19+ Kids and Counting: Incredibly Strict Rules the Duggar Family Has To Follow

Fri May 13 2022

In 2008, the Duggar Family made their way into the spotlight – and what an entrance they made. 19 Kids and Counting allowed real-life couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to show off their humungous family (with all 19 kids’ names starting with the letter “J”) and their devout Baptist lifestyle, and fans were instantly hooked. The show ran from 2008 until 2015, and later a spin-off show ran from 2015 until 2021. And as we watched the family grow up on both of these programs, we also watched the family grow in number…

Keeping track of 19 kids, 10 sons and daughters-in-law, and 22 grandchildren (with even more to come), is no easy feat for the Duggar Family. But it seems as though the new generation of Duggar moms and dads are taking a leaf out of their own parents’ book when it comes to their parenting style. After all, Jim Bob and Michelle run a tight ship – even if the rest of the world (and a couple of their own rebellious kids) don’t quite agree with their strict and bizarre household rules. What do you make of the Duggar Family guidelines?

The Duggar Daughters Aren’t Allowed to Cut or Dye Their Hair

When looking at the Duggar Family, it’s easy to see that they all go to the same hair salon. And, in fact, they kind of do. One of the biggest Duggar rules is that they shouldn’t spend money on unnecessary things, which is why none of the kids have ever been to a proper hair salon. They’ve had to cut each other’s hair since they were born, and even then they have a limit on how much they can cut. Jim Bob and Michelle make sure that all of their children keep their long hair undyed and natural.

As if that wasn’t enough, most of the Duggar daughters have spent their lives rocking their curly locks – something that reportedly came from American Christian minister Bill Gothard. In his eyes, curly hair brings out a woman’s natural beauty should be encouraged. However, many of the older Duggar daughters have broken these hair rules over the years. Joy-Anna has dyed her hair darker and even cut bangs, and Jill Duggar recently dyed her (still curled) hair blonde.

Birth Control Is Something They Should Avoid at All Costs

The Duggars love their large family, and they are governed by their strong Independent Fundamentalist Baptist beliefs. Because of this, Jim Bob and Michelle are against any member of their family using birth control – but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t used it in the past. The couple confirmed that they used birth control after the birth of their eldest son Josh, but they are now vehemently against it.

In their 2008 memoir, Jim Bob and Michelle wrote “As conservative Christians, we believe every life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. … We prayed and studied the Bible and found a host of references that told us God considered children a gift, a blessing, and a reward.” And while many of their children have avoided birth control over the years, shunned family members Jill and Derick Dillard have noted that they’ve broken this deep family rule and have used non-hormonal birth control in the past.

The Duggar Daughters Aren’t Allowed to Wear Pants or Show Their Knees

While many parents like to give the o-k on their children’s outfits before they leave the house, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have a more official rule when it comes to their children and grandchildren. Their big rule is that women shouldn’t be allowed to wear pants and should only wear long, modest skirts that always cover their knees. Jinger Duggar wrote in her 2021 memoir that this rule came from Deuteronomy 22:5, which says, ‘A woman shall not wear a man’s garment.’

While many of the older Duggar daughters have upheld this rule throughout their lives, they often get creative with their outfits, stating that “this does not mean we go out dressing frumpy or trying to look formless. Clothing can be cute, trendy, and stylish, and still entirely modest.” As they’ve gotten older, though, some of the women have completely rebelled against this rule entirely. Many of the Duggar daughters have been spotted wearing pants in recent years.

All Duggar Children Have to Be Homeschooled

19 Kids and Counting was a shocking revelation for smaller families across the globe, not only because Jim Bob and Michelle were raising 19 kids – but also because they were homeschooling all of them at the same time. The Duggars wholeheartedly believe that homeschooling their children is the best way to teach them “a Christian-based curriculum – one in which there’s a lot of character emphasis, character-building like responsibility, honesty, self-control.”

Because of this, all 19 of the Duggar children were and are homeschooled, and now almost all of the Duggar grandchildren are having the same experience. But while most of the older Duggars are homeschooling their own kids, there is one Duggar daughter who is pushing back against this rule. Jill Duggar decided against homeschooling and has sent her son Israel to public school – something which hasn’t gone down well with her family.

They’re Not Allowed to Drink or Smoke Under Any Circumstances

The Duggar family chooses to abstain from many things, including alcohol and narcotics. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been extremely open about their decision to stay away from alcohol at all times, and the fact that there is a strict “no alcohol” policy in their homes. While growing up, the older kids staunchly followed this rule. But now they’re older and have their own families, some of them have strayed.

In fact, Jill posted photo evidence of herself breaking this rule in September 2020, and fans were aghast to see a piña colada next to her in this photo with her husband. Jill responded to this backlash by stating that “Growing up, the whole idea of drinking was not encouraged. I know my parents would not be happy with it, and I know that my siblings, some more than others, would probably have an issue with it. Other ones would probably be like, ‘Whatever’s good for y’all, that’s fine. Live your life.’ So far nobody’s said anything to us about it.”

Potential Dates Have to Be Screened, and Chaperones Need to Be Present

Dating a member of the Duggar family isn’t easy. It’s been confirmed that any potential suitor looking to date a member of the family is required to fill out a lengthy questionnaire (complete with 423 questions) beforehand – and then Jim Bob Duggar analyses the answers to decipher whether he thinks the suitor is acceptable or not. But that’s just the start of the dating process.

If the suitor passes the first screening test, the dating stage isn’t much easier. In their eyes, men and women shouldn’t be alone together, which is why every single date is chaperoned by a parent or older (married) sibling. Jim Bob stated on his show that “A lot of times, if you’re alone with the person, that can create desires that can kind of get stirred up and you don’t have any accountability. It can kind of lead to some hanky-panky.” So, the chaperone ensures that no “hanky panky” occurs.

No Matter the Circumstance, Divorce Is Frowned Upon

There are countless people around the world who do not believe in divorce, and it seems as though the Duggar family also follows this same belief. They believe in the sanctity and the long-lasting nature of marriage, which is why they frown upon divorce – even in sad and unfortunate circumstances. Duggar women are taught from a young age to stand by their husbands no matter what, and walking away from them is not given to them as an option.

Fans saw this for themselves when Josh Duggar was charged with molesting young girls – including his younger siblings – in 2015. While many urged his wife Anna to leave him, she stuck by him through it all. She continued to do so in 2021 when her husband was arrested and incarcerated for receiving and possessing child pornography. A source told The Sun that Anna is “standing by her husband as she always has.”

All Forms of Media Have to Be Pre-Approved by Jim Bob Duggar

While the Duggar family rose to fame on television and have since written countless books about their family and their life experiences, it seems as though they have some strict rules about the media as a whole. As the patriarch and the “leader” of the family, it’s Jim Bob Duggar’s job to pre-approve all of the television watched, the books read, and the music listened to by his family.

Jim Bob is apparently so strict about the media his family consumes that there hasn’t even been music at his children’s weddings. In 2015, he also wrote an open letter to fathers everywhere, explaining that fathers should “start protecting your family by removing books, magazines, television or internet that have wordly or sensual content. Replace them with good things like wholesome music, biographies of great Christians, good old-fashioned family fun and games.”

Any Type of Body Piercing Isn’t Allowed Under the Duggar Roof

With strong opinions and rules about how their children should dress and present themselves, it should probably come as no surprise to learn that Michelle and Jim Bob are against body piercing. This rule applies to every inch of the body, from earlobes to noses. Any type of body piercing is completely frowned upon, and you won’t find any of the younger Duggars secretly getting their belly buttons pierced. There is one rebellious sister, though…

Jill Duggar has long been considered to be the black sheep of the family. She’s broken countless rules and seems to be making a life on her own terms, rather than being ruled by her family. She proved this to the world many years ago when she decided to get her nose pierced – something she shows off proudly on social media for everyone to see.

Unmarried Duggars Can’t Have Their Own Social Media Accounts

The Duggar Family Instagram page boasts a whopping 1.3 million followers, and while many of the older Duggars have their own personal accounts as well, you may have noticed that the younger, unmarried Duggars don’t. That’s because they’re not allowed to have their own social media accounts. Not until they’re married, anyway.

It’s been suggested that Michelle and Jim Bob do not allow their younger, unmarried children to have social media accounts so early on in their lives to protect them from online dangers – and to protect them from being led astray. When they’re married, they are given a little more control over their own lives, and many of the older daughters have embraced this newfound sense of freedom online.

As the Patriarch, Jim Bob Duggar Is Always in Charge

Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar follow a very traditional, religious life. While many modern families are switching up gender roles and embracing a more progressive future, it seems as though the Duggars are happy with the patriarchal way in which they run their household. In his eyes, Jim Bob is the “spiritual leader” and the “coach of the home.”

The Duggar’s believe that the patriarch is always in charge, and they won’t have it any other way. It’s Jim Bob’s job to read the Bible to his family, pray with his wife, ask Jesus for forgiveness, provide for his family, and to protect them from anything he considers to be unholy. This includes “sensual material” that may lead them astray and away from the path of God.

Abstinence Is Perhaps the Biggest Rule of Them All

Anyone who has followed the Duggar family tree over the years will know that it often gets bigger shortly after a wedding. Many put this down to the fact that every single member of the Duggar family must remain abstinent until they get married – and we’re not just talking about consummating a marriage. Any form of physical intimacy is prohibited until that day they say “I do.”

Michelle Duggar taught her kids that “it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage. That way there are no regrets.” However, it has been noted that Jim Bob and Michelle let their kids decide their own (PG) boundaries in the run-up to their marriage. Jessa Duggar decided to give her husband-to-be a “brief side-hug when we’re greeting or saying goodbye” and Jim Bob allowed them to hold hands before their wedding if they wanted to.

They’re Not Allowed to Help Unwed Mothers Even if They Want To

The Duggar family are strong believers that men and women should abstain from sexual intercourse until they get married, but it seems as though they don’t just follow this rule themselves. They also expect others to follow that rule – and they won’t sympathize or help anyone who finds themselves pregnant while unmarried. This was proven in 2015 when Jill (who was a practicing midwife at the time) was not allowed to help her friend Susanna Keller.

Susanna is the sister of Anna Duggar, Jill’s sister-in-law, and when Jill discovered that Anna was pregnant she wanted to help deliver her child. However, she wasn’t allowed to. A source told RadarOnline that “Jill was very excited to assist Susanna through the birth. Michelle and Jim Bob, however, wouldn’t let her participate. They thought Jill shouldn’t be exposed to an unmarried mother in that condition.”

Texting Is Supervised by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

When a member of the Duggar family goes on a date, they have to be chaperoned – but the supervision doesn’t end there. In today’s day and age, young people often communicate via their phones, and texting has become a major tool in strengthening a relationship. While the Duggar family members are allowed to text the people they’re dating, these text exchanges are supervised and monitored by their parents.

When Jessa Duggar and her now-husband Ben were dating, Jim Bob and Michelle confirmed that they joined in the conversation as part of a family thread. The patriarch stated that “It’s neat to see their conversations” and Ben confessed that their addition to the conversation allowed them “to get to know me a little better… and see what we were talking about, see what kind of questions we were asking, and they could throw in some questions, too, and hop in on the conversation.”

Music That Encourages Dancing Has No Place in the Duggar Household

While many kids love a boogie with their parents in the living room, there’s no place for dancing in the Duggar household. Michelle has previously stated that dancing can prompt “sensual feelings”, and Jim Bob has noted that “I think any of the little ones, when they hear music, they start jiggling around; that’s natural. That’s why we’re careful about the music we allow in our home.” Because of this, there are strict rules about what the kids can and can’t listen to.

While the whole family enjoys listening to and making religious songs and music, other types of music are censored – like rock music. Jim Bob explained in a 2019 episode of Counting On “We noticed when there was a rock beat, the kids would be jumping around. We thought, the more calm the music, the more calm the kids would be.” So, the kids listen to “a conservative side of music and no dancing.”

Female Duggars Are Taught to Satisfy Their Husband’s Every Need

While Jim Bob Duggar is the leader of the pack, it’s Michelle’s job to teach her daughters everything required of them as a wife and a mom. She’s done this from a young age, teaching her girls how to cook, clean, and satisfy a man’s needs. In fact, she believes that it’s a woman’s job to be on-hand whenever her husband needs it – even if it’s inconvenient for them.

The matriarch has stated that “Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love. You always need to be available when he calls.” It’s not known what her daughters think of this rule, but almost all of the women in the family are now married with children of their own. So, they may also be passing this rule down to their own daughters.

A Duggar Christmas Doesn’t Include Santa Claus

For many people around the world, Christmas is a huge holiday filled with fun, laughter, and presents. And while the Duggar family does celebrate Christmas, they do so in a slightly different way. They still get together and enjoy some quality family time, but there is one person missing from the festivities; Santa Claus. That’s because the family prefers to focus more on Jesus than Saint Nick.

Michelle has stated that “Early in our marriage, Jim Bob and I really wanted to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. And so, we didn’t focus on Santa. We kept that idea out of the whole celebration, we explained to the children who Santa was historically but focused on his good deeds and his ministering to children. We tell them about the true person of Saint Nicholas but don’t sensationalize him.” So, they spend their day reading from the Bible and singing songs rather than exchanging expensive gifts.

You Won’t Find the Duggars Celebrating Halloween

Around October time, you’ll find many families around the world gather together to trick or treat, decorate their houses with skeletons, and watch witchy movies in order to celebrate Halloween. And while the Duggar family have been known to dress up and visit the pumpkin patch around this time, they don’t celebrate this holiday like the rest of these families. That’s because this holiday doesn’t mesh with their religious beliefs.

Michelle Duggar has confirmed that the family “do go to pumpkin patches and corn mazes [but] we don’t do the Halloween thing. From the beginning of our marriage, we just kind of felt like we didn’t want to celebrate that holiday. But we enjoy the harvest celebration. Our church fellowship has had different celebrations through the years that we’ve been a part of, ones where the children can play games and receive candy and toys and do all kinds of fun things, like a cake walk.”

The Kids Are Told to Stay Away From the Beach

The Duggar family loves to go on family trips as a way to connect and spend time with each other. And while they have previously all taken a trip to the beach together, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have encouraged their kids to stay away from the beach when they’re not with the whole family. Even when they did visit the beach as a group, the Duggar daughters had to dress modestly and cover themselves up.

Michelle spoke to E! News about the Duggar stance on the beach, stating that “It’s just too hard for the guys to try and keep their eyes averted.” In order to avoid any wandering eyes or advances, Michelle and Jim Bob prefer to keep their daughters away from the beach instead. This way, they can remain safe and secure at home without any chance of “hanky panky.”

The Duggar Women Aren’t Allowed to Work or Apply for Jobs

Known for their conservative and rather traditional rules and beliefs, the Duggar family’s stance on men and women’s roles in the home should come as no surprise. While Jim Bob Duggar is the breadwinner as a real estate agent and politician, Michelle Duggar does not work. Instead, she takes pride in running the Duggar household and homeschooling their children. In their eyes, that’s how every family should be.

In fact, Michelle Duggar has never worked – as they believe that a mother should be at home with her husband and kids at all time. This is something that they have passed down to their own daughters, as the Duggar daughters are encouraged to avoid working or applying for jobs. In this modern world, however, the next generation of female Duggars are making money from writing books and promoting products on social media.

Blanket Training Is Taught From an Extremely Young Age

Every parent has their own parenting techniques, and while every mom or dad’s parenting journey is unique, there are some techniques that are frowned upon – and the Duggars happen to use one of the most controversial parenting techniques of all time. Throughout their time in the limelight, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have been huge supporters of “Blanket Training”, and now many of their own kids are using the same techniques for the next generation.

“Blanket Training” is a form of obedience training whereby a parent puts their baby on a blanket while also putting a toy just out of their reach. When the baby tries to reach for the toy, the parent tells them “No” and hits the child lightly. The idea is that the child will learn to obey commands without questioning them, but the technique has been criticized by many people around the globe. Some have even labeled this technique as “abuse.”

The Duggars Are Taught to Shun Rebellious Family Members

While the majority of the Duggar family obey the rules that Michelle and Jim Bob set out, there are others who have strayed from these guidelines in the past. Amy Duggar – who is the niece of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar – has been shunned from the family after she decided to forge her own path and live her own life away from these rules. But she’s not the only one, as Jill Duggar has also found herself becoming estranged from her strict parents.

The tension between Jill, her siblings, and her parents reached a boiling point in 2017 when she and her husband decided to leave the family’s spin-off show early. She has since chosen to raise her children her own way, and has confirmed that “We’re not on the best terms with some of my family.” While she hopes that one day they will grow closer again, she’s noted that “I really just have to follow God’s lead and take it one day at a time.”

The Duggars Are Wholeheartedly Against Tattoos

It’s not uncommon for parents to be against tattoos, and some beg their kids to avoid inking their skin at any point during their lives. But in a time where tattoos are becoming more and more common, it seems as though these parents are becoming more lenient. Not the Duggars, though. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar consider tattoos to be a grave sin, and they follow the teachings of the Bible to inflict this rule on their kids.

The Duggars point to Leviticus 19:28 for this rule, which reads: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Because of this, they are wholeheartedly against tattoos. And while the Duggars do love henna and temporary tattoos, none of the main Duggar family has broken this rule. However, Amy Duggar (the Duggar cousin) and Jeremy Vuolo (Jinger’s husband) do have tattoos.

The Siblings Aren’t Allowed to Be in the Same Room as the Opposite Sex

Thanks to their strong Baptist beliefs, the Duggars have strict rules when it comes to canoodling with the opposite sex. While we know that the Duggar kids aren’t allowed to have physical intimacy with their partners until they get married, what you might not realize is that this rule also applies in a platonic sense with their siblings. In fact, the siblings aren’t allowed to be in the same room with each other (alone) if they’re the opposite sex.

While the Duggar daughters and the Duggar sons can mix if they’re part of a larger group, they’re not allowed to have any alone time together as a sister and a brother. While Michelle and Jim Bob have not explained why this rule is in place, it seems as though it’s something they are sticking to – even now that many of their children are grown up and adults themselves.