The Duggar family is famous for their extremely strict rules and guidelines for their children. With a family consisting of twenty children, it's safe to assume that parents Michelle and Jim Bob have to run a tight ship just to survive. But it actually has way less to do with the number of children, and more to do with their religion and morals.
The stars follow a lot of the Quiverfull principles, but both parents have denied that this is the sect they associate with. They're actually independent Baptists. They follow the Bible to the best of their abilities, and their rules are strict. Of course, with twenty kids, a few of them are bound to break the rules from time to time.
Some of the rules broken seem innocent enough to most modern families, but for the Duggars, it's no laughing matter. No one really knows what the punishment is for breaking the household rules, but we sure do know it can't be good. Even if it's just a big family meeting, that alone sounds like a nightmare.
The kids are expected to live by the word of God, and they don't practice dating. They practice "courting" with the sole purpose of marriage and procreation. And of course love! The Duggars are never pushed into marriages, though every single married child has ended up with the very first person they were courting, except for one. No hand holding, alone time with people of the opposite gender, no front hugs, no dancing. They live by a long list of "do-not's". Let's take a look at the top family rules that the Duggar children have broken.
15 Wearing Above The Knee Dresses
*Gasp!* Yes, The Duggar ladies have been caught wearing skirts and dresses that go above the knee on several occasions, which of course, is a big no-no in their household. The picture shown above is of Jinger and her husband Jeremy, on their way to play tennis together. While we all know Jinger seems to be the rebellious daughter of the family, fans were still shocked when this picture emerged. That skirt is definitely a few inches above the knee. We have a feeling Daddy Duggar might have a heart attack if he saw her walking around with bare shoulders and knees exposed.
Their mother, Michelle wrote in a blog post once,
"For us, we felt like we needed to be covered from our neck to below our knees mainly because God talks about the thigh being uncovered, and how that's nakedness and shame."
Still, it wasn't so much that they were strict rules that the children had to follow. It's more like the guidelines that the Duggars chose to follow.
Funnily enough, Jinger once wrote on the family blog saying, "Our parents have always taught us that it is important to be modest, so we have chosen to wear modest swimwear." If you ask me, the outfit she's wearing in the picture is still very modest, but compared to what the kids are used to wearing, it's definitely different.
14 Wearing Pants
Not only are the women expected to cover up and show some modesty, they're not allowed to wear pants. Well, obviously it still happens here and there, but they're not supposed to. The picture above shows Jinger Duggar. Even Jill wears pants on occasion.
Michelle once said, "As we studied as a family, we found we could come up with our idea of what we thought modesty was, but we really wanted to see what the scriptures said about it. Our interpretation was that from the neck down to the knee should be covered. By keeping those private areas covered, there's not any 'defrauding' going on. My kids are taught the definition of defrauding as stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled. We don't believe in defrauding others by the way we dress."
She went on to say that wearing dresses and skirts is her way of defining who she is as a woman, which you can imagine, in this day and age, has caused quite a ruckus. Many people claim that skirts and dresses are not inherently able to define someone's gender, and they feel the Duggars are stuck in the past. And while that's true, you can't deny that dresses and skirts are more typically worn by women, which is why they're typically associated with women.
Deuteronomy 22:5 reads “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abominations unto the LORD thy God.” Clearly, the Duggar family believes that God wants men and women to dress differently, which is why they enforce this rule.
13 Engaging In Premarital Relations
Back when Joy-Anna and Austin were still engaged, news that they may already be pregnant was circulating the internet.
A source reportedly told Radar Online,
"Despite this ‘courting’ nonsense, Joy-Anna and Austin have actually been [intimate] for a year!”
Apparently, they had a big pregnancy scare that forced Joy-Anna to come clean to her parents.
The source went on to say, "Of course, that alone is something the family has had to hide from the public... [When they realized she wasn't pregnant, it] was obviously a huge sigh of relief for everyone concerned, but it didn’t erase the horror for Jim Bob and Michelle that they had come closer than close to having another family scandal on their hands!"
So, who's to say, really. She didn't end up pregnant, and there's no solid proof. But the way Joy-Anna and Austin acted around each other in public doesn't help their case. They've been seen breaking rules before, from touching hands before their engagement, to giving hugs that break the Duggar's 5-second rule. The duo has definitely been under public scrutiny before, and we're sure Michelle and Jim weren't too happy about that. Thankfully, they're married now and all is well.
12 Having Private Phone Conversations
In case you didn't know, the Duggars are not allowed to have any private conversations or outings without chaperones. It doesn't necessarily have to be Mama Michelle or Dad Jim Bob. A sibling is permitted to accompany them on their "dates" to ensure things don't get too steamy. They're also not allowed to have any contact with the person they're courting without the parents in on it. All texts must go through the group chat with the parents, and they have to know about every aspect of the courtship.
Or, at least that's the way things are supposed to be. In the new edition of the kids' book, Growing Up Duggar, Jessa confesses that she and her now-husband Ben were not following the rules completely.
"The day Ben and I started courting, we began our tradition of calling each other on the phone every night. These were such special times. These calls were not chaperoned, They were private just between the two of us".
So what exactly did they talk about? It's pretty juicy. Hold on to your hats!
"We would talk about everything from how our day went, to what we had been learning from our Bible reading." Wow, that's simply scandalous, right? I'm sure if her parents found out they would be extremely disappointed.
11 Giving Full Frontal Hugs... To Men
Another strict rule the Duggars must follow while courting or being courted is that front hugs are completely off limits. Even while engaged, it's not allowed. The parents allow you to side-hug, but for no longer than 5 seconds. They don't want the act of feeling each other's fronts to make them think impure thoughts.
Jinger Duggar was caught front hugging in 2016, and the internet just about lost their minds. Imagine having parents so strict that you can't hug someone that your parents are setting you up with, and having everyone on the internet posting articles about it. I feel kind of bad for her. The main time Jinger got caught was when her sister, Jill, posted a picture of them hugging at the airport. Why, Jill, why?
Joy-Anna and Austin were caught front hugging as well, while they were already engaged. That caused quite a stir as well. Soon after, due to the number of articles written about it, the two spoke out against the issue. Austin said, "We’re humans and sometimes we don’t always abide perfectly by our rules. We try. That was a real hard try." Joy-Anna admitted that she didn't even think about the fact that cameramen were all around. They were so caught up in the moment that they broke the rule without thinking. Those heathens.
10 Breaking The Biggest Rule Of All
Josh has a history of letting his curiosity get the best of him, and he's done some truly awful things in the past. That's a sensitive subject that we won't bring up today.
But it seems he's still letting these urges control him, as I'm sure you've heard. Josh was caught stepping out on his wife through a website that hooks up married men with other women. It's a service that helps men be unfaithful. Yup, that exists, folks.
Millions of emails from the website Ashley Madison were leaked, and among the many gross men that use their service, was none other than the oldest Duggar son, Josh. He wrote an apology and admitted his wrong-doing on the family website.
"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever.
While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife. I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him".
Of course, his wife is completely devastated but has found ways to move forward. She puts her faith in God to get through this hard time. I suppose she doesn't have much of a choice since divorce is off-limits for them.
9 Getting Things Pierced
This past November Jill Duggar shocked fans everywhere by flaunting a nose ring. People first took notice when she uploaded a selfie to Instagram with her two kids.
Right around this time, her husband was under fire for transphobic tweets. In Touch Weekly speculates that Jill perhaps got a nose ring and started wearing pants more often to take some of the attention away from the controversy. They're under the assumption that she saw the attention it drew her sister, Jinger, and she wanted to do the same. Others felt like it was simply a statement, or her rebelling against her parents' strict rules.
Inquisitr said, "...viewers became convinced that Jill isn’t getting body piercings to show her distance from her family at all. Instead, the decoration could be taken from the culture of India, and intended to reduce pain in future pregnancies and childbirth."
It's interesting to say the least, and around that time she also got a henna tattoo, so it seems she was dipping her feet into ayurvedic medicine. If she's planning on having more children, that would be a shock as well, as she had such a difficult time with her last two deliveries.
8 She Was Dancing... And Her Parents Found Out
Derick posted a video to his Instagram back in October of a dance party he was at. Yes, it's yet another rule that the Duggars are supposed to follow. No no, not the party part. The dancing.
The Duggars are not supposed to dance.
They're probably not supposed to be at a party either, given the fact that they're not supposed to put themselves in promiscuous situations or places where they might take part in something unholy. Earlier the same week he uploaded a video of a group of people (both men and women) dancing and clapping their hands to Despacito. If you aren't familiar with that song, just know that it's pretty darn filthy.
To be fair, he's not one of the Duggar siblings. He's married to a Duggar. But nonetheless, he's supposed to abide by their family rules and hold himself to a higher standard. It kind of sounds a bit like hell on earth, doesn't it? You're grown, married, living on your own with your wife and kids, and you're still expected to abide by the rules put in place by your in-laws. Yeah, I can't say I wouldn't go to a few dance parties myself. I'm sure he follows most rules, but the no dancing thing, is just a bit far.
7 Touching Hands Before The Engagement
Joy-Anna and Austin have been caught by paparazzi, touching hands before their engagement. Oh no! Those sinners need to publicly apologize and ask God for forgiveness, immediately! I kid, but in all seriousness, it's hard not to crack jokes at their expense. I was raised with Christian values by some pretty old-school southern parents, and even my great grandparents would roll their eyes and brush off a little pre-engagement hand touching. The Duggars would make almost anyone proud.
They're modest, most of them don't engage in premarital acts, or even kiss before the big day. They understand and value the importance of keeping God present in their marriages and in their relationships with other family members. Come on Jim Bob, a little hand touching never hurt anyone.
The idea though, is that it could very well lead to other things, and that touching hands stirs up emotions that can not be satisfied.
It's heavily enforced that women should not evoke certain feelings in boys that are around them, not only because they aren't allowed to do anything about it, but because they're helping spread sinful thoughts.
For most modern couples though, touching someone's hand when you're dating (or, in this case, courting) them, it wouldn't really stir emotions of that nature. It only does that when it's forbidden, or when it's new. A couple that has been going steady for a long time, that knows each other well and has spent a significant amount of time together doesn't get hot and bothered over a little hand holding. It might give you butterflies in your stomach, and make you feel connected and loved, but it doesn't typically make people want to jump in bed with each other. For the Duggars, it's a totally different story, because of the rules that are enforced upon them.
6 Getting Busted For Kissing
Josiah and Lauren were caught by the paparazzi, kissing and holding hands when they thought no one was looking. Spicy stuff!
If they're not allowed to hold hands or give front hugs, one can only imagine the lecture they got when their parents found out they've been smooching!
Josiah was caught helping Lauren down by putting his hands under her armpits, which is far too close to her chest for his family's comfort. She was also spotted leaning her head against his shoulder while sitting on a bench. Those sneaky little rebels!
They then took their PDA to Lake Taupo to sit and enjoy the view. It was here that they paparazzi caught them smooching.
This is something the Duggars feel pretty strongly about. They like to reserve locking lips for the big wedding day. Obviously, they're not the only ones breaking rules, and to most people, it seems completely innocent and expected from a couple that has been dating for a little while. This is the norm for most people. But the Duggars are a strict bunch.
We're not sure what the repercussions for their little getaway was, but we can assume they at least got a strong talking to.
5 Taking An Unsupervised Vacation
No one is permitted to hang out with the person they're courting (or being courted by without a chaperone. Joseph broke this rule big time when he went out of the country with the girl he was courting, Kendra. They're married now so it seems no one is really worried about it, but I'm sure at the time it was a big deal. They went to Panama for a missionary trip, so while they were doing good things, they still weren't supposed to go alone.
It makes us wonder why Joseph got a free pass on this one. Do the Duggars not care as much about the boys breaking rules, or did they turn the other cheek on this one because they were going on a missionary trip? Perhaps they were too busy dealing with Josh Duggar's issues to even notice. It's certainly strange. Maybe because his girlfriends family would be around, they felt much more comfortable with the trip. They even posted a brief description on their family blog about the trip. They wrote,
"While there, they partnered with local missionaries, shared their faith, and helped build a church building."
It seems they really trusted them to make the right decisions while away, as we have no way of knowing how strict her family is. I guess we'll never really know.
4 Being Single & Ready To Mingle Online
The Duggar children aren't allowed on social media until they're engaged, and some even wait until they're officially married. Except, for some reason, Josiah. He created his social profiles while courting Marjorie, but when things fell apart, he continued to keep his profiles up. He actually tweets quite a bit, even to this day! No one knows why he's still doing this. Perhaps his family feels bad for the way things ended with the girl he was courting, or again, maybe because he's a boy, they're a bit more lax on the rules.
Of course, if you haven't already heard, Josiah is now engaged to Lauren Swanson, so technically he's no longer breaking the rules. But for the last few years, yeah, he's been going against the family rules.
Interestingly enough, Josiah's courtship with Marjorie was the only one in their family that hasn't ended in marriage. It's pretty strange. They broke up around the time the big Duggar scandal surface, and it's quite possible she didn't want anything to do with the complicated famous Duggar family. She's single, written two books, and is getting a college education. Good for her! It seems things worked out for everyone involved, and Josiah was off the hook for social media use in between ladies.
3 Taking Actions That Lead To Impure Thoughts
Fans were shocked when they saw Joy-Anna sitting on Austin's lap during an episode of the show. Okay, his crotch, rather. It's not "obscene" as many people claimed, (at least not in my eyes) but it's not classy either. It's certainly not something I'd ever do with anyone around, much less while being filmed. So I can see why fans lost it a little bit. The two were married already by this point, but it didn't seem to soften the blow.
One fan wrote on Facebook, “There’s a time and place for affection with your spouse. This isn’t it. I’m no prude but I'd be offended if I saw my daughter sitting on her husband this way. I’d tell her to find an appropriate chair, thank you very much."
Some people even took offense with the way Austin is stretched out on the Duggar's couch that way, while being filmed nonetheless. All in all, it was a controversial moment that could have been avoided had the two just kept to themselves and waited until the evening to get frisky. Surely they regret their decision now, after all of the feathers it has ruffled.
2 Taking Birth Control
How shocked would you be if I told you the Duggars don't use birth control? Probably not very.
Yes, birth control is a no-no in the Duggar family.
Mama Duggar, Michelle, has actually admitted to using it in the past, and it's not strictly for religious reasons. After she gave birth to their first son, Josh, she got on birth control. She got pregnant even while on the pill, and unfortunately suffered a miscarriage. They claimed their doctor speculated that she may have miscarried because she was on birth control when she got pregnant. Though most studies are inconclusive, they still remain adamant that it might not have happened otherwise.
Of course, we now know that Jinger is pregnant with her first child, but unlike any of her married siblings, she did not get pregnant within the first year of her marriage. Fans speculate that she was on birth control, and articles were being published about it pretty frequently. She never came out and said one way or the other, but we assume she was on some form of birth control, as she's young and didn't get pregnant for an entire year of marriage. Which, by the way, is pretty common in most families. But for the Duggars, it's unheard of.
1 Marrying People Who Don't Share Their Values
Jinger is known as the rebel of the family, so it's really no surprise that she married someone who doesn't exactly fit into the Duggar mold. Obviously, the parents approved of him, but he's not without fault. He actually has a tattoo, which you can see on his right arm above. It appears to simply be text, and he usually keeps it well hidden, though it's peeked out a few times on the set of Counting On. Fans think it may be a bible verse, though no one knows for sure. Honestly, until people started pointing it out, it's possible that Jinger's parents didn't even know about it.
He's also been arrested. After the news was made public by In Touch, Jeremy spoke out about the arrest, saying
“I was part of the college party scene and was living foolishly. I’m not perfect, but I sought out accountability and I now see great victory in my life.”
Good for Jeremy! It's never a good thing to go to jail, but most people can be understanding if it's a minor crime. We're not sure how the Duggar parents feel about it, but they were most likely unpleased. I'm sure "getting arrested" is somewhere in the fine print in their guidebook for life.