Family overcrowded, under inspection

Stephani Whisenant

There’s Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah (poor child), Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson (the cutest), Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie.
The average family in America has 2.6 children. The Duggar family has 19 children and one on the way, 7.6 times the average family. Holy cow.

If you don’t know who the Duggars are, allow me to enlighten you. Soon to be a family of 22, they are a family from Arkansas who are famously known for being extremely devout in their faith and, of course, having 20 kids.

The mother of the family, Michelle, married her husband Jim Bob in 1984 and only planned on having a few children. However, a few years, later they decided that they would leave it up to God to decide how many children they would have, excited with the idea of “populating the earth”.

And 19 kids later, they definitely went through with that.

All of the children are home-schooled and must wear a “Duggar uniform” used to completely covering everything they believe should be covered, including their legs and shoulders. If they are out in public and one of the Duggars sees a lady scantily-clad, they call out “Nike!”, which tells the Duggar boys to look down at their feet or their shoes.

While some people praise this family, I do not. I understand that Michelle and Jim Bob have a love for children, but 20 is a ridiculous number. There is no way that these children are all getting the one-on-one parental attention that they need. From watching the show, it seems as if there is a “buddy system” where an older child has to take care of a younger one.

Knowing that these children are having to share their parental relationship with so many other children makes me sad for them. Interactions that a child has with their parents are important and really are a driving factor in what shapes their lives. While these children are definitely being influenced by their parents, it seems like it’s more from what they see rather than personal experiences.

It also bothers me that the kids aren’t allowed to look at the world outside of their own Duggar “protection”. How will the kids know how to handle the real world once they go out on their own? The oldest son, Joshua, was married in 2008 and had to adjust to life where he wasn’t under his parents roof. The show portrayed his struggles with trying to adjust to making his own decisions and how the real world worked, which were all added difficulties to being newly married because he had never experienced real freedom. It’s important that as teenagers turn into young adults, they are told what to expect in life, and are given a chance to experience things that they want to experience in a healthy way. By preventing their children from listening to the music they want, watching the movies they want and dressing how they want, they are only hindering their children for a future world that is unfortunately not surrounded by the beliefs that the Duggars have.

Now, I’m not saying that the Duggars should let their kids go off the deep end and wear mini-skirts and listen to heavy metal, but perhaps they could compromise a little, like allowing the girls to wear jeans and listen to clean style bands and artists. How could this really hurt them? If anything, I think it would help them get to know themselves better.

While I think that it is great that the Duggars are so in-tune with their faith and that they seem to try to do everything they can for their children, I think that they are a little too extreme. You can be a devout Christian, and still experience all that life has to offer while praising God and relating things back to Him the whole time.