The gigantic Duggar family became famous due to their successful reality show 19 Kids and Counting. When the show first premiered, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had 17 children. By the time it was canceled, the number had grown to 19. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.
1. Why Does The Duggar Family Have So Many Children
Michelle Duggar was just 17 years old when she married Jim Bob. The couple used birth control after their first baby was born in 1988, but Michelle got pregnant again before unfortunately suffering a miscarriage. They regretted and decided to have as many children as God would allow.
2. All The Kids' Names Start With The Letter "J"
Funnily enough, all their children's first names began with the letter "J". Did the family try to emulate the Kardashians? Even though that would be amazing, that was not the reason for the alliterative list. Michelle revealed in her blog that the inspiration came from the Bible. Surprised?
3. Code Word "Nike"
When older women in the Duggar family saw women who weren't dressed appropriately, they would shout the word "Nike." Then all the Duggar men, including dad, would pass by either covering their eyes or looking down at their shoes.
4. The Kids Were All Homeschooled
The couple are both devoted Baptists, and they were against certain practices in mainstream schools. So, mom Michelle decided to homeschool all her kids according to a Christian-based curriculum. Later on, they started using a program called Advanced Training Institute. Think that's unusual? Keep reading for more on the Duggars.
5. Michelle Duggar Revealed A Dark Secret
Michelle is well-known for her soft childlike, even baby-like voice. Her voice made her seem polite, but she has admitted a dark secret in that she had struggled with an anger problem. Her solution was to keep her voice extremely low and breathy, so she looked meeker and milder.
6. So Many Rules
As devout Baptists, the Duggar parents imposed strict rules on their children. Those rules included skirts only for girls, but no above-the-knee skirts, no dancing, no romantic novels, no pop music, and no alcohol for any of the kids. The parents even monitor all the kids' calls, texts and emails before they get married. If you think that goes too far, what comes next will totally surprise you.
7. Wanna Date A Duggar? Sorry, Chaperoned Date Only
Jim had a habit of scrutinizing all of his kids' potential partners. If any of the children was to meet a suitor, Jim, his wife or one of the elder children would have to accompany them on their date. Jim believed the chaperone could help prevent any physical intimacy. Well, yeah! Who's going to kiss with their dad sitting right there?
8. Will The Kids Kiss On Their Wedding Day?
But if the Duggar kids weren't allowed to kiss before marriage, how can they prevent embarrassment on their wedding day? Well, mom and dad also thought of this, and they even showed their kids how to properly kiss on live television! However, they didn't expect this to happen at one of their daughter's wedding.
9. Jessa Refused To Kiss The Groom At Her Wedding
Jessa, the fifth Duggar kid, declined to kiss her groom at the altar after they were named husband and wife. It seemed she wanted to keep that special moment for private, rather than in public. It might be surprising to some, but considering her family background, that makes sense.
10. Mom Lost Her 20th Child
Back in 2011, the couple learned that they were expecting their 20th child. However, they lost the baby during Michelle's second trimester. Since then, the couple hasn't tried for any more kids.
11. But There Indeed Are 20 Kids In Their Family
The couple did expand their family one more time. In 2016, they gained custody of their 8-year-old great-nephew, Tyler Duggar. This was because Tyler's mother, who was Michelle's niece, was not able to take care of her son. So now, they do in fact have 20 kids in their family.
12. The Girls Had To Keep Long Hair
You may have noticed that all the Duggar girls have very long and beautiful hair, which is not a coincidence. As devoted Christians, the Duggar daughters believe a woman's hair is her glory. In the Duggar family, religious beliefs trump all else.
13. Not Everything Happened On Camera Was True
There are always a few details you need to stretch or embelish to make a better reality show. In one episode of Counting On, the show faked the sale of an SUV to make Jinger Duggar seem more successful at her job. The buyer was invited to play the role of "the guy who wants to buy a car.
14. They Practiced Blanket Training
Blanket training is leaving a toddler alone on a blanket with toys, and training the baby not to leave the blanket until allowed to. If the baby crawls out without permission, he or she will be scolded. Some of the Duggar women have been known to use this method to teach their kids to follow instructions and have self-control.
15. The Eldest Duggar Daughter Still Lives With Her Parents
Jana Duggar, the eldest Duggar daughter, never moved away from her parents' home. This is because she is still single. She was often seen taking care of her younger siblings. One fan urged, "Get out and meet someone. Let your mom raise her kids. It's your turn."
16. The Show's Network Helped Build Their Home
When the show premiered over a decade ago, the couple and their 16 children were living in a tiny house. With the show's network and corporate sponsors' help, the family was able to move into a 7,000-square-foot house six years later.
17. Separated Rooms
As ridiculous as this may sound, their new house still had three bedrooms: one for the boys, one for the girls, and one for the couple. Girls' and boys' room were like a dormitory and locks were placed on each of them. The couple believed that the separation was necessary after their eldest son once hurt his four sisters in a fight.
18. Breaking Her Own Rule
Nobody expected that mom Michelle would break her own rule one day. Michelle was found wearing pants on a trip to Hawaii in 2015. And fans were in shock to see her breaking the skirts only rule again in 2017.
19. A Cute Wedding Tradition
Jim's mom gave Michelle her own wedding dress to wear for their wedding in the '80s. Michelle explained how she paid forward the tradition, "Now, the tradition has been that we've given a snippet of grandma's and my dress to our girls...for them to use in their wedding."
20. Little Kids Never Run To Mom For Comfort
It's common that small children run to their moms when they need to comfort. But in this show, fans never saw little kids running to their mom when something went wrong. Instead, they went to their elder siblings. Apparently, mom Michelle let older kids take care of younger ones.