them know it wasn’t cool that they were using their “own timetable for having children”.
That’s when they decided that it was not up to them to decide just how large their family would grow and when Michelle would finally hit menopause.
17 Making Time For Date Night
How do you stay together for a lifetime and have a dozen pregnancies, followed by thousands of grandchildren?
Well, for one thing, if the Bible tells you to, then you have to do it matter what, even at the cost of your own happiness (please read the sarcasm). The unholiness of divorce aside, Jim Bob and Michelle are outspoken about prioritizing date night. This usually involves a visit to Michelle’s favorite ice cream parlor. And how do they find a babysitter for nineteen children? That's a trick question given that they already gave birth to multiple babysitters. Yeah, think like a Duggar already.
16 Riding Bikes Without Helmets
The divine takes the wheel and the handlebars! Yeah, some would call it gross negligence to let a kid ride a bicycle without a helmet but the heads of the Duggar household and their barely adult children know better.
It’s not negligence if the holy spirit is on your side and it’s not a concussion.
A kid who fell on their head will be otherwise protected. While grandparents Jim Bob and Michelle have been accused of not taking safety seriously enough with their still young kids, so have their adult children been criticized for not making their kids wear helmets.
15 Bottle Debate
Too much or too little? While mom Michelle Duggar has been quoted as trying to wean babies at six months so that she could be on her way to conceiving again, the Internet got upset at Jessa when pictures of her 21-month-old Spurgeon surfaced with a bottle. Six months seems pretty young and nearly two years old seems like a lot but this could easily be misguided anger.
As it turns out, fans were actually upset by the extreme life the Duggars lead. The first warning sign of why this supposedly moral lifestyle is actually inferior is reason enough to jump on the criticism train.
14 They Home School
Homeschooling is an important decision that the Duggar adult children seem to have decided to mimic.
It's also a decision that makes the possibility of the women in the family have any semblance of a professional life totally impossible. Although that was probably already way off the table anyway.
So far, all of the Duggar off-shoot families seem to be intent on isolating their children from any non-practitioners of their extreme faith. Doesn’t public school go against their upbringing? Of course, other religious schools exist and their TLC paychecks must make private school an option while they still have less than a dozen kids, but for the Duggars, it’s homeschooling or nothing.
13 They're Considering Adoption
For many of us, adoption is a clear-cut: it’s a noble decision that involves navigating an overly complex system to spread love to others. It’s a little more complex with the Duggars. A few years back, Jessa seemed to be considering adoption. She told People, "Ben and I still have a deep desire to adopt, and it’s something we continue to look into. We’ve also talked about fostering to adopt." However, nothing ever came of this.
On the other hand, the head of the Duggar’s church, Bill Gothard, is known for his writings and teachings which are anti-adoption.
Seriously, who knew “anti-adoption” was even a phrase?
12 Having Babies Raise Babies
One of the first issues fans (and non-fans who just couldn’t stop watching) found with the Duggar’s system was that they seemed to make up for the wholly logical issue of a parent only being able to be in one place at one time with children raising other children.
According to In Touch Weekly, the Duggar children have covered up this bizarre relationship by saying, "they feel a compulsive need to be a caregiver and are often [used] by these compulsions. Although the Duggars have never spoken out negatively about their "buddy system," fans think the situation has affected Jana the most.”
While the eldest grandchild is only seven, this kind of behavior seems deeply rooted enough to be inherited.
11 They Don't Believe In Mental Health
No article about the Duggars is complete without refuting commonly accepted scientific knowledge. Want to know how to observe Mental Health Awareness Day? The Duggars say to skip it. The Duggars, including her (Jessa) husband Derick, don't believe in treating it.
"If you are depressed because of something wrong you have done, the best response is to fall on your face [...] and cry out [...] for mercy,”
explains In Touch Weekly. What’s crazy is this really isn’t the craziest belief they’ve spread- sure, if you believe that faith quite literally permeates every single aspect of your life, I suppose depression could be misinterpreted as some kind of divine notification requesting a check-in.
And here are 10 things that the Duggar dads do different from Jim Bob...
10 Some Kids Use Different Homeschooling Curriculums
All nineteen of the Duggars were home-schooled and the adult children are doing the same, despite not necessarily using the same curriculum. While the first generation of Duggars were raised on the ACE curriculum, daughter-in-law Anna Duggar prefers Math-U-See, which at least seems to have a secular name.
That being said, there’s significant concern online that even head mama Michelle is falling behind on her youngests' education. It's not necessarily because of any inherent flaws in the curriculum she has chosen, but because of her lack of professional experience in education that makes her unable to cater to learning disabilities her children may have.
9 They Adjusted The Alliteration
It’s become painfully obvious that Jim Bob and Michelle have successfully run out of J names. Honestly, that's fair.
I couldn't think of spelling Ginger with a J even if I were paid. Nineteen is a huge amount of names to alliterate, so it’s barely a surprise that eldest son Josh isn’t sticking with J names.
Josh and his wife Anna have also embraced alliterated names, but with M’s. Is this in honor of his mother, Michelle? Well, hopefully considering it’s pretty creepy that her children are all named in honor of their father. On that accidentally feminist note, meet Mackynzie, 7, Michael, 5, Marcus, 4, and Meredith, 2 and Mason.
8 Some Of Them Would Like To Move Closer To Civilization
Not all of the Duggars are content with isolation, but those complaints have been quickly stifled. Sister Jessa said of Jinger,
"She doesn't want to live three hours from civilization," and Jinger agreed, ”City please!”
"A city would be awesome,” she also added. Mom Michelle was quick to clear this up saying, “Jinger didn’t mean she wanted to move to New York City… She meant that she wants to live closer to a city. We’re talking right near a city, but not New York City. Jinger meant she wanted to live 15 minutes from a WalMart.”
Okay, sorry your children are old enough to say what they’re actually thinking but it’s very uncool to undermine them like that.
7 Or Like, Pursue A Career
Here’s a poorly kept secret the Duggar’s are harboring: some of the daughters actually might have ambitions beyond being baby-making machines and housemaids.
So if you were wondering, are those little girls totally content with being told how to live? The answer is exactly what you’d assume. Eldest sister Jana has a knack for home design and construction that many fans lament is underutilized because she’s made to raise her mother’s children. Jessa allegedly wanted to attend school to become a beautician before marrying and Jinger has a passion for photography that could maybe become a profession with enough dedication.
6 Or Just Attend College
While some of the Duggar children’s spouses have attended school to become ministers (of course), the family’s Facebook reported that “Joseph just completed a year at [...] College and is now back working with the Duggar family business doing construction… He now plans to acquire his real estate license and his CDL license.”
Do you think the daughters are attending college? Just kidding. Despite serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999-2002 it doesn’t seem like Jim Bob attended school after graduating high school. Look, he met Michelle at School and that was the whole point of education- to find a spouse.
5 Some Of The Sisters Even Wear Pants - And Even Shorts!
If you read that, you may have thought to yourself, "Well, yeah obviously! What’s the big deal about that? Doesn’t half the world wear jeans?"
That would make sense in today's day and age, just not in the Duggar world. Go back in time nearly thirty years and you’ll find an unmarried Michelle Rouark (soon to be Duggar) wearing cheerleader uniforms and living like a pretty average kid.
But here’s the thing about cheerleader uniforms, they very much defy the Duggar’s prescribed dress code, which involves extreme modesty and girls not wearing pants. Or even skirts that are above the knee. So for their daughters to rock jeans, let alone shorts (even just-an-inch above the knee cuts) is a big deal.
4 Jill's Husband Derrick Danced To A Pop Song
The Duggars have controlled the actions of their children, but you can’t always control your children’s spouse. That’s the thing about raising baby-making machines- you have to include a person who isn’t your own child in the equation.
So when Derick Dillard was recorded dancing to the Justin Bieber mega-hit “Despacito”, he actually broke two giant Duggar rules. First off, no dancing. Yup, “Foot Loose” rules apply with the Duggars. Dancing is considered largely unnecessary and a gateway to inappropriate thoughts. And secondly, Justin Bieber in no way meets the ultra-conservative values of the Duggars and the lyrics of that specific very much don’t meet those standards.
3 Josiah Courted A Girl He Didn't Marry
Yes, the majority of us would refer to that as dating and it wouldn’t be worthy of a mention, but the Duggars aren’t the majority of us. Before Josiah (now married- phew), the Duggars had a solid track record of marrying the first person they dated.
We're unsure how you can be sure you should marry someone when you’ve only dated one person, but it probably helps to have your parents telling you that you have to.
Even that pressure wasn’t enough to make Josiah’s relationship with Marjorie the mystery girl. Weirdly, Josiah probably couldn’t even turn to his older siblings for advice since… they were never broken up.
2 Joseph Traveled To Panama With A Girl - Alone!
If you come from a family with rules surrounding hugging members of the opposite gender, not wearing most types of clothing and only playing hide-and-seek with same-gender siblings, you can be sure that international travel with unmarried adult children is not okay.
That being said, Joseph got away with it when he flew off to Panama with Kendra… un-chaperoned. What? How? Why? Well, the two eventually got married but the exception was never explained. Not that any of us even needed an explanation until the Duggars came in with their insistence on a very specific kind of holy life.
1 Josiah Had A Social Media Account While Single
How old were you when you got your first account on social media? Was it in middle school, after an involved and very awkward conversation with your parents about stranger danger online? Or was it sometime in adulthood when the technology came out? Or was it on your wedding night?
It’s tradition that the Duggars don’t open any social media accounts until they’re married because… DM’s lead to bad things? Just kidding! No, the Duggar phrase uses modern lingo. After Josiah’s catastrophic failed romance (read: regular break up), his parents let him keep his social media account. Thankfully, he’s married now so at least he’s no longer tweeting in defiance.