Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar: "Experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste."

by Vyckie

Charlie Richards ~ the creator of the Christian video series, “Life at the Pond” ~ recently shared on his blog about his experience of working with the Duggar kids ~ particularly the three oldest girls, Jill, Jessa & Jinger, whom he describes as, ” sharp, fun and informed.”

They know what’s going on out there.  But it isn’t at all a part of their every day life. And, to the shock and dismay of so many, they’re okay with that.

While, admittedly, I admire the Duggars for much of what they do, I didn’t expect what I saw in these three girls.  The world has yet to beat them into submission.  They don’t watch the Disney Channel, so they’ve yet to learn that adults are buffoons and parents are embarrassing.  They don’t listen to the local rock station, so they’ve yet do discover life is supposed to be one promiscuous event followed by another.  They don’t attend public school, so they’ve yet to learn teenage girls are required to be filled with angst and riddled with insecurities.

 As we spoke to the three of them, one word kept jumping out at me:  Freedom.  These girls were experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste.  Completely free to be themselves.  The exact opposite of the words so often used by media folk to describe the 19 kids.

While many times teenagers can’t wait to get away from adults, these three were anxious to engage in conversation.  And they were delightful. All of the Duggars were.

Wow ~ this takes me back to my Quiverfull days!  Watching the Duggars & other “big, happy families” ~ catching that VISION ~ the appeal is just.so.darn.strong!!

Richards’ praise of the Duggars and his insistence that the older girls are “experiencing freedom” brought to mind Jill Cozzi’s poignant summary of the QF/P “freedom”: The problem with Quiverfull isn’t in its advocacy of large families, it’s in its view of women, and in questions about just how much “free will” is involved with women who become embroiled in its clutches. 

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum!  Comments are also open below.

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  • nikita

    I really do understand what this man is saying about his assessment of the older Duggar girls. Children do tend to rise or sink to whatever level is expected of them and they are displaying this in conversation and manner. That’s not a bad thing. But what he completely misses in his assessment is that they are speaking with a man who is an outsider, which totally skews what they are going to let him see and know. And he seems oblivious to the terrible price they are paying for their ‘non-teenager’ maturity and manner. Most people would consider that price too high. Like Vyckie said, you see the shell of perfection and catch the ‘vision’. The bill for that ‘vision’ comes later, and is much too high.

  • Carol

    Anxious to engage in conversation because its someone new!The author doesn’t understand Quiverfull or what the young ladies do in their day. (Sleeping 10 to a room doesn’t sound wise…)

  • Staceyjw

    He says “the world hasn’t beaten them into submission”- that’s because the world doesn’t stand a chance compared to their religious beliefs. They are already groomed for a much worse type of submission, which they have been eagerly embracing (unknowingly).
    The world doesn’t beat everyone, QF does.

  • Freedom to be themselves??? Freedom only as much as they remain compliant with their parents’ beliefs! Can that really be called freedom?

    Also, I have to wonder how much empathy they will be able to have when they have been so carefully *spared* the opportunity to get close enough to the *Disney and rock-n-roll* indoctrinated young people outside their bubble world to comprehend their struggles.

    Does anybody really believe these girls have the liberty to express feelings and/or beliefs that contradict their parents in a publicized interview?

    By now, I am sure that they have been thoroughly groomed in the art of acting the part.

    The only way that any of these kids with even a spark of choleric can continue in isolated compliance is if they continue to live in the bubble world.

  • Helen

    You ALL are so envy of the wonderful life the Duggars have, I just sit back and pray the LORD bless them more and more even right now and may the LORD himself shutt the big mouths that speak AGAINST THEM and blind the eyes that envy them.
    may the LORD JESUS bless the Duggars and multiply them and hundreds of families like them all over this countruy and around the world,
    all glory and praise be to our almighty GOD now and forever AMEN AND AMEN.
    The wise woman buildeth her house but the FOOLISH plugeth it down with her hands

  • Katherine

    Whatever anyone’s opinion is of the “freedom” the Duggar girls do or don’t experience, I’m trying to figure out where Charlie Richards gets his information about teenagers who live – in the real world.

    I’ve been through the teenage years with 3 kids. They all attended public school and a mainline, not terribly conservative Protestant church. They never regarded adults as buffoons (except the ones who actually are), and managed to not be embarrassed by their parents.

    Rock and roll stations lead them to think life is “one promiscuous event followed by another”? Really? Wow. I listen to rock and roll, maybe he’s talking about pop.

    Public schools teach teenage girls that they’re supposed to be riddled with angst and insecurity? Some insecurity comes with being a teenager, at least for most of them. My daughter, who is no longer a teenager but it hasn’t been that long, went to public school. She learned art, music, literature, biology, physics, chemistry, a little French, and advanced math. She learned to get along with all kinds of people and be secure in herself. My sons learned the same thing.

    This guy needs to get his head out of ….. well, fill in the blank yourself. Get out in the real world, take your blinders off and quit believing all the garbage the media feeds you.

    Oh, and envy the Duggars? I don’t think so. roflmao

  • Katherine

    *didn’t mean that as a reply to Helen’s comment specifically, put it in the wrong place. Oops.*

  • Kiara

    Actually, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger aren’t the oldest girls. There is another girl, Jana, who is older than them.

  • Aria

    Maybe if you bothered finishing high school you wouldn’t have made so many spelling and grammatical errors.

    Do you realize that Michelle’s had a uterine prolapse multiple times? By having it surgically repaired to keep having children, is she not ignoring her god telling her her childbearing days are to end?

  • Aria

    If these girls were truly free, they could watch a Disney movie. They are free to do what they want and be who they want to be within the confines of parental mandate. They can choose red shirt or blue, Amazing Grace or Shout to the Lord. They can not choose skirt or pants, hair down or hair up, at least not if they want to be supported by their family. Of course between submitting and remaining sheltered and fed, or “rebelling” by wearing jeans, cutting their hair short and putting it in a pony tail, and being kicked out for it, they’ll want to wear skirts and keep their hair long and down. They are ill-prepared for life in the real world on their own. They wouldn’t know where to go for help getting on their feet on their own, and have no job-skills aside from childcare and cooking, which might get them, at best, minimum-wage, dead-end jobs. Their choices are manipulated. This isn’t freedom.

  • Lori

    I actually have to agree that the Duggar girls do have freedom. Sorry but I was a latch key public school child. I had no FREEDOM and only 2 siblings, my Mom worked long hours so we could survive I got my brother off he bus, I cooked dinner etc. I also went to work at 14. This is the NORMAL American family, one of divorce and trying to keep up socially and still survive. I was a slave to having those Lucky jeans everyone at school had, so that met extra hours at work, I was in sports and so that met extra time at school then there was homework, boyfriend, and everything else. I do not look at the Duggars with pity, come on, yes there is alot of siblings, and I am not all for quiverful and I think their are some serious issues in alot of families. But compared to the typically American Family with a divorce, Mom working to put food on the table, the mean girls in highschool, working a parttime job to pay for clothes and a car, sports and cheer, plus the massive amounts of homework thanks to No Child Left Behind, they do have ALOT of freedom. Yes they have to babysit their siblings, but at 18 I was in an apartment paying for school working fulltime going to college and living on raman and mac and cheese.lol So ya don’t feel sorry for them at all, they have it GREAT!
    Also 10 to a room, so what you forgot to mention how HUGE those rooms are! I have seen their room and WOW! Now most Quiverful families do not live this way, but come on they do.lol And they have it pretty good.lol

  • valsa

    You may have gone to work at 14 but the Duggar girls went to work much younger than that. Think of everything that needs to be done to run a household of 10+, 12+, 14+, 16+, etc people. THAT’S what the Duggar girls have been forced to work doing since they were little girls.

    Also, you only slaved for Lucky jeans that were popular at school. If you had decided not to work the extra hours for those- big deal, it’s not the end of the world. Do you know why the Duggar girls work so hard? Because if they don’t, they’ve been told since they were knee-high that they’ll burn in excruciating pain for all of eternity in hell because they’re living a life in disobedience to God (not being a good little slave girl for mommy and daddy would definitely qualify)

  • Sierra

    Did you get to choose whether and whom to marry? Whether or not to have children, when, and how many? Did you get to choose what you wanted to do with your life after high school (what kind of job you wanted, whether or not to try to get financial aid to go to college)? This is pretty big stuff, and it’s totally denied to the Duggar girls. You may have felt “enslaved” to a certain kind of blue jeans, but you probably could have worn secondhand ones and not lost your friends’ and family’s support/approval. You probably wouldn’t have been cut off from everyone you knew if you decided you wanted a short haircut or went out on a date. You’re mentioning a lot of “freedoms” (if they can be called that) that come of wealth, not the Duggars’ beliefs. There are lots of quiverfull families living on ramen and beans, without any of the major life decisions that I mentioned above open to them. The Duggars’ large, cheerful, spotless home is a result of their savvy financial moves that hopewell described in the last post about how they support their children. Fundamentalism doesn’t come with the financial batteries included. Most people have to figure it out in much less exciting ways than the Duggars. (Full disclosure: I also grew up very poor, and fundamentalist.)

  • valsa

    You’re completely right that being a teenager does, and should, come with some insecurity. It’s not fun but it is a normal part of development. Most insecurity happens when you go out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Who hasn’t been insecure their first time performing the violin at recital? Who hasn’t been insecure giving a presentation in front of a class? Who hasn’t been insecure while trying out for a sports team?

    People usually aren’t insecure with their families because family doesn’t push you and family isn’t new. But, without being pushed or doing new things, you can’t grow as a person and an individual.

  • Janette

    I loved his assessment and agree with it. The Duggars give their children more love, attention, and guidance than many families I know with only 1 or 2 children. Heck, I wish I was a Duggar!

  • Janette

    Just because some of you ladies had a bad marriage does not mean all ‘quiverful’ families are a cult. Get over it!

  • Lori

    Let me clarify a few points in my comment because they just didn’t come out very clear and has caused some misunderstanding, sorry about that. 1 I didn’t grow up quiverful or fundamentalist I grew up in a typical american early 90’s home. 2, I started working at 14 outside of the home at 10 I started getting my brother off the bus and making dinners and such. At 10 not 14, at 14 I did all the same plus worked outside the home. Now I only had 2 brothers but it was also just me.lol
    OK about the clothing, and such, no I didn’t grow up in a home where I was told if I didn’t dress a certain way I would go to hell, but I did go to a typical American Highschool and if you did not dress a certain way your life became a living hell, and uhm yes all your friends would turn their back on you and make fun of you big time. Being a teen SUCKS no matter what. But I was not saying I do not feel sorry for many older girls in the quiverful movement or girls period being a Girl is HARD. BUT I do not feel sorry for the Duggar Girls, sorry I don’t. Now I am Catholic and I have a large family which is how I found this site and frankly some of the things I read made me hug my kids and little Closer and be so thankful for my husband, who does NOT boss me around.lol UHM no way. I love this site because it also shows me some things I should NEVER do with my kids.
    But all in all I have seen some scary large families and children I was scared for, they had no social skills and parents where NUTS, but I don’t get the weird never socialized can’t look you in the eye feeling you get from those families from the Duggars.
    So it wasn’t a post to say oh you are so wrong but just out of everyone the Duggar Girls do seem to have alot of freedom and I don’t feel sorry for them. Now the Maxwells or Razing Ruth, or the Girl who wrote quivering Daughters OH MY! Those post make me want to hug my kids so close.
    But I have no problem with kids doing chores or large families, I do have a problem with Moms sitting on their rear-ends and making their kids do EVERYTHING! And I have a huge problem with abusive men, Jim-Bob doesn’t seem abusive or bossy and honestly Michele maybe quiet and look at her hubby with loving eyes, but behind closed doors she seems like she has no problem telling her husband how she feels, she just doesn’t pull a Kate plus 8 and belittle and scream at him on Camera. I have been to those houses too, where Dad is alot like alot of your husbands, she doesn’t have the blank look or fear on her face. She would have been home with the kids instead of a rental with just Josie if that where the case. Atleast that is how I see it, I could be completely off being I only see them on TV.lol

  • Lori

    oh and sorry for my book above I just didn’t want you to get the wrong idea so I clairified everything. Because you can’t see me or hear the tone in my voice I normally don’t comment on things, I normally just lurk. Back to lurkdom.

  • valsa

    Again Lori, making dinners and supervising kids getting off the bus isn’t anywhere near what the Duggar girls do. Those girls are mommy, housekeeper, teacher, cook, and more. Also, if your high school friends would have abandoned you over a pair of jeans- you had bad friends. My family (not QF or religious at all) was dirt poor and I mostly wore old woman clothes from Goodwill, and my friends never made my life hell or abandoned me.

    The Duggar girls have absolutely no freedom. They can’t even wear jeans or go anywhere alone. I don’t care how much they’re supposedly free from peer pressure (actually, as has been talked about in the forums, the Duggars have just switched out one kind of peer pressure for another), if they can’t do anything but tow the party line, they have no freedom.

  • Gal5:1

    Just went over and posted in the comments about the *lack* of freedom the Duggar girls have. Let’s see how long it is until it’s pulled.

  • Gal5:1

    I have to agree Aria….why is it okay to use medical intervention to keep on having children, even against all wisdom, but it’s not okay to have a hysterectomy to prevent uterine prolapse?

    I used to be in QF, then I came out of it and started using my brain again, so with questions like that I know the QF answer, but it does not come from logic or wisdom, so it offends me.

  • kwil

    If your children have attained this level of maturity—congratulations. They are, however, the exception, not the rule in today’s society. There are a few bright spots in a washed out, pathetic culture of narcissism, but precious few.

    I don’t know where you live, but I’ve moved around a bit, and teens who regard their parents as buffoons, and are promiscuous, are most definitely the majority, IMO.

    Are you from….. Utah?

  • kwil

    Really? I’ve not heard about that.

    just wondering if you think that all women who have premature babies are being told by God to not have more children. Or does He only tell that to the women who are over a certain limit?

  • kwil


    I think you are being a bit dramatic. I don’t think they work that hard. (Ok, I’m ducking now)

    I have a question for you, for all of you ladies out there.

    Do you think it’s possible that the average American teenager spends twice as much, no, make that three times as much time online/texting/facebook/cellphone, etc. than the Duggar girls spend helping their family? What skills and relational skills are the “normal” kids developing then? Why aren’t you pouncing on mothers who are letting their children be lost in some kind of virtual reality, who are losing any ability to function with the people right in front of them?

    Would the Duggar girls be better off to spend their time hanging at the mall with a bunch of other girls, flirting shamelessly with anything male that will pay them attention? Would you feel better about them if they decided to dress in black and pierce a few things and answer all your questions with one word? If the goth scene is too much, why not just have them be obsessed with their hair and makeup and clothes until they are so shallow that you wish they’d only answer with one word.

    I think maybe these girls like their lives. And maybe they wonder why so many people care so much if they wear a skirt. There are more important things in life than what you wear, people. Of all the weirdness in the world, we’re so intimidated when a lady actually looks like a …. lady.

    In their minds, they probably are free. The world makes sense. How free do you feel in yours?

  • Nancy

    kwil, your opinion would be wrong. I am an older woman attending a top university with kids still in their teens or just out of them, including many of the grad students. I live in a very “blue” part of the country that is often used by churches like the one you probably attend as a den of sin and vice. I beg to differ on all counts.

    They would be nowhere near this university (or most others) if they were running around sleeping with everyone in sight, drinking, drugging, and overall being disrespectful to the adult figures in their lives.

    These kids (and those like them at colleges and universiites across the country) would not be where they are if they weren’t involved in activities like student government, working in the community and otherwise being upstanding citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation; sometimes there is none…atheists can and do teach their kids right from wrong and to be honest, I can’t tell the Christian kids from the atheists until they state their affiliations.

    Conservative churches and the deeper cults like ATI/QF, etc, have to preach fear in order to keep their ranks in line (and the money pouring into their “ministries”).

    Please, learn to think for yourself and go to the local high school and talk to a few kids, if they have time between their AP courses, athletics and volunteer work. Let me know how that works out for you Then look at the kids in your church whose choices are limited and due to those limitations, not fully developed human beings who act out later in life…IF they have a chance to think critically about their own life. Big IF, especially with the Duggar girls whose only CHOICE in life is to be a submissive wife and mother to many. Any other CHOICE would be WRONG. Period.

  • kwil

    ummm, I can’t seem to find any information on Michelle having a uterine prolapse. Plenty of people that say she’s putting herself at risk, but nowhere saying she actually had one.

  • mwigdahl

    The strawman and excluded middle arguments are coming fast and furious here… The choice between full-bore Duggar QF helpmeet-in-training and promiscuous Lindsey Lohan-style mallrat is not binary.

    There are many ways to steer a course through adolescence that offer meaningful choices to kids, choices that let them develop in ways that might not be exactly what their parents would choose for them, but that are right for the kids themselves.

    Children need structure, not stricture.

  • Aria

    I’m related to them through my mom’s side. Uterine problems are rampant among my female relatives, and few have had more than eight kids. Needless to say, keeping up with reproductive issues is something we pay attention to, even though Michelle’s medical history has no bearing on my own as it’s JimBob I’m related to.

  • Aria

    #1) I don’t believe in god.

    #2) Having a premature baby usually doesn’t effect fertility.

    #3) Uterine prolapses result in infertility unless surgically repaired to functioning, childbearing condition. If the body becomes unable to bear children, is this not “god’s way” of saying enough?

  • Aria

    You mention getting your brothers off the bus and making dinner. The Duggar girls have a couple buddies they are responsible for from getting up and brushing teeth in the morning to bed at night. It’s on the family’s website under “How do we do it?” They do it by assigning the girls buddies they are responsible for. This is a lot more than getting a couple kids from the bus and making them dinner. These girls make dinner for 20 people (not counting Josie, whose still on breastmilk).

    You mention that you’re a slave to those jeans. Your choice. If your friends pressured you into them and would ditch you during your teen years, you’re still better off than girls pressured by their families and ditched permanently for rebelling. Not even teen out there is going to care if their friends wear designer jeans. The snobs will, but most teens really won’t. Gosh, a penalty of losing friends and making new ones, or losing family permanently. And you think you had it rougher.

    Friends, boyfriends. These girls don’t get those. They can befriend people selected by their parents, when there’s time. They can’t have boyfriends. They don’t get to go to a school outside of home. Aside from their parents wanting to control outside influences, they’re needed at home to help educate the younger ones.

    They get to choose which clothes to wear from a room of clothes they all share. They don’t get much say in what goes in there.

    Now these girls ARE lucky in that they get to have experiences many others don’t, but this has to do with them being on a TV show. The same old day every day would make for boring TV. Viewers want to see them in Hawaii sometimes, or see them go to a farm. A trip lasting a week can make a month or two of episodes. We don’t see the mundane that occupies most of their time. We see the stuff that makes “fun TV”.

  • Aria

    The Duggar girls help their parents from sun-up to sun-down.

    The “normal” kids are learning to charter their own course in the world. The “normal” kids get to flirt and figure out what they really want in a partner. The Duggar girls don’t. They’re mini-adults from early ages, groomed to be brides to men ultimately of their fathers’ choosing. You are giving polar-opposites as examples, ether completely confined or completely hands-of parenting. How about something in the middle, where kids and teens have guidance rather than complete and utter control over their lives, guidance rather than no caring where they are?

    Regarding liking lives, have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? People who are abused long-term often come to have feelings of love for their abusers. This is believed to be a survival method. Does this make abuse okay because the abused are so resigned to the life that they learn to smile through it? I’m not saying that the girls are beaten or anything, just pointing out that it’s possible for people to smile when, given real-world normal experiences, they wouldn’t.

  • Susan White

    That says it all ,”The world doesn’t stand a chance because of their religious beliefs”. Now that’s WHAT I want for my children.

  • Susan White

    A uterine prolapse can cause other problems such as incontinence. Repairing the uterus is a medical procedure meant to fix a human’s body. Birth control is an artificial means of preventing children (and in the case of the pill, preventing a developing human from surviving) by healthy women (and men) to keep from
    having children for good reasons and often selfish ones.

  • Susan


  • Susan

    How exactly do you know what the Duggar girls do? Do you live with them? People shouldn’t smear families when they know so little about them!

  • Mrs P


    IF you are related to the Duggars, you don’t have the right information that’s for sure. Michelle’s own obgyn said when Michelle was pregnant with Jordan that she was ‘made for having babies’ and that her uterus ‘looks great’. She specifically referenced that a woman who has many children risks uterine prolapse and then stated that Michelle had had none of those problems. That was only one and a half years ago.

    Also, Michelle stated several weeks back that Josie has been off breastmilk for nearly 4 months now because of lactose intolerance. She is on a lactase free formula.

    The Duggars love their children and are raising them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. I really hate that some of you ladies had horrible marriages and/or experiences with fundamental so called ‘christianity’. That isn’t true Christianity. But please don’t let you and others horrible experiences turn you away from the Saviour, and don’t allow your experience to color the way you see others.

    Some of us ladies who are in submissive marriages are very happy with loving husbands and are thrilled to accept as many children as God will give us. We are truly WILLING to do it and ENJOY it. Total submission to Christ is the only way to truly live and the joy you experience living in God’s perfect will is not comparable to anything this world can offer.

    mrs P

  • Mrs P

    Excuse me, I spelled Jordyn’s name the way I spell my OWN daughter’s name, I apologize.

    Mrs P

  • Donna

    I don’t personally know what the Duggar girls do, but I sure as heck know what *I* do raising a family of 7 children ages 26 to age 9. It’s boatload of work that never ends!! It doesn’t take Albert Einstein to extrapolate how hard the Duggar girls work to make a household of 20 (including Josie, excluding Josh) work. Jim Bob and Michelle make the babies; the children raise the babies. Good job if you can get it. The Duggars got it and now they do their Dog & Pony conservative vaudeville show for pay.

    Secondly, having been intimately familiar with those raised in a large family and hearing accounts of it, there is NOT one family that says that it was easy. In fact, most of the people I know who were raised in very large families either chose to have small families themselves or none at all. I don’t think this is an accident. I think they were burned out raising their own parents’ children. Some have resentment, some do not.

    In any case, there is no one on earth that is going to succeed in diminishing the fact of how labor intensive it is to raise a large family and the Duggars aren’t just a large family, they are an enormous size family. There is no way on God’s green earth that Michelle and Jim Bob can even do a fraction of the daily gruntwork necessary to maintain this family. No Duggar worshipper is going to convince me otherwise.

    To answer the original author of this article, NO, the girls do NOT have freedom. They have the freedom to be ATI Stepford robots and march in lockstep with the program. Any deviation from this plan and hell awaits them at the corner. It’s as simple as that.

  • Donna

    Michelle’s doctor told her that her “uterus looked great”??? Compared to what? Michelle’s uterus has been inflated and deflated, stretched and overstreched, cut into multiple times, etc. I seriously wonder what doctor tells his patient “your uterus looks great.” To me, this sounds like something made-up.

    To add, Michelle’s comments at the Vision Forum Conference about the uterus being a muscle and needing to be used in order to stay strong is false too, but that never stopped her before from making totally false comments, so why stop now. The Quiverfull wannabee’s will buy anything that the D-Supastars.

    By the way, Mrs. P., I absolutely abhore the patriarchal “submission” mantra and I have neither a horrible marriage (have been married 27+ years thus far) nor horrible kids. But I can spot charletons when I see them. I have absolutely NO doubt that the Duggars are using their kids for fame and fortune. The only people I do feel a bit sorry for are the poor young schmucks who look at the Duggars and think it is a sustainable model and try to duplicate it.

    Please spare me the “The Duggars love their children and are raising them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord” because to me that is code for: ABUSE in the name of the Lord.

    Also, the “But please don’t let you and others horrible experiences turn you away from the Saviour, and don’t allow your experience to color the way you see others.” Sorry, but my experience with QF fundies has been nothing but a sobering experience. I have seen the worst kind of hypocricy emulating from that group: back-biting, back-stabbing, judgmental attitudes displayed towards anyone who doesn’t toe their line clearly evident. Even worse than that is their constant self-flaggellation and “dying to self.” Barf. The “Saviour” and “QF” have nothing in common as far as I’m concerned. The QF/Christian fundamentalist cottage industry has succeeded in tying them together in order to make a profit.

    If you have a “submissive” marriage and are happy then goody for you. It’s good for Michelle too because she has a boatload of J-slaves to make her “submission” that much sweeter and THAT is what this article is about. She has the “freedom” to pimp her family out for money and the girls have the “freedom” to do the labor intensive work every day that it takes to run the show. I guess “freedom” is relative.

  • donna

    I’m not the poster you’re asking your question of (“HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE DUGGAR GIRLS HAVE BEEN TOLD??? WERE YOU THERE??? SOME OF YOU MAKE VERY ARROGANT ASSUMPTIONS.”). I’ll tell you how I personally know. I know it because it’s what *I* was taught my whole life growing up and I wasn’t even entrenched in the kind of system/model that the Duggars are entrenched in. I know how bad it was for me; I can only imagine that it’s about 10 times worse for them because their system/model is much more restrictive and legalistic then mine ever was and mine was bad enough!! Are you aware of what ATI/Bill Gothard teaches? The patriarchal system? Anyone who has any knowledge of either of these systems will know that young people are kept in compliance and check by using the “God” and “Disobedience to God and parents” card. Sheesh.

    Trying to diminish what is really going on infuriates me to no end. Why? Because I grew up in this type of ruckus and let me tell you flat-out that there was NO freedom!!!! I lived in constant fear, guilt, and turmoil that everything you did every second of the day was hell-worthy. What a bunch of crap to strap onto a child. NOT FAIR!!! And then to have to read the denial of people who refuse to pull their head out of the sand? Infuriating!!!

    There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the grunt work that those older girls do on a daily basis is what what keeps the Duggar family (image) going while the Duggar parents continue to perpetuate the lie of how how a super-large family functions. Their family functions because their kids do NOT have the freedom to enjoy their childhood. They have to take on ADULT duties as soon as they are able to, especially the older girls. They have no freedom or choice in the matter because they’re always keeping “J.O.Y” in their hearts. Sure they are. These older girls will be burned out before they even have a chance to start their own family.

    Childhood is fleeting; these poor kids never have the chance to have some care-free years of youth before they are rudely and harshly made to take on the worries and stresses of adulthood. And I’m supposed to embrace this and accept it as “good”? Not a chance!!

  • donna

    If you think that the Duggar parents give their children more love, attention and guidance than most families with “only” 1 or 2 children (at least the ones that you personally know), then you must know the wrong people. I have 7 children (ages 26 to age 9) and I will fully admit that I do NOT have as much time to spend with all 7 of them as I did when I had “only” 2.

    I wish you were a Duggar too since you apparently think it’s all fun and games. Shows me how they have done an effective Dog & Pony show because people are apparently buying their schtick.

  • Gal5:1

    IMHO: The ultimate fix for uterine prolapse is hysterectomy. If you have repeated prolapses, you probably should have it taken out. What is NOT a good idea is to keep having babies.

    Repeatedly fixing the problem so you can continue to pop out babies and leave the care for your children to their siblings is selfish. It’s not about birth control, it’s about being responsible and having more inherent value than your uterus.

  • Susan

    Until you can honestly say that you know the Duggars intimately, you are just smearing people by making major assumptions about their daily lives. Their children could not look as happy and healthy as they do by being trained like puppies to act a lie.
    If Michelle wants to keep her uterus, that’s her decision. I can’t believe some of you, who pretend to believe in a woman’s own freedom to make choices for her body and her life, would like to hurt her publicly for those choices.

  • Susan

    I am sorry your family was so difficult. Mine was difficult as well. I try not to remember my growing up years, but they were not because of a patriarchy mind set. I do not like ATI and am raising my large family on Biblical principles interpreted by my husband and myself.
    Just because your own experience was terrible doesn’t change the fact that you are making many assumptions about a family that you don’t know at all. The way you were taught is not necessarily the same way the Duggars are teaching their children. And, by the way, they have been to Disneyworld, if that makes you feel better.
    I am worried about the assumptions people may be making about my family because:
    1. We girls wear dresses, skirts and pants.
    2. We have a very large family, partly through adoption
    3. The older kids do help with the younger ones, but some have opted not too. That’s okay, but I don’t want people to convince my children that they are being abused when they are not. I work very hard to make sure they are able to have fun and pay attention to their studies.
    Most kids have problems in their family. No family is perfect, we are all sinners, or, if you don’t believe in God, we all makes mistakes.

  • Susan

    I have 13 children. We are not perfect, but we have a very happy life. It can be done without the children doing too much, or being forced into a robotic role. My two oldest daughters don’t help at all, and are not required to. My third oldest daughter gets paid to help me as well as having her college fully paid for. This is what she asked for. She does much of the shopping, some of the cooking and cleaning and odd jobs. We are very close and love working together. The other children are expected to clean up after themselves and do one or two small chores a day. We don’t have maids or any other kind of help so we each have to learn to clean up after ourselves. The youngest is two and the kids literally argue about who gets to watch him or change his diaper. I work very hard, but I love it.
    It is painful to read the unusual stories about husbands who seem like monsters and children who resent their upbringing. I have never met a large family like the ones who are described as “quiverfull”, with crazy, overbearing, mean husbands and fathers giving away their daughters like objects. WE do not live this way. Our children are not robots, they are each individual human beings with individual needs. There are many happy, big families where children are loved, respected and cared for in the true Godly sense. I know them personally. Do not paint everyone with the same brush, just because they have a large family, home school or dress conservatively. Most children do not get to make choices about where they get to go to school or exactly what they get to wear, the latest fashion can be expensive.
    Also, I was neglected and in one instance, seriously physically abused. I have forgiven the people who have hurt me in the past. If you have grown up in an abusive family, forgiveness will help you to heal.

  • Susan

    The Duggars have been to Disneyworld.

  • Nancy, I’m afraid your comment probably fell on deaf ears. In my experience, the people who believe as kwil does about how terrible teens are today fall into one of two camps:

    – strictly conservative and fearful of the ‘evil mainstream”
    – parents of a rebellious child, who, in order to believe that they aren’t to cause for their child’s rebellion, have convinced themselves it is the “evil culture” that did it. To be sure, sometimes parents AREN’T to blame for their child’s rebellion–but usually the parents in this camp ARE.

    Both groups are deaf to messages like yours. Or to very real statistics that show that teens are waiting longer for their first sexual experience than teens did 15-20 years ago, Or that PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT is DESIRED by today’s teens, and is one of the most common factors in teens who delay sexual activity.

  • Not just that Aria…

    Many women in the Quiver Full movement wean their babies early so that their fertility returns so that they can get pregnant again. Now besides robbing their baby of the healthiest food possible, do they not think that MAYBE, just MAYBE God designed the system of nursing delaying return of fertility for a reason?

    One time I e-mailed the Duggars…I forget what topic I asked about. I got a quick reply. Then I e-mailed specifically asking Michelle if she nurses her babies, and if so, for how long, because I thought that God created the delay of fertility for a reason. I got no reply…but I did notice that Michelle started mentioning on the show about how important she thinks breastfeeding is. I doubt I was the only person to raise that issue, but I think their might be some guilt going on there?

  • their children could not look as happy and healthy as they do by being trained like puppies to act a lie.

    A “shiny, happy” public face does not indicate at all what goes on behind closed doors.

    I can assure you that I learned how to put on a VERY good false front in public. I kept up the act for 11 years (from when I was 5 until I was 16). I was a well spoken, pleasant girl who spoke highly of her parents. My whole family could carry out the “lie”–complete with loving hugs and laughter–when we had out of town guests in our home for up to 2 weeks at a stretch.

    But my siblings and I were virtual slaves for our parents in normal circumstances, We were denied socialization–we were even not allowed to go to Sunday School or youth group at our church. We were emotional abused, and for minor infractions (like telling a friend that we were going to change churches!) we were beaten hard enough to leave very nasty bruises–99.5% of the time those bruises were hidden by clothing…it was the 0.5% that finally got my parents in trouble.

    Does this mean that the Duggars ARE being abused just because they seem happy to outsiders? No. I’m just saying that it also is not an indication that they aren’t.

  • denelian

    i was the “mom” at home, from 13 on. no, not a fundy home, and i only had 2 younger sisters to take care of, but i also had an abusive step-father who beat me [and occasionally raped me], who was supposed to be the “house-husband” but eventually did nothing at all, and my mother was a nurse, working 2 jobs – 4 10 hours NIGHT shifts at the hospital, then 30-hour weekends at a retirement home. SHE WAS NEVER HOME – and also refused to believe the abuse, even with proof, “she’d never marry a man like that”.

    so – add back in all the “Church” and “God” stuff they do every day, and make a minor adjustment for homeschooling instead of public school. here was MY day, with ONLY 2 younger sisters, age 6 and 9 when i took over full time.

    i got up at 5am, to take shower and get dressed, got Middle Sister [MS] up at 5:30 for shower, Youngest Sister [YS] up at 6, made breakfast for both. packed their lunches as they ate. got them dressed [literally, in YS case, as didn’t even LEARN how to dress herself until AFTER my step-dad died when i was 16. because she was his “princess” and “princess don’t NEED to dress themselves”]
    leave house, if LUCKY, at 6:45. walk MS to bus stop for 6:55 bus; walk YS to school, both her’s and mine started at 7:30. pray to Danu that she would have ANOTHER tantrum about walking, AGAIN making me late. sign her in [i don’t know why] rush to my OWN school.

    i had class from 7:30-4:30, and often band, choir, dance, or science olympiad after til 5:30 [and, much as i loved all, i REALLY didn’t want to do ALL AP classes and have a 10 hour school day. required 4.0 – more on that later]

    get home at 5, clean girls’ bedroom – get home at 6, straight to make dinner.

    after dinner, “help” girls with homework [step-father hit me if either cried or complained, so i almost always was forced to *DO* their homework]. clean the kitchen, the dining room, do at LEAST 2 loads of laundry… the kitchen included ALL dishes, from breakfast and etc, plus whatever was in bedrooms – if i missed ANYTHING, i had to wash the ENTIRE COLLECTION OF DISHES, which happened at LEAST once a week, as my mom had a habit of taking dishes to her room – which i wasn’t allowed to go into. didn’t matter – if they didn’t get washed because she forgot them, i did it all. then clean the counters TWICE, sweep and mop the floor, same in dining room. on Mondays and Wensdays, i cleaned the Living room, Tuesdays and Thursdays the family room – dust EVERYTHING dustable, wash the windows [inside and out] wash the walls, vacuum furniture and floor. friday i cleaned the bathrooms. saturday was all the rest of the laundry and cleaning the laundry room, my mom’s room, and the girls’ room again [none of them cleaned their own rooms.] sunday was yard work – rake the leaves [*4* oaktrees!!!] mow the grass, edge it, fix anything wrong with the fence, re-fill all the holes the dogs made, clean the dog run [30ft-80ft enclouser the dogs mostly stayed in] starting with “poo”… i hated sundays.

    most nights, if i was DAMNED lucky, i could do some homework and get to bed at midnight. to get up at 5am again the next day. unless i “missed” a glass, or my step-father was “in a mood”. and i was *required* to have a 4.0 – both my sisters got PAID for grades [$5 for a C, $10 for a B, $20 for an A] while i got GROUNDED for an A- and actively BEATEN for a B. i’m sure the Duggers don’t have THAT, although i DO question how well their education would match to mine, since i know most of their homeschool is “biblically based”, which warps science right off, and i know most homeschool, no matter what one INTENDS, one almost always ends up glossing over things, or ignoring them… and their knowledge of history must be VERY spotty…

    now, the Duggars have to do all the same chores, and just as often, at least when there’s going to be filming, outsiders and/or guests. they DON’T have the school issue, and i doubt they have their dad beating them, either. and they have help… but 20X as much to do, since there’s SO MANY… and instead of GOING to school, they’re homeschooling *AND* teaching those younger. and they do NOTHING ELSE, except what’s been “assigned” to them. what if Jenna could be the next World Snowboarding Champ? what if Jinger is really a Chess Prodigy? what if Jill had the exact personality and intelligence to be an Admiral? what would happen?

    they’ll ALL become wives and mothers and THAT’S IT.

    and THAT, ladies, is NOT Freedom.

  • Cosuin Amy perhaps does some of the things like hang at malls. She posts on Facebook and wears Jeans. She is level headed and well rounded. She eisn’tless ‘godly’. I have seen those raised in strict bakgorunds run amok. Im not saying all do but ithappens. Bad behavior happens in all walks of life. Look at the Palins lol I

  • Emily

    I don’t think that’s necessarily freedom, either. According to what I can find, these girls are 19, 17, and 16

    Is still living in your parents home at 19 really “freedom”? Is it? If Jill wanted, would she feel like she’s able go out and dye her hair purple? Heck, or even have her hair cut? Or book a plane or train ticket somewhere, and make hotel reservations, and figure out the public transportation system in a new city all by herself? Is it “freedom” to know that you’re considered your father’s responsibility, and after that you’ll become your husband’s, and you’ll have an obligation to your children, and you won’t be your own until such a time (if there is such a time) that your children are adults and your husband is dead?

    Could the Jessa and Jinger buy, say, an Underoath CD (Christian screamo, so OK lyrics, just stereotypically disliked sound) or a pair of jeans if they wanted? And even more importantly, play that “music” or wear those jeans?

    True, they’re free from peer pressure. But there are other freedoms, too – and experiencing that freedom doesn’t necessarily entail *doing* everything that freedom enables you to do, but doing something that makes you realize you *can* do whatever. You can also be free from peer pressure without being free from oppression.

    (FYI, my parents allowed me to do basically whatever I wanted as a teenager, or a young adult living with them, and I turned out perfectly well-behaved).

  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    You know, Susan, “WERE YOU THERE?” is word-for-word what Ken Ham teaches children to say to their teachers when Evolution comes up. Word For Word.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Anyone want to make book on whether Susan is QF herself?

  • Mina

    I also came from a working class family. My mom has been disabled since I started middle school, around which time my father developed a serious case of alcoholism which left the responsibility of my two younger siblings – including a brother with a number of mental illnesses – in my hands, despite being only two years older than said brother. Yet I didn’t slave for a pair of jeans. I really didn’t care about looking cool or popular. I would have rather studied because I had dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher. I didn’t have many friends, but I didn’t really care. I would rather have fun reading books and playing with my brother and sister than being as cruel as the popular girls. My mom never understood – she wanted me to be a prom princess, where as I had little interest in boys and dresses.

    Oh, and I was firmly agnostic leaning atheist, too, and pretty much lived on books and TV and film. Well into middle school I still played make believe (hell – I’m entering grad school and I STILL have a very active imagination!) It wasn’t a matter of me wanting to be a good christian girl and it certainly wasn’t my peers. I just chose to not care about looking cool or have a boyfriend. I chose instead to make friends with people that actually liked me and that were fun to be around, I chose to listen to my teachers and be a good student and a good sister. All this even while taking on more responsibility than any sixth grader should have been forced to – my mom and dad have apologized many times over for what I went through, but I never held it against them. After all, my mom couldn’t help it and since then my dad has not touched alcohol and has worked harder than anyone I know to help me through college. I had far less freedom than some of those well to do pretty popular girls, but I chose to do a lot more with it than they did.

  • Emilee

    Yeah, because this isn’t a blog about overcoming the Quiverful movement. This whole blog isn’t for that purpose, you’re so spot on and bright Janette. Crumble Cookie for you. Maybe then you can stuff it.

  • Sara Pettis

    She has said on the show that for whatever reason, the whole “being infertile while breastfeeding” thing is not true for her (as evidenced by her many children born only a year apart, or sometimes even closer). As far as I can tell, she stops breastfeeding because she becomes pregnant, not the other way around. In any case, many women will start cycling again about 2 months after giving birth, even when they are exclusively breastfeeding.

  • Michelle and Jim Bob are not a part of the Quiverfull movement, have never been and won’t ever be…I heard Michelle herself say that. Just fyi to those of you who don’t know.

  • Alicia

    The Duggars are NOT apart of the Quiverfull Movement and the parents don’t even expect all of their children to want as many children as them. Those kids do have freedom, a freedom that other teens do not have the pleasure of knowing. I hope to be as wonderful of a mother as Michelle someday and not because I feel that it’s my “place” as a woman but because I’ve always naturally wanted to be a mother and I definitely do not expect my future daughters (or sons) to want children as much (or as many) as I do.

  • Joleen Bennett

    @Denelian: Please know that I am terribly sorry to hear about your experiences growing up. I have personally been in similar situations. While I did not have abusive parents, I was psychologically abused by a sibling my family no longer speaks to for this and other reasons, another relative (similar reasons) and many students at my school. It was a very difficult environment I was in and it will affect me for the rest of my life. It is my hope that you are able to recover from this. Also, anyone who works in DCFS, CPS, or any other family/child welfare organization: please watch this show VERY CAREFULLY. You will see that these girls are in a very restricted, oppressive, unhealthy environment. They are exploited for fame on TV; no religious/social freedom; have to do most of the housework and child care; can’t do so many things that other teenagers can(cut hair, wear pants, makeup, dress differently, tv, go to school, and many more) and have to SIGN UP to have a minute to talk with their parents. I don’t care what anybody says about this show. When you look at it from a realistic perspective, this environment is NOT healthy for a kid to grow up in (while it’s okay to have large families, it is NOT OK to make the kids be the parents and be so limited in these aspects of their lives. They will never grow up to be experienced for the real world at this rate, especially these girls who deserve the chance to do and become so much more.

  • Melfina87

    Number One*
    Id like to know if they think that all babies come “from god” as Michelle and JimBob and even their own son Josh Duggar has stated, and not from having sex, to justify having so many children and letting God decide the number of children, what they think of people who are drug addicts having kids? if God was putting babies in those bellies who become addicted to drugs, why would he do that? If he is sitting around magically putting kids into people who arent using birth control, why would he give kids to horrible people and let them live a life of pain and abuse to become like that themselves? it makes no sense.
    Number Two*
    Also they have showed them taking there kids to a creation musuem in where they teach their children that the earth is only 6,000 years old and Noah walked with dinosaurs and such non sense, saying that evalution is un-scientific and creationism is the real truth, even though they said that they werent trying to force the idea of creationism on their children, i certianlly didn’t see them taking them to a science lab showing kids such things as carbon dating, and things they we know are true, because its based on facts and research, not some mythical story telling. Noah couldn’t have fit EVERY animal in a ship and they all some how co-exisited with eachother, for many days. Although once I did have a Christan girl tell me that Noah used his magic powers (yes for real!) and shrunk all the animals and the insects and stuff, and thats how they all fit. Maybe thats what they tell their children he did, I don’t know, but they arent allowed to question things so i doubt they would have spoken up even they would have thought of that.
    Number Three*
    Having that large of a house and then cramming 9 boys and 9 girls into TWO bedrooms, where there are adult children and babies in the same room, is plain wrong. The Duggars said they wanted to share a room, but obioviously its not because they want to, its because the parents wanted them to, and its conveint for them to have the older girls watch all the small girls, like they are extra nannies. I’ve never seen John David dressing the children, feeding them, doing the things that only “mommies do” so clearly the girls are being groomed to be mothers, even though Michelle denies this consitently. The reason why this type of indocernating in religion in wrong is because even though its to “protect” the children from the evils of the world, its also a way for men to control women and use them a baby makers, like a second class citizen. These quiverfull fantics have said the girls have more freedom because they dont have the problems or emotional baggage that some girls do, but from what i’ve seen these girls are almost completely void of any personailty or have any opinons themselves, they repeat everything their parents say like a parrot. They also are lacking in emontional maturity, they are closer to 13 brain wise, even though they have been homeschooled. Josh and Anna acted so akwardly when he propossed to her, to was hard to watch, and getting married at 20? and rushing the entire “courtship” and ingagement/wedding was strange. I suppose they would have to get married much younger, or be a virgin living at home until they are 30? it would be really strange, almost as strange as having a child your children possibley be older then your future siblings.
    Number Five*
    If you get paid from a TV network, get paid for interviews, and books, why would you make your children have used shoes, clothes, and not allow your children to go to college? you would think with all that money they would be saving it to go towards thier higher education for the ones who decided to go, or at least donate it to charity since they think TV is so evil and yet put thier entire lives on TV…something else that is quite bazaire, espically on a network that 99% airs things they would never watch, or allow their children to watch. JimBob said that some of the girls expressed desires to be midwives, a photographer, and teachers, but you do really think they will be able to do that when they will be married off and let there husbands be the bread winners? Their husbands will not let them earn equal income, and with all those babies they will have running around them those things will become more like a hobbie, not a carrer. Those girls have to do their own hair and grow it long because “My dad likes long hair” as Jill said in one episode. Really you can’t even decide what kind of hair style you have, your dad decides that? Sad.
    They say they live frugally, yada yada, and yet they can drive Rv’s and have so many cars, trucks, vans, golf carts, and landscaping equipment its crazy. The parents are always going on trips, while the kids get to go on “feild trips” its obivous that the kids sacrfice much more then the parents do.
    Well these are just a few of the things ive noticed watching this family, im sure everyone will disagree with me but whatever, its a obeservation.

  • J

    OH. MY. GOODNESS. I was a Quiverfull girl. That’s the way almost adult I ever met felt about me, and the way I saw them speak of other Quiverfull girs I knew. They really do not get it. At all. They have no psychological understanding of situations and what an environment does to you. Quiverfull girls are raised to please, and please we do. It appeals to the shallowness in others. Who is to say what the Duggar girls would listen to if they had a choice? There is far more than just bad misogynist music out there. THere is a whole world out there that they could choose to nourish their souls, find out about themselves — but their parents do not trust them. Your parents not trusting you is what strips away your confidenece more than *anything* else. It took me til 33 to even BEGIN to start having healthy realtionships w/a male. That comes from a good father and feeling you are competent and valuable. Being denied interaction with teenage boys ? – that’s not the way to being a healthy woman. Being sheltered makes life harder, not easier. I was SOOO insecure as Quiverfull daughter! Parents loved me as I was hellpful and kind and sweet. I was NOT confident. Young Women are taught to act, and we are punished if we do not – so I acted. This guy is so off base in his assessment. It’s a nice world for men when women and girls are sweet, compliant, interested in talking to you (because they live under surveillance and barely have free time so want to talk to ANYBODY , they are bored to death). IT is nice for men when girls and young women are so well behaved and controlled. But it’s is NOT a nice world for the girls themselves.

  • J

    It does not matter if the Duggars say they are not “Quiverfull”. My parents didn’tuse the word “Quiverfull” but we were Quiverfull by most peoples’ idea. That term was coined to describe a family in which there is no birth control used, and generally, Quiverful families including the Duggars are consevative Christians, mom at home, dad working, homeschoolig, the girls are in dresses or skirts or jumpers, dating is prohibited, the children are sheltered in the exxtreme and usually homeschooled, and oftentimes they exercise extreme control in what their children watch, listen to, read, etc. THerefore in fact, the children, the teens, are not “free”. Freedom to explore the world …that is freedom. Anyway, So whatever they call themselves, if it looks like a duck, it’s a duck.

  • Lsndr

    My girls are 19 and 24. They are both wonderful mature girls and are mature Christians.

    I don’t think God wants us to live in a coccoon. If we aren’t out in the world living then how do we effect others?

    I think God wants us to live full complete lives. Enjoying all of his creation.

    My girls went to public schools and attended college. No they did not live at home. I never had problems with my girls being disrespectful or premiscous.

    I always talked to my girls. I respected who they were and encouraged them in their intersts.

    The Duggars never let their kids try new things or experience the world. How can they say the are mature christians when their beliefs are never tested? When the Duggars went on a mission trip to Belize it was such a joke. It was so embarrassing to watch. They acted like they were the Great White Saviors riding in on their white horses. Geez!!! Talk about patronizing.

    I think the Duggar girls need to be allowed to get jobs and live on their own so they can make the best decisions at what God wants for them.

  • Annie

    There are so many things wrong with Mr. Richard’s assessment, I don’t think I could put it all in one comment. The freedom to be themselves is an interesting comment. He saw three young women ( they stopped being girls a while ago) who only interact with their own family, or with others if, approved by their parents. Second, the girls appeared happy, because they are always happy, because that is what is expected. Third, the freedom you refer to is not something you or those three young women understand. Do you seriously think, given the choice they would speak to you instead of maybe meeting a young man or men their own age? Or making a new friend of a young woman they didn’t know or maybe just going rock-climbing or sailing? The freedom thing hasn’t even scratched the surface.

  • Rebecca

    There are so many comments on this board that I could answer, but I’m only going to cover the trend I saw running all through here: many of you hate homeschooling, and any parent who chooses such a method is isolating their children from having a real life.

    The. Latter. Is. Not. True. Isolated homeschoolers are the exception, not the rule.

    When we were still dating, my husband and I agreed we would homeschool our children. I went to public school from kindergarten through university, and my husband went mostly to Christian school. We made our decision mainly due to the fact that California schools are crap. That’s all. California is #46 in education. Many kids in my graduating class in high school could barely read. The only reason I thrived was because I enjoy learning and taught myself a lot of the time, and I fortunately had a few teachers who would play to that.

    I was also an Awana leader for twelve years and one of the things I did was hear sections during Handbook Time. The contrast between public, private, and home schooling was extremely sharp. A few public school kids knew how to memorize and comprehend what they read, but the majority didn’t. Private school kids were a mixed bag–there were those who were lackadaisical and others who were gung-ho. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, consistently were prepared, they understood what they read, and they retained it. Plus, they didn’t lose interest in the program once they hit the sixth grade, which happened most of the time with the public or private school girls, even the overachievers.

    I have seen the bi-product of California education outside Awana too. As a docent with my county’s museum division, I’ve done my share of Living History programs, and seen so many kids who lack even the most basic skills. Like using scissors. Or tying knots. More than once I had to literally bite my tongue to restrain my chagrin when kids would ask me what sewing was. Yeah. Sewing. Um, that’s not good. It’s par for the course in the Golden State, though.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe the Duggars are only pretending for the cameras in regards to their education. I don’t know them personally, but my nieces and nephew are homeschooled, and the oldest is a high school senior who has just begun attending the local junior college. All three kids are constantly interacting with their peers in various settings–soccer, 4-H, gymnastics, and so on, not to mention they’ve hung out with pretty much every kid in their neighborhood. Does that sound like oppression to anybody? My husband’s cousin homeschooled all six of her kids, and two of them just graduated from Biola. All of these kids act the same way in private as they do in public, and they’re also quite confident and poised. I should know. I’m family.

    One more point before I close. California, like most of America, has to contend with No Child Left Behind, which is bad enough, but our kids also have bills like SB48 and Jerry Brown’s bathroom bill to further degrade the situation. Google these things if you don’t believe me, but as a responsible parent I refuse to send my kids into a hazardous environment in the name of “socialization.” It’s not worth it.

  • Jono

    I agree with you about homeschooling. So long as you aren’t an intolerant, Bible thumping lunatic who treats children as cattle and denigrates women, you’re good people.

    I have seen homeschooled kids turn out to be socially stunted and just totally unprepared for the real world. The biggest concern is that school is not just about learning, it is about environment – kids need to be able to interact, compete, befriend and learn from other kids, of all different shapes, origins and backgrounds. You seem to have fully realized this, and have integrated your kids into age appropriate activities where they can just be kids.

    Personally, I wouldn’t ever do homeschooling. I am lucky to have a good school system, but I also think that the experience of the school environment is irreplaceable. Certainly, if my child didn’t take to it, I would find an alternate solution, but for the most part, the pros outweigh the cons.

    All that being said, I cannot stand the Duggars, and certainly do think they oppress their children. Sure, the kids may get a top quality education, but it’s inundated with their parents’ fundamentalist learnings. Rejection of specific sciences, philosophies and humanities is a gross abuse of the control they have over the minds of those kids. It’s one thing to teach your beliefs; it is another thing ENTIRELY to deny evidence of any other beliefs and take away the choice to learn about them. Not only that, but solely religious based teachings aren’t capable of functioning in the real world. That’s probably why those kids aren’t allowed to go to college – they’d be able to read at a higher level than anyone, but would be laughed out for thinking the world is only 6000 years old. Or worse, not accepting a female instructor’s authority. Those kids aren’t capable of living in reality, and can only be confined to the tiny fantasy land constructed by their parents. They have no other place to go, no other options.

    That, to me, is oppression.

  • I was stupid enough to write to ask them about gender stereotyping and my Inbox got flooded with Christian spam for months. Took me forever to finally get rid of it. Never again.

  • Haha ChickaChicka

    The Duggar parents may like it or not, but their children are eventually going to be exposed to society at large. It would be unrealistic to think that out of 19 children, all will follow their beliefs and lifestyle. I would say if all 19 children DO follow in their parent’s footsteps, it is proof that there is manipulation of free will going on here.

    This is America. We don’t all like where we come from, but we can change that. If those girls are unhappy with their upbringing, they will hopefully just move out on their own and do their own thing. With the sort of fame and notoriety the family enjoys, it would be nearly impossible to repress their opinions were they to speak out against their parents as adults. And we all know the media will eat it up…

    In fact, here is my projection. At least two of the Duggar kids are homosexual and at least one will have very public substance abuse problems. I bet it will be a girl too.

    And just wait until those kids can all speak for themselves. Can’t wait for that tell-all book! Being too strict with children and limiting their exposure WILL backfire when they realize you have pretty much been lying to them about how the world really is for all of their lives. The world can be a seedy place, but hiding your children does not make it easier to deal with later.

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