Nobody knows the ups and downs of growing up under the microscope better than the Duggar kids. The children were part of the hugely popular reality show 19 Kids and Counting for ten seasons on the TLC network. The family was known for their very conservative values, which kept kids from interacting with the opposite sex unsupervised or attending public schools. Today we’re going to expose their most heartbreaking secrets.
The Story Begins
Jim Bob Duggar married his bride, Michelle, when he was just 19 and she was only 17 years old. They had a wedding in 1984 in a local gymnasium with just a few guests and Michelle wearing her mother-in-law’s wedding dress.
She even made the cake herself! Years later, her children would have weddings with as many as 1,000 guests due to their celebrity status from reality TV. When this picture was taken, they never saw their current future coming.
The Family Begins
Early in their marriage, Michelle, unfortunately, suffered a miscarriage. Puzzlingly, the Duggars decided that somehow not practicing any type of family planning whatsoever would be the best response to the tragedy. They would need some planning.
Meanwhile, the couple adopted strict rules for themselves, from more conservative clothing to other religiously inspired guidelines. These more conservative values didn’t stop them from having a ton of kids.
A Popular Question
Many people are quite interested in the strange life of the Duggars, which is largely inspired by the Baptist denomination of Christianity. They have taken their religion to the extreme and have lived a life almost reminiscent of the Amish.
Their religious beliefs were very much central to the content of their show, 19 Kids and Counting. However, the biggest question they get is always about why they’ve had so many kids. You’ll be absolutely shocked by their answer.
Jim Bob and Michelle were once very different from how they are today. Michelle met Jim Bob for the first time when they were in high school. She was pretty and popular, having performed as part of the cheerleading squad.
Jim Bob was impressed right away and acts as if it was her faith, not her looks, that appealed to him. But come on, we all know that no teen is immune to the appeal of the cheerleading skirt. I’m sure that his testosterone went wild when he’d see that Bible.
Although Jim Bob and Michelle had always been faithful followers of the Christian religion, they started to take their new approach toward having children by the dozen after Michelle’s miscarriage. They would do the unthinkable.
According to the Duggars, Michelle was on the birth control pill at the time and shouldn’t have even been pregnant in the first place, so they decided to forego birth control in the future. This would work in their favor.
Although Michelle has always believed in God, she wasn’t always as strict about her personal behavior as she is now. She used to be a cheerleader and cheerleaders aren’t especially known for their modesty and strict religious ways.
As a teen, she was more your typical young girl who enjoyed dressing in bikinis and being on the cheerleading squad, which is a far cry from the Michelle that we came to know on TV. What happened that caused this big change?
Mother And Teacher
Both Duggars have had their hands full raising such a large family. While Jim Bob has the hefty responsibility of making enough money to support their huge brood, Michelle has to manage a large household mostly by herself, although the older siblings help.
Furthermore, she has taught all of the kids at home, since they opted for homeschooling to keep their kids from being influenced by mainstream values. This is something that definitely didn’t work to these girls’ advantage.
The Duggar kids grew up with certain guidelines for how they wore their hair, dressed, and acted. But the rules went beyond such basic things. In fact, the way the kids played was also monitored by their parents. They always had eyes on them.
You wouldn’t find the Duggars playing “house,” that’s for sure. And boys and girls weren’t supposed to play hide and seek together, either. The rules started to make sense after the behavior of their son came to light, but still seemed odd.
Michelle Stepped Up
Whether you agree or not with Michelle’s decision not to let her children attend public school, you have to admire her dedication. She had a vision of how her children would be and she took it to the absolute extreme. They would be just as she wanted them to be.
Clearly, she and Jim Bob would not be able to afford private schooling for all of their children, so she would have to handle their education. Through her hard work, all of the kids would eventually earn GEDs and some would also go to college.
She Remembers Them All
With so many children, you might think that it would be difficult for the Duggars to remember specifically about when each one was born. You’d assume that they’d also have trouble remember certain names and faces.
Michelle tells a different story, though, even highlighting how special her home delivery of her sixth child, Jinger was to her. Sure, family life may not always be perfect, but Jim Bob and Michelle seem to have great memories of the kids.
Do As We Do
Many have been critical of the way that the Duggars have seemingly sheltered their children from the world. No schooling, hardly any outside friends, blurred bonds between brothers and sisters and so much more. That said, it doesn’t end right there.
One of the ways that the Duggars have done this is through strict rules for their children when dating, which they say must be done “with a purpose.” They want their kids to date with an eye toward marriage, not just for fun. Talk about pressure.
Strict Dating Rules
Some of the dating rules that the Duggars instituted were pretty extreme. Many of us have heard about how many people prefer to remain virgins until marriage, but the Duggars didn’t want their kids to even kiss anyone until their wedding days!
They weren’t supposed to engage in touch until they were engaged, even. However, some of the kids still rebelled. Naturally, one wants to have some idea of how their partner is before they jump into a world a marriage. This is no doubt very extreme.
Watching Every Move
One particularly extreme part of how Jim Bob and Michelle parented their children is that they required constant chaperoning for any face-to-face interactions. If you land a date with one of these girls, you’ll need to be prepared to face a parent as well.
In fact, they weren’t even allowed to chat with their love interests without supervision. Ben Seewald once asked for Jessa to “give him a ring,” and Jim Bob replied, “No ring yet.” Creepy! Talk about a complete lack of freedom. This isn’t good.
In the Duggar house, big brother is always watching. Many kids see their first cell phone as an opportunity to escape constant parental micromanagement, but not in the Duggar home! Things aren’t going to be that easy for the kids.
Kids only get their drivers’ licenses in the Duggar home when they start driving by themselves, and even then they must have an app installed to block many activities. There is a world of freedom that these poor kids will never experience.
Amy Duggar’s Debut
Amy Duggar livened up the show 19 Kids and Counting quite a bit, but she only ended up being a guest because she was visiting the family’s grandmother when the production team was around. Things took a great big random turn for the show’s viewers.
As a far less religious cousin to the family, she was asked to chaperone Anna and Josh Duggar, but she admitted she probably wasn’t the best choice since she doesn’t agree with the need for it. This was made with a lot of outrage.
Unfair For The Girls
Not everyone minded that the Duggars took a conservative approach to parenting. What did rub people the wrong way, however, was how the boys and girls were treated differently. The girls definitely had less freedom than the boys.
For instance, while Jim Bob had to personally approve every boy who proposed to a Duggar girl after having them answer a bunch of questions, the Duggar boys were free to choose whoever they wanted for a spouse. That’s totally unfair.
A Bit Hypocritical
Jim Bob and Michelle have admitted that they did not date one another in accordance with the rules they’ve set for their children. Michelle in particular said she is embarrassed by how she acted as a teen, even saying she (gasp!) mowed the lawn in a bikini at times.
That said, the Duggar girls will never have that bikini mowing opportunity. The Duggars believe that it’s most important for girls to dress conservatively, not for boys to manage how they think about the opposite sex.
Neck To Knee
The Duggar parents have explained that they think that girls should be covered up from their necks to their knees. What can possibly be the extreme reason for this? The reason is that if any areas in between are revealed, it may be an act of “defrauding,” they said.
Defrauding in this sense means to stir up desires that can’t be fulfilled in accordance with God. Michelle said that God himself told her she needed to cover up more. At this point we’re thinking somebody needs to seek some professional help.
There have been some serious issues within the Duggar household, and it’s hard to say whether the extremely strict upbringing of the children helped cause them. We’re almost completely will to bet that it has. Things have gotten strange in the Duggar home.
In particular, the revelations that Josh had molested some of his younger sisters, and his later infidelities as a married man, may seem to be related to the repressed nature of sexuality in the Duggar home. This news has shocked a ton of people.
Searching For Individuality
In a family as large as the Duggar household, it’s only natural that kids want to find ways to stand out from their siblings. This can be difficult, however, when there aren’t many ways to express yourself. Don’t worry, the Duggar’s found their answer.
Music had to be Christian contemporary, gospel, or bluegrass within the home, and dancing was forbidden as it may cause sexual desires, according to the Duggars. The kids were allowed to play instruments and that’s about it.
The Duggar kids were musically accomplished, since playing instruments was one of their only real creative outlets. Cousin Amy Duggar was also into music and had a little success as a singer. She actually had a huge chance of becoming a star.
To hear her tell it, she even went to Nashville and got “several offers” from major record labels. However, the labels all wanted her to capitalize on her reputation as the black sheep of the family and be an “edgy” star, and she said she passed.
Off To A Good Start
Although Josh Duggar would come to be synonymous with all kinds of rather unsavory character traits, his marriage to wife Anna started off splendidly. One could have easily mistake their uni0n as a match made in heaven.
They met at a homeschooling convention, got married two years later, and had their first child on October 8, 2009. The two seemed very happy, but that was only until Josh’s secrets came to light.
With Josh and his wife Anna retreating from the spotlight, the Duggar girls started to get more of the attention. After all, Jessa Duggar had started dating Ben Seewald after meeting him at church. Everyone wanted to see where that would go.
The audience was also very excited as many of the other girls were reaching maturity as well, giving the media other things to focus on as Josh tried to escape attention. This would ultimately lead to a lot of controversy within the family.
A Pair Of Weddings
With so many kids in one family, eventually they’re going to grow up and start getting married! Therefore, it wasn’t entirely unexpected when Jill and Jessa got married within the same year. Talk about a lot of wedding money to fork over.
Jill met Derick Dillard through her father, while Ben and Jessa had dated for some time after meeting at church. Many more weddings were yet to come. There were a lot of girls in the family and soon their would be even more kids.
It wasn’t always so bad for Josh and Anna. The two had just announced that triplets were on the way before the truth of Josh’s behavior came to light. Later on, Jill and Jessa announced that they had become pregnant following their weddings.
Although things were obviously not so great in the Duggar household, Jim Bob and Michelle were happy about the grandchildren. They were in fact so happy that would almost completely look over all the offenses made by their son.
An Unhappy Union
While it seemed like Josh and Anna had a happy marriage early on, it soon became clear that this wasn’t the case. It wasn’t just what Josh did as a teen, either. After the Ashley Madison scandal, it became apparent that Josh had been on the site looking for women to cheat with.
Another source posted to Reddit saying that Josh had been unfaithful. Anna wanted to leave, but her in-laws persuaded her not to, despite Josh’s disgusting behavior. The whole world thought that the family’s behavior was completely bizarre.
Back In The Spotlight
When TLC decided to cancel 19 Kids and Counting due to the bad press surrounding Josh’s despicable actions with his younger sisters, it seemed that the Duggars were done being on TV. The world would sure miss all their bizarre behaviors.
However, after a while, TLC started a new show, Counting On, that initially focused on Jill and Jessa. Eventually, it expanded its focus on the other older Duggar children, too, although Josh has never been featured.
With the world changing and many people having an opinion on the Duggar family, the parents finally decided to enact a new rule: no social media use was allowed until the kids got married. This truly disconnected them from the world around them.
This meant that some of the older kids, like Jana and John-David, disappeared from the public eye in many ways, as the two are still single to this day. One day they’ll get married and they’ll be able to once again be in the public eye.
Now You Do, Now You Don’t
It can be hard to be a Duggar, as evidenced by Josiah’s off-and-on courtship with Marjorie Jackson. Josiah started to post pictures of the two online in 2015, but they called off their relationship in 2016. The world was absolutely shocked.
He had to address the whole matter in People magazine, saying that “she didn’t feel that it was the right timing then.” Yikes. We’ll sure they’ll go on to find their true loves.