As its name suggests, 19 kids and Counting is a US television show that revolves around the lives of a couple; Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar and their 19 kids. It first aired on TV in September of 2008.
As a little bit of history, Jim and Michelle got married in 1984 after Michelle’s High School graduation. They paid, but never went to college. The couple welcomed their first baby in 1988, and Michelle got pregnant again after this despite being on birth control. She lost the baby, and it was at this point that she and her husband decided to forego contraceptives and have as many children as God wanted them to have.
Michelle has given birth a total of 17 times and has had two sets of twins. She’s had all her kids in a span of 21-and-a-half years, which means she’s been giving birth an average of every 15 months since she had her first child.
Funny enough, all their children’s first names begin with the letter 'J.' Their last-born of the group, Josie Brooklyn, was born on December 10, 2009, when Michelle was 43 years old. Michelle got pregnant in 2011 but was not able to carry the baby to term.
The couple is both realtors but Jim is also an investor. More notably, they are also both devoted Baptists and Jim and Michelle are keen on raising their children in the ways of the church. They believe in modesty and purity, so the couple controls the kind of shows their kids watch, their mode of dressing, and who and how they socialize. Be that as it may, all the children are homeschooled.
While the family sure is entertaining, the show was canceled in 2015 but a spin-off show was released the same year.
23 The Family Once Took Back Food They Had Donated
The Duggar family tried to live a modest life and this was evident; and because they were blessed with so much, they saw it fit to reach out to the less fortunate and give them what they did not need. One thing fans did not expect to hear was that the family once took back what they had donated.
According to Moms, the family visited a compassion center to donate food but when the production team discovered the center did not have many people, they filmed the show and after they were done, they let the children take the food back to their cars and leave.
22 Jim And Michelle Used To Monitor Their Children’s Text, Calls, And Emails
Most modern parents let their children have mobile phones as soon as they know how to use them, but this does not apply to the Duggar family. As much as Jim and Michelle let their kids use phones, they faithfully used to monitor their call, texts, and emails.
In the show, Jim and Michelle have openly admitted to listening to their children calls and checking their emails and text messages. They even snoop through their belongings. According to Moms, fans think the couple’s parenting style went too far especially because the children had not shown bad behavior prior to the snooping.
21 Josh Broke The Rules... Many Rules
When Josh the first born son was getting married, he wrote a loyalty song to his wife Anna. He said the song was a display of how he felt about her and promised to be loyal to her, but a few years later, Josh was involved in a rather embarrassing story.
As stated by TheTalko, a website known as Ashley Madison was hacked and the list of its users was released. Josh Duggar’s name was one of them. This did not sit well with the parents — especially since they had raised Josh well. Josh publicly apologized to his wife for his actions.
20 Jill And Husband Derick Never Actually Left For Missionary Work
Jill Duggar was a favorite to many fans but not for long. She got married to Derick and gave birth to their first son, Israel. A few months after giving birth, Jill and Derick announced that they were going to Central America for missionary work and like most missionaries do, they asked for donations.
A lot of fans donated, but something weird happened, the couple never went for the mission. Fans were outraged and asked for their donations back. It was later revealed that the couple was never cleared to be missionaries by their church because they did not complete the necessary classes as stated by TheTalko.
19 Jim And Michelle Were Apparently ‘Marriage Counselors’
It came as a surprise to viewers of the show when Jim and Michelle were seen giving their kids marital advice and yet they were not certified to do so. Yes, they had years of experience but they were not qualified or certified to give such advice.
When one of their daughters, Jill, and husband-to-be were almost getting married, Jill’s parents sat them down to give them advice, the two were incredibly uncomfortable and so were the viewers, as claimed by TheTalko. Michelle also revealed that they had done this with their older kids who were already married.
18 Derick Dillard Was Opinionated On Many Issues
The Duggar family is generally quiet on things happening around them and in the media; however, Derick Dillard, husband to Jill Duggar seems not to have gotten this memo. Derick loves using social media platforms to promote his religious and personal views, and it appears as if most Duggars agree with his views more often than not.
He has been involved in certain controversies like the time he criticized Jazz Jennings for changing her gender. He was of the strong opinion that God is the only one who decides the gender of a person. Jill has been silent on both matters and Derick has continued to air his opinions via social media.
17 Siblings Were Banned From Playing Hide-And-Seek With Each Other
After their eldest son Josh admitted to hurting his four sisters at a young age, Jim and Michelle changed the rules for their other kids to ensure that what had happened before could not occur again. They came to the decision that boys and girls were not allowed to play childhood games, like hide-and-seek, together.
Their house had one room for the boys and one for the girls, just like a dormitory, and locks were placed on each of them as stated by TheRichest. While this may seem ridiculous, the couple believed the separation was necessary because innocent games were what had enabled their first son’s behavior.
16 Using The Word 'Nike' To Warn Of Impending Danger
According to people, Jim and Michelle were the perfect examples of traditional parents who kept their children in line by being strict on good behavior and following Christian guidelines. As ridiculous as this may sound, the Duggar household children came to adopt the word "Nike" and used it to warn each other of immodestly dressed women.
When in public, the older women would shout the word "Nike" when they saw a woman dressed not too appropriately and the boys—including dad—would cover their eyes or look down at their shoes as they walked past the women. A lot of fans were left surprised by this backward way the family was using to protect their men.
15 They Practiced Blanket Training
Blanket training is an allocated time during the day where a toddler is required to remain on a blanket alone with toys for a specific period. If the baby crawls out, he or she is scolded. Eventually, the little one is supposed to learn to stay on the blanket with no defiance.
Some of the Duggar women have been known to practice this child-rearing philosophy to teach their kids to listen, follow instructions and have self-control. While the Duggars are strong believers of the mantra spare the rod, spoil the child, a lot of fans have disapproved this particular style of parenting.
14 Jim Did Not Always Approve Of Jinger Duggar’s Husband
Jim Duggar had a habit of vetting all his children’s potential spouses. If any of the children had to go out to meet a potential suitor, Jim, his wife or one of the elderly children had to accompany them on their dates. When Jinger introduced Jeremy Vuolo, it was clear Jim was not a big fan of his.
This is probably because he was a professional athlete who traveled the world to play rather than do missionary work like other Duggar sisters’ spouses. Eventually, Jeremy changed professions and became a pastor. However, after the two got married Jinger changed a lot and started dropping some of the Duggar rules like wearing pants and skirts above the knees. This probably does not sit right with Jim and Michelle.
13 There were Technically 20 Duggar Children...
Hold your horses; Michelle is not expecting her 20th child and there will not be a pregnancy announcement from the couple in the near future. Back in 2016, Jim and Michelle petitioned for temporary guardianship of their nephew Tyler Duggar, who was at that time, living with his ailing grandmother.
After a few months, the couple was granted permanent guardianship of him. This is because his mother, Rachel Hutchins, who was Michelle Duggar’s niece, was not able to meet Tyler’s basic needs and this was why his grandmother was taking care of him. However, Hutchins is allowed supervised visits with her son as stated by ET Online.
12 Their Homeschooling Program Was Influenced By Someone Whose Beliefs Didn't Align With The Duggars
Since the Duggar family was against certain practices in mainstream schools, the mother, Michelle decided to homeschool all her children according to a Christian-based curriculum. Later on, they started using a program called Advanced Training Institute (ATI), which was just as conservative as her curriculum.
As stated by InTouch Weekly, the ATI program faced a lot of criticism because it asked students to do everything that was expected of them without any questions and with a smile on their face. The ATI program was also founded by a man named Bill Gothard, who had to resign owing to something he did that was contrary to the Duggar family values.
11 Some Duggars Used To Lie On Camera
Some of the scenes aired on the show were prearranged and scripted. When Jinger started flipping cars on Counting On, the show faked the sale of an SUV to make Jinger Duggar appear more successful at her job, which she was not. Fans were happy about how hard she was working only to find out later that the scene was all staged.
The man who apparently bought the car was not a real buyer. He was invited to play the role of the ‘guy who wants to buy a car’ and even on the scene, the price and how the car ran was vaguely discussed, as reported by Radar Online.
10 The Zika Saga
After Josh Duggar’s situation blew up on the Internet, Jill Duggar, who is married to Derick, decided to move to Central America with their son Israel to join her husband who was doing missionary work. Their move occurred during the height of the Zika outbreak, which made fans discredit their parental skills.
To top it off, the couple got pregnant while in Central America putting the unborn baby at a huge risk of getting birth defects due to the Zika virus. According to SheKnows, the health ministry had even announced that women should hold off on having children for two years. The two later moved back home while she was still pregnant.
9 The Show’s Network Helped Build Their Home
When the show first aired, the couple Jim and Michelle and their 16 children were living in a tiny house. Jim arranged for the construction of their house, which began in 2000. As featured on one of the show’s special episodes, the family moved into their 7,000-square-foot dream house six years later, says people.
The show’s network and corporate sponsors helped in the construction and finishing. They even found workers who could donate their time and skills. Despite the large square footage, the house still has three bedrooms, one for the girls, one for the boys and one for the couple.
8 The Eldest Daughter Never Moved Away From Her Parents' Home
Fans of the show have noticed that Jana Duggar, the firstborn daughter, still lives in her parents’ house. This is because she is still without a husband, while all of her sisters who are of age and are married with children live in their own houses.
Jana was often seen on the show taking care of the house and the younger children. She is also one of the most liked siblings; she never complains about anything. As claimed by Direct Expose, many fans believe she is staying with a man in order to handle her family’s responsibilities, which she should leave to her parents.
7 Lots of Births Have Happened On Air
19 And Counting was a reality show; therefore, the births that took place while the show was on air were shown on TV. If there is one thing the Duggar families love, is having children. Michelle had her last three children while on the show but she is now past her childbearing days. Her children have now taken over the "role."
Firstborn Josh’s wife was the first to bear the Duggars grandchildren. According to TheThings, she never made it to the hospital, she felt the urge to use the bathroom and ended giving birth in the toilet instead. Their second and third children were born on the show as well. Jill and Derick followed suit with their first child just before the show got canceled.
6 Michelle Lost Her 20th Child
There is nothing more heartbreaking than for a mother and a family to lose a child. On the episode titled “A Duggar Loss,” the producers focused on Michelle and how she lost her 20th child. Some viewers were angry with the producers for filming the whole ordeal but they justified themselves by saying that the episode could help other moms going through the same thing.
Michelle who had previous complications with her 19th child was hopeful she could still bear another child. Days later, the family held a memorial service for the stillborn baby girl whom they had named Jubilee Shalom, which means celebration and peace.
5 Shaming Of Moms
Some of the moms on the show have been shamed publicly about their parenting styles and choices. The first one being Michelle, for leaving her older kids to take care of the younger ones. What fans need to realize is that raising and taking care of 19 children is a challenging task.
Some of the older children were also mothers. Jessa Duggar was shamed by fans for posting her son with un-brushed hair on IG. She was also scrutinized for allowing him to play a video game. Jill Duggar on the other hand, was shammed for posting a photo her son seated on the floor near an open electric outlet. She found herself in boiling water again after she revealed she had taken her baby to a Zika-affected area in 2016.
4 The Girls Had To Keep Long Hair
The Duggar girls have been known to have very long and beautiful hair; they do not put on weaves or wigs and prefer living a natural lifestyle. The girls take good care of their hair. The older girls normally help the younger ones to wash and comb their hair. The parents once stated on the show that girls should have long hair and the boys should have neat cuts.
According to Direct Expose, this all boils down to religion. As devoted Christians, the Duggars believe that a woman’s hair is her glory and in their household, as expected, religious beliefs come before everything. The girls also have shared hairstyle tutorial with their fans.
3 The Sisters Fought All The Time
For a family that is strict on Christianity and follows conservative values, it was surprising for viewers to see that Jana and Jessa fight all the time. According to ScreenRant, Jana and Jessa were always feuding on the show because Jessa liked to challenge her older sister’s authority.
Their feuding began from the time they were children, as reported in their book Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships. In the book, Jana discussed her difficult relationship with her sister and even recalled an incident where their mother refused to resolve and instead told her to be overly kind to her instead. Jessa has fought with Jill, as well.
2 Little Kids Never Run To Michelle For Comfort
It is only normal for little children to run to their mothers when they need to be comforted but in this show, the little ones never run to their mommy when something was wrong. It was evident that Michelle had left the younger kids to be taken care of by the older ones.
For example, when Jordyn got her head stuck on the stair rails, she immediately went to Jessa when she was freed. When Jackson got lost in the airport, he ran straight to Jana and when daddy Jim scared Jenni with a fake beard she cried for Jill and not her mother.
1 Michelle Struggled With Anger And Anxiety
One of Michelle Duggar’s well-known traits is her soft childlike, even baby-like voice. Her voice made her seem polite so it came as a surprise to fans when she admitted that she had struggled with anxiety and sometimes cannot control her anger.
As stated by Nicki Swift, she relieved in an interview that she has a bad temper and is easily angered just like some other people are. Most of the time, she takes out her frustrations on her children but she also prays about her condition. What further surprised fans was when she announced that she had resolved her anger issues by choosing to keep her voice extremely low and switch to her baby-like voice. She said she had gotten the idea from a wisdom booklet that was part of the ATI curriculum.
Sources: romper.com, huffingtonpost.com.au, directexpose.com, cbn.com, thethings.com, abcnews.go.com, thetalko.com, moms.com, people.com, wikipedia.org, eonline.com, etonline.com, screenrant.com, intouchweekly.com, radaronline.com, sheknows.com, nickiswift.com, inquisitr.com.