When the Duggars premiered on TLC in the early 2000's with their show 19 Kids And Counting, I reacted much like the rest of America. I wondered who they were. Why did they have so many kids? And how are they all so well behaved? They seem like the best parents on the planet! After almost a decade, their show came to an end; their children are growing up and moving on. In fact, the older Duggar children are married and beginning families of their own. Daughters Jill and Jessa have their own show called Counting On, chronicling their lives as wives and mothers.
It cannot be easy to live life in the spotlight. Especially when trying to live by certain morals and values that are not readily shared by the public. Their ultra conservative point of view is part of what attracts their fans, while others have an incredibly hard time relating to this family. There is not much of a middle road when it comes to how America feels about this family of former reality TV stars. Broadcasting their lives for the world to see does invite a certain amount of risk, as well as invitation to controversy.
Their good and wholesome reputation wasn't enough to protect this family from controversy, however. In recent years, severely damning evidence has come to light, including allegations of sexual molestation and physical abuse. Many other Duggar family secrets have been leaked as well. Many secrets mommy dearest Michelle would rather no one knew about.
15 Skimpy Clothes, Bikinis And Dating
Michelle has raised her daughters with high morals and the value of modesty. The girls of the family are not allowed to wear pants, and they must be covered from neck to knee at all times. They do this because they believe their bodies are for their husbands and it is better to not be a distraction or send the wrong idea to boys.
However, in high school Michelle was a completely different person it would seem. She was a popular cheerleader who liked to party with the jocks. She would often wear bikinis and other skimpy clothing while mowing the lawn. She was also said to have dated quite a bit. Jim Bob even admits that their physical relationship went further than it should have before marriage. For some reason, I think this is a secret Michelle wishes was never leaked to the public.
14 Birth Control
Michelle was only 17 years old when she married Jim Bob Duggar, who was 19. Being an incredibly young couple, they made the decision to wait a few years before starting a family and Michelle went on birth control. Michelle had gotten pregnant, even on the birth control pills, which unfortunately ended in miscarriage. It was then that they decided that birth control isn't what God wanted for them. They decided that it was up to God to decide how many children they would have.
When this drama bomb was dropped, it shocked many Duggar fans, and rightfully so. Fans took to social media to blast the couple's hypocrisy. Jim Bob and Michelle have both been quite open and honest about their history with miscarriage, and Michelle's guilt that she may have caused the pregnancy loss by her use of birth control. For this couple, birth control was a mistake that lead to clarity in what was important in their lives.
13 Sexual Depravity
In 2015 it was revealed that the oldest Duggar child, Josh, was accused of sexually molesting five girls, four of which were his sisters, the fifth being a babysitter. When his parents found out about it, they made him apologize, and sent him to a Christian camp that was founded and run by Bill Gothard, who was later accused of sexual misconduct, molestation or harassment, of over 30 women.
Not long after the molestation accusations came to light, another controversy hit headlines. Josh Duggar was found to have an Ashley Madison account, and had cheated on his wife multiple times. He made a public statement confessing that he was a sex addict, checked into rehab and disappeared from the public eye. In the two years since these dirty secrets have been made public, Josh and his wife Anna have reconciled and are expecting their fifth child. They are continuing to make their marriage work.
12 Vision Forum Ministries
The Duggars are long term fans and followers of Vision Forum Ministries. The church is a proponent of the Quiverfull movement, which is a lifestyle the Duggars take very seriously. This movement preaches strict gender roles in the family. Men lead and females are to be subservient, which means they often cannot get a job outside of the home or go to traditional college. Sexual morality and modesty is taught and enforced with girls from the beginning of their lives.
Imagine the shock when Vision Forum founder, and long term friend of Jim Bob and Michelle, Doug Phillips was outted for having a long term and sexually repugnant affair with his children's nanny! The nanny filed a lawsuit claiming that Phillips groomed her to become his sex slave, and promised that one day they would be married.
With as much as this family pushes modesty on their daughters, I wonder how much they teach their sons about a woman's right to bodily autonomy and that no matter what they wear or say, men cannot touch a female without her permission. Sexual morality is not just a female problem.
11 Brothers And Sisters Can't Play Hide And Seek
After their oldest son Josh molested his younger sisters, Jim Bob and Michelle changed the rules for the childhood game hide and seek for their children. They decided that brothers and sisters could not play hide and seek together; boys could play with boys and girls could play with girls, but not together.
They also placed locks on the dorm style rooms for the boys and girls. It is said they did this to prevent any future inappropriate temptations. Appropriate counseling for the sexual abuse victims wasn't included, and neither was education for Josh or the boys. Placing limits and rules on playtime between siblings can be a good thing, but under the assumption that their parents need to limit sexual misconduct is sad. The girls shouldn't be afraid of their brothers or keep them away. This is one sad situation the entire Duggar family wishes would just go away.
10 Courting Rules
Michelle and Jim Bob have strict rules for their children when it comes to dating and relationships. In fact, they don't date at all. They practice courtship, which they have described as dating with the purpose of finding their spouse. Jim Bob must give permission to any boy wanting to court his daughters as the first step. Any texting or emails must be cc'd to their parents, and phone calls are monitored as well. Anytime the courting couple leaves the house to do something, they must pay one of their siblings $5 to chaperone the "date." Holding hands or any physical contact outside of the side hug is a strict no-no. Once engaged, they can then hold hands with their fiance, but their first kiss or any full on front hugs must wait until they officially say "I do." I find the fact that Jim Bob is so involved in his daughters' sexual life to be creepy.
9 Michelle's Little Anger Problem
A few years ago, Michelle posted a video blog and admitted to the world that she hasn't always been the quiet voiced, calm and patient mother shown on their reality TV show. When her older children were younger, she lost her temper just like the rest of us. She claims she suffered from anger and anxiety issues, but God had shown her the error of her ways when she was reading to her children one day. She was reminded that she needed to love her children as God loves everyone. That was the moment she lowered her voice and whispered and left behind the yelling.
What I wonder is if it was around this time that she invented the Buddy System. This parenting plan of action paired an older child up with a younger child as soon as he or she was weaned from breast feeding, to help them through the day with things such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating, and chores. Essentially Michelle's older children were raising their younger brothers and sisters. That would sure take a load of stress off any mother. Especially one with 19 children!
8 Blanket Training
Most parents want their kids to listen, follow instructions and be respectful. The Duggars take those principals even further. They follow the teachings of Michael and Debi Perl, who are big time believers in "spare the rod, spoil the child" and teach blanket training. The premise is that the baby is placed on the blanket and anytime he moves, rolls, or crawls off the blanket he would be smacked with a flexible stick, ruler or in some other way. Eventually, the baby learns to stay on the blanket with no defiance.
It makes the parents' lives a bit easier when they know their baby isn't crawling off getting into all the fun things babies get into, and is staying on the blanket with his toys. But it is quite detrimental to the child's development to hinder movement such as rolling and crawling.
Speculation has already began about whether the older Duggar daughters will be blanket training their babies, and most are quite disgusted at the possibility.
7 Baby Holocaust
It is no secret that the Duggars are pro-life. In fact, in 2009 Michelle stood on the podium at a pro-life rally and compared abortions to a baby holocaust. Last I checked, no one was rounding up babies and leading them to slaughter. The comment was incredibly insensitive, and not well thought out. But that happens when a person is very passionate about an important topic such as abortion.
The Duggars are so passionate that Jim Bob and his oldest son Josh have both run for office to ensure their agenda was protected on the government level. At this pro-life rally, Michelle was quoted as saying they needed to vote in people who are pro-life and able to support their agenda.
It is very likely Michelle Duggar is proud of her pro-life stance and it isn't quite a secret she doesn't want us to know. However "baby holocaust?" Very insensitive.
6 No Beer
In 2009, Michelle and Jim Bob attended a local Alcoholic Beverage Control meeting to protest a gas station getting a license to sell beer in their little town. This meeting was only a couple of weeks after Michelle had an emergency c-section to deliver her youngest child, Josie, at only 25 weeks gestation. Little Josie was only 1lb 6oz at birth and was in the NICU fighting to survive while her parents protested this beer license.
It would seem the Duggars influence carries some weight. The license wasn't protested or contested at all at that point. Everything was lining up correctly and it looked very promising that this gas station would receive its beer license. That is until the Duggars showed up. Michelle even cried at this meeting! She was in a very sensitive place; her daughter was in the NICU, she was recovering from a major surgery, and experiencing postpartum hormones. I would have cried too! But I also wouldn't have been so concerned with what other adults were doing, and would be more concerned with my own home and healing. In the end, the license was not approved and the Duggars continue to live in their beer-free utopia.
5 Jana Duggar
Now 27 years old, Jana and her twin brother John-David were born nearly two years after the oldest Duggar child, Josh. It isn't a huge surprise that John-David is unattached at this age, but the rumors surrounding Jana and her courtships, or lack thereof, will not stop.
The internet has dubbed her "Cinderella Duggar" because she is always, and I mean always, home with her siblings. She is raising them, homeschooling them, and handling all the homemaking details that her parents do not have time or inclination for. Even during big family events such as weddings, Jana isn't spending time with her sisters helping them get ready. She's at home. Like usual.
Her family insists that Jana truly enjoys being at home and taking care of business there. And Jana claims that she isn't courting anybody because the right man just hasn't come along yet.
4 Baby Jubilee
In December of 2011, Michelle gave birth to her stillborn baby daughter, Jubilee Shalom. She was only 19 weeks along when her doctors could no longer find a heartbeat. It was a very tender time in Michelle's life and rightfully so. The family clung to each other and grieved with each other during the difficult time.
Many people took to the internet to criticize the unconventional family. Many blaming Michelle's age and birthing history. After all, Mama Duggar was 45 years old and this was her 20th child. Sometimes bad things happen, and there is no blame to be placed. However anyone feels about this family and their extreme views, no one should wish this loss on anyone.
The Duggar family had a memorial service shortly after Jubilee's delivery, where they displayed pictures taken of their little daughter and sister. The pictures were leaked online, which opened the family up to even more criticism.
3 Logistics Of A Large Family
The Duggars have revealed that they spend $3000 a month on groceries to feed their brood of children. On a typical day in their household, they go through three dozen eggs, five pounds of turkey bacon, 20 biscuits and 10 oranges. And that is just breakfast! They have a commercial kitchen in their home, along with a more traditional kitchen. They are prepared beyond being prepared!
They have four sets of washers and dryers and do about 40 loads of laundry a week! Michelle has perfected her recipe for homemade laundry soap, which saves a lot of money on detergent. Of course, the kids do the majority of the work. I'm a bit jealous of that, actually. I wish my kids would wash just one load, dry it, fold it nicely and put it away.
It takes a lot of planning, scheduling and teamwork for a family of this size to keep everything under control. Mass chaos is inevitable. I commend them for at last having the basics of everyday life down pat.
2 Training The Grandkids
In June, Michelle posted this picture of two of her grandchildren, Meredith and Spurgeon, being adorable and helping to clean. I have never met a kid who didn't love playing with mama or grandma's broom and pots and pans. It is just in kids' natures to want to help out and be a big kid?
However, Michelle's choice of caption really caught the attention to internet haters. She wrote, "Train them young! These little ones love to help!" The word "train" is apparently unacceptable to use when describing raising children. Many used the post to bring up their conern over the Duggar lifestyle, and how girls only are responsible for keeping up on chores. They once again brought up poor Jana raising her siblings. Some even discussed their concern over the use of pacifiers and bottles. Thankfully, most people were quick to defend Duggar over the cute and completely normal image of children playing.
1 Jim Bob As A Father In Law
Jim Bob has always been the ruler of his huge family. His wife gives in to his every whim and desire. His children fall in line and do as they are told. He has control even down to how his daughters wear their hair, and what clothes they are allowed to wear. Now that his older daughters are adults and married, his control is slipping. Which means their reputation is on the line.
Jinger had a unique courting period with her now husband Jeremy. They pushed the limits with their public affection, including cuddling on the couch. And now that they are married, Jinger is allowed to wear pants. The horror!
The bigger issue is Jessa's husband Ben Sewald. He was raised in a religion very similar to the Duggars' baptist beliefs, however they are just a smidge more liberal, supporting Black Lives Matter and their belief in predestination (the belief that salvation and your path in life is all predetermined). However, these differences are enough to make Jim Bob want to spit nails.
Sources: thehollywoodgossip.com yahoo.com dailymail.co.uk radaronline.com www.celebitchy.com www.usmagazine.com www.starpulse.com thinkprogress.org www.dailymail.co.uk people.com www.inquisitr.com starmagazine.com