Millipede: Part 6

patriarch

by Millipede I hated the the underlying spirit which had crept into our marriage; it was a peevish, disapproving air that my husband had taken on. In our “heathen” days my husband had a happy go lucky air. This was endearing and made up for the fact that he could be irresponsible. Under Christian patriarchy [Read More...]

Millipede: Part 5

headless

by Millipede   Peevish men, wives who watched every word and worse they really embraced the submission beliefs. The wives would gripe very rarely about their husbands and the work and if they did they were sure to say that they weren’t in disagreement with the system, ,merely letting off a little steam. The women [Read More...]

Millipede: Part 4

control

by Millipede Although the “dress code” was the most glaring example of our changing mindset.There were other changes which were just as bad if not worse in the long run. My husband started to implement “order in the home”. Although not as extreme as the other men, he considered himself the head of the household. [Read More...]

Carefully Scripted Lives – The Real Reality of the Duggar Family "Blessings"

by Libby Anne

I can’t say how often I’ve heard ordinary Americans defend Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their popular TLC television show, 19 Kids and Counting. “I wouldn’t choose to have nineteen kids,” they say, “but if they can manage it, who am I to question their choice?” “The kids look happy and healthy,” they say, “look how polite and well mannered they are.” I hear these comments and I just have to sigh.

First of all, I want to pout out that I would have concerns about the Duggars even if they were your ordinary family plus seventeen extra children. For one thing, there is no way any two parents can give nineteen children the individual attention and time they need. It’s just not feasibly possible. The Duggars like to say that “love multiplies,” but the thing is, time doesn’t. And then, of course, there is the population issue.

But it’s not these things I’m going to discuss here. The fact is, the Duggars aren’t just your ordinary family plus seventeen extra children. There is a great deal of editing that goes into making TV, and one thing that gets edited out are the Duggars’ religious beliefs and their beliefs about child rearing. There is much, much more going on here than you see on TV.

I know this because I grew up in a family very much like the Duggars. We had a third fewer kids and we didn’t have a TV show, but otherwise it was about the same. Our beliefs were nearly identical to theirs, as was our way of living. When I look at the older Duggar girls, I see myself. I was them. With that in mind, I’m going to take a moment to outline nine specific concerns I have about the Duggars.

1. Isolation and Indoctrination

The Duggar childern are homeschooled in part in order to shelter them from bad influences, i.e. from other kids and teachers who hold different beliefs or live different sorts of lives. The Duggar kids don’t have friends who aren’t pre-approved by their parents. In fact, the Duggar kids aren’t even involved in church activities – their family participates in a “home church” where they and several other like-minded families get together on Sunday mornings and worship together.

Furthermore, even the older Duggar children are not allowed to go anywhere without having an “accountability partner,” i.e. another sibling, to keep tabs on them. When one of the older boys volunteered at the local fire department, one of his sisters always went with him to keep an eye on him and make sure he didn’t get in trouble.

Another reason the Duggar children are homeschooled is in order to teach them “God’s truth.” This means that they use religious textbooks, creationist science curriculum, etc. I understand that we have this thing called “freedom of religion” in our country, but I also believe that children have a right to an education, and teaching children one side of everything becomes indoctrination rather than education.

Not surprisingly, the Duggars’ computers have internet access limited to about seventy “approved” websites. To get unlimited internet access, the children – even the older ones – have to get a password from their mother and then have another sibling sitting by them watching the screen as they surf the web to make sure they stay out of trouble. The main reason for this is likely to keep the children from viewing internet pornography, but it also helps ensure that they don’t get subversive information or other viewpoints.

2. Children raising children

If you think Michelle is the one raising all of those kids, think again. Those older daughters, some of them already adults, are the ones who are actually doing the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and childcare. They are, in effect, raising their younger siblings.

Now I’m not saying Michelle sits back and watches soap operas while the kids work, but rather that with that many children there is simply too much for her to do on her own. She doesn’t have the time or energy to raise her children without her older daughters’ help. And fortunately, because the Duggars homeschool, those older daughters are available to help 24/7.

The Duggars have this thing called the “buddy system.” When each new child is born, that child is assigned to one of the older children. In this way, the older children are responsible for dressing, feeding, and even educating the younger children. Michelle hadthis to say about the buddy system:

This house would not work if we didn’t have the buddy system. The older children mentor the younger ones. They help them with their little phonics lessons and games during the day, help them practice their music lessons. They will play with them or help them pick out the color of their outfit that they want to wear that day, and just all of those types of things.

I’m all for siblings helping each other and playing together, but this goes way further than this. This is siblings raising each other. And as we’ll see, this means a lot of sacrifice for the older siblings doing the raising. [Read more...]

But They Look So Happy!

Excerpted from Dulce De Leche:

All of the recent news about the Duggar’s newest baby spawned a number of online arguments.  One of the most frequent comments was about how cheerful their family is, especially the children.  How Michelle is a great mom who doesn’t yell.  It must be working for them, because the kids are well behaved and look happy.  Sounds reasonable, right?

I might believe it, if I didn’t know what I know of Gothard/ATI and the Pearls.  The Duggars are deeply enmeshed in ATI, and ATI takes allegiance very seriously.  It isn’t a vague Statement of Beliefs that you sign so your kids can take the courses.  It is several pages of in depth info that covers what kind of music you can listen to (no Christian rock), the kind of TV you watch (mainly Christian DVDs), the way you dress (those jumpers are about modesty), the kind of punishments the parents use (spankings), and more.  It isn’t just a curriculum–it is a lifestyle that delves into family finances, child planning and every other detail.

There has long been a lot of speculation about whether the Duggars use the controversial punishment methods taught by Michael and Debi Pearl in To Train Up a Child.  Things like the blanket training, certain phrases that are used, and the general popularity within that subculture have fueled that, as well as many people who claim that it was recommended previously on the website.  I can’t prove that they follow TTUAC, but as of yesterday, the Duggar’s website included it in their Amazon links along with a glowing recommendation.  Considering that some of the other recommendations list personal details about how the materials were used by the family, I cannot believe that it was randomly included on their site without their approval.

One of the creepiest things about Gothard and the Pearls is that they teach that happy is the only acceptable emotion.  If you do not have a joyful countenance, you are publicly shaming your authorities.  In other words, if the kid looks unhappy, it is a personal offense against the parents.  Pearl also has nauseating quotes and anecdotes about how any time his kids expressed unhappiness or anger they were hit even harder and longer until they were cheerful.  How twisted is that?  These children are taught from babyhood to always be cheerful, or else they deserve a spanking.  As they grow older, it is not just the fear of a spanking that causes them to keep smiling.  It is the sincere belief that they are sinning with ingratitude, rebellion and more if they don’t present a happy face.

Full post …

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