What started out as two people in love, quickly became a family of three, then five, then 15, then 21… all in a matter of 25 years. When Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar tied the knot, they likely had no idea they would end up raising 19 children together. But here they are now, with 10 sons, nine daughters, more than a dozen grandkids and several seasons of reality television behind their name.
On the outside, the Duggar Family desperately tries to paint a picture of one big, happy, moral family, but over the years, tons of questionable details about one of America’s largest families has been revealed.
From the oldest to the youngest, the Duggars are one family that seriously give us the creeps. And the fact that every single one of the 19 Duggar kids’ name begins with the letter “J” isn’t even the creepiest thing about them.
Since Michelle Duggar decided to forgo all birth control, pregnant became sort of her natural state of being. From the birth of their first, Josh, in 1988 to their last, Josie, in 2009, Michelle has been pregnant for 144 months. That’s 12 years of her life!
Some women are known to get baby fever, but Michelle has been called “baby hungry,” according to BabyGaga.
While it’s common for dads to be protective of their daughters, Jim Bob takes the cake on this one. He has been called the “gatekeeper” of his daughters. Before a guy can even get close to a Duggar daughter, he must get Jim Bob’s permission.
Jim Bob doesn’t just act as a middleman for the girls, he also pushes guys he prefers onto the girls.
If Dad choosing who you date isn’t bad enough, both Jim Bob and Michelle have full access to the girls’ private conversations with guys in the form of a group chat.
Before Jessa married Ben Seewald, he asked if he could text her since he lived hours away. The elder Duggars agreed, but only if they were included in every text.
If you ever want to go on a date with a Duggar girl, be prepared to have either her parents or a few younger siblings tag along. Michelle and Jim Bob require that every single courtship date is chaperoned, so no "funny business" can happen.
“The chaperones have clear guidelines for what is acceptable and what’s not,” Michelle told TLC, according to CheatSheet.
Believe it or not, but Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar weren’t always anti-birth control. In fact, Michelle used contraceptive pills during the first couple years of their marriage and they originally only wanted a few kids.
This all changed when the couple became convinced that birth control pills allow you to become pregnant and then cause a miscarriage. Since then, they’ve had 18 more kids.
Michelle and Jim Bob met each other through their church in the early 1980s. By 1984, the two took their vows and began their wild adventure together. Michelle, though, was only 17-years-old and had just graduated from high school.
Neither Michelle nor Jim Bob, who was just 19 at the time, got to really live their lives as adults before they got married.
The females in the Duggar family are raised up to wear only skirts or dresses, usually with no exception. This is part of the Duggar family way of life that stems directly from their strict religious beliefs. Michelle has raised her daughters to believe they must dress modestly.
However, as they become adults, some of the girls have started rebelling against this rule.
If you’re a normal teenage girl, you might learn how to kiss from watching your favorite romantic movie or reading about it in Cosmopolitan and practicing. If you are a Duggar daughter, though, you likely learned how to kiss from your mom and dad.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Jessa Duggar admits that her parents are good kissers and she’d get advice from them.
If you are a Duggar and you aren’t married, you aren’t allowed to give or receive front hugs. Only side-hugs are allowed in this family. Jim Bob and Michelle feel that a front hug with a potential future partner requires too much physical contact.
“We believe it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage,” Michelle said in an interview, according to CheetSheet.
We know the Duggars have a lot of strict rules for their daughters that directly stem from their beliefs. But Michelle, having been married for over 30 years, has some of her own marriage advice for the girls.
She tells married women to make themselves available to the man, joyfully available at all time. Even if you are exhausted or don’t feel good… okay.
With strange parenting techniques usually comes questionable discipline methods.
Blanket training is a form of corporal punishment to discipline toddlers and infants and train them to have self-control. The baby is required to sit on a blanket for a period of time with a couple of toys. If they move off the blanket, they are likely swatted with something similar to a ruler.
In addition to blanket training, the Duggars discipline their children with a rod. When any of their 19 kids fall out of line, they can expect to be spanked with what the children call “the rod.”
While neither Jim Bob nor Michelle has admitted to any form of physical punishment for the kids, police investigators exposed the existence of “the rod” in 2015.
Unless you were living under a rock in 2015, you likely caught wind of the scandal involving the oldest Duggar, Josh and his highly inappropriate behavior with five minor girls, four of whom were his own sisters.
Jim Bob and Michelle both knew of the incident years before the public got ahold of it and believed “he was just curious about girls.”
After Josh Duggar’s scandal became widespread news, Jill and Jessa self-identified as two of Josh’s victims.
In an emotional interview on The Kelly File, the two girls admitted they knew what he did was wrong but spoke in defense of their older brother, reiterating what their parents said about Josh just being “a young boy a little too curious about girls.”
How is one woman expected to mother 19 kids all on her own? Well for Michelle Duggar, she enlists help from her older daughters. The older girls are expected to help take care of their younger siblings.
The family even has what they call “the buddy system,” where an older girl is assigned certain kids to take care of as her own.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar know they can’t protect their kids from all the cruel evils of the world, but they are certainly going to try their hardest.
When the family goes out, they want to protect the boys of the family from temptation and impure thoughts. So, they developed a safe word. Whenever anyone sees an immodest woman, they shout out “Nike!”
When Jessa Duggar became pregnant with her first baby, she and husband, Ben Seewald came under fire for basically asking fans for donations in the form of gift cards or money.
They provided an address where fans could send the gift cards and specified that her “favorite stores are Target and Walmart.”
It seems wherever Josh Duggar is, trouble isn’t far behind. If his 2015 scandal wasn’t enough, shortly after news broke that the prodigal son had at least two accounts on the adult cheating website, Ashley Madison.
Josh’s wife, Anna, stood by him after he admitted to cheating on her and remained dedicated to her infamous husband.
The girls aren’t allowed to show too much skin and the boys aren’t allowed to look at girls who show too much skin, so it makes sense that the Duggars would be completely against taking the family to the beach.
“It’s just too hard for guys to try to keep their eyes adverted in those situations,” stated Michelle to TLC.
Ever wonder how the Duggar household stays in shape? Well, from just three-years-old, every Duggar kid is provided with a list of chores they must complete. From washing dishes to doing the laundry, they handle all the dirty work around the house.
Giving kids chores isn’t so unusual, but in the Duggar family, the kids are given just three cents for each chore they complete.
References: TLC, InTouch, People, Ok! Magazine, TheTalko, BabyGaga, Today, CheetSheet, LittleThings