10 parenting rules followed by the Duggars

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had strict parenting rules for their children. Pic credit: TLC

Raising 19 kids, plus Tyler Hutchins, has given Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar quite a lot of time to think about rules. 

Their parenting has come into question time and time again, yet some of their rules make sense to those who heavily follow the family. 

From their dress codes to how they raise their little ones, a lot has been brought up about the parenting rules the Duggars have in their house. 

Once the Duggar siblings move out, they are allowed to adapt their own set of standards. Jill and Jinger are two Duggar daughters that live very differently than how they were raised. 

These are 10 parenting rules followed by the Duggars. 

Dress modestly 

The older Duggar daughters celebrating Jill.
Modest dress attire is the only thing allowed in the Duggar home. Pic credit: TLC

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar require their daughters to dress modestly. As long as they are under Jim Bob and Michelle’s roof, they wear long skirts or dresses, no pants. Shirts need to have sleeves and no v-necks. Long sleeves are preferred, but in the hotter months, short sleeves are okay too. 

As for swimwear, the girls were expected to remain covered up if they had the opportunity to swim. They didn’t do much of it, so it wasn’t a huge deal for the children. 

While some of the adult married daughters have deviated from this style, the girls still living at home, except for Jana Duggar, still wear skirts and dresses exclusively. 

Homeschooling is the only option 

Jessa Duggar helping with school work.
The older sisters helped with schooling the younger children. Pic credit: TLC

To avoid contact with the secular world, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar homeschooled all of their children. They decided on their own curriculum, which allowed for individualized and tailored plans for each child. 

Anna Duggar also chose to homeschool her children. Often, she and Michelle would teach the kids together, some of which was shown on 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On episodes. 

Jill Duggar was the first Duggar sibling to choose public school for her son, Israel. He was the first grandchild who wasn’t born to Anna and Josh Duggar, and Jill and Derick Dillard felt public school was right for their family. Jessa Duggar hasn’t announced her plans for Spurgeon, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was homeschooled as well.

No secular music, movies, or television 

Joy-Anna Duggar in the music corner.
Many of the Duggar children learned to play the piano. Pic credit: TLC

Not only are the Duggar kids homeschooled, but their choices in music, movies, and television are monitored.

They aren’t allowed to listen to mainstream music at all. There were hymns they learned and sheet music they played, but anything that could “corrupt” their minds wasn’t played at all. No dancing is acceptable either, so anything with an upbeat tune or something that would encourage the children to move was forbidden. 

As for television or movies, what they were allowed to watch was decided on a case-by-case basis. They were shown what Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar wanted them to see. Documentaries were played, and there were other exceptions, but everything was sifted through and heavily checked over before getting into the children’s hands. 

The Counting On kids do not date

Jessa and Ben talking about courting.
Even though Ben pursued Jessa, they didn’t date. Pic credit: TLC

None of the Duggar siblings were allowed to date in any capacity. Courtships are the only thing acceptable, and typically they only happen when the sibling is an adult. 

Justin Duggar announced he was courting Claire Spivey before his 18th birthday but didn’t become engaged until he was legally an adult. 

As for the courtship rules, they are pretty strict as well. No kissing until marriage, side hugs only, no outings without a chaperone, and others. 

There has only been one failed courtship that was publicly announced. In 2015, Josiah Duggar announced he was courting Marjorie Jackson, but that ended after Josh Duggar was revealed to have inappropriately touched his sisters in May 2015. The incident occurred a decade prior, but the police report was made public then. 

The Duggar family kept everything about their lives focused on God

Kendra, Joseph, Jessa, and Ben at a couple's retreat.
God first in everything they do. Pic credit: TLC

For the entire time the Duggar family was on reality TV, they preached about their religion. Every chance they got to talk about God, they did it. 

The Duggar children were raised in religion, and they have been vocal about their love and adoration for God on several occasions. 

Ben Seewald, Jessa Duggar’s husband, is an ordained minister. Jinger Duggar’s husband, Jeremy Vuolo, is in seminary school and preaching at a church in Los Angeles. Both women chose men of faith, which was a big plus for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar when they gave the couples their blessing. 

Blanket training 

Duggar granddaughters born in November 2019.
Blanket training begins once the baby is mobile and able to crawl. Pic credit: TLC

There has been a lot of talk about blanket training since the Duggars rose to fame. They used the teaching methods of Michael and Debi Pearl, which were intended to teach children obedience and patience at an early age. 

The method was taught in the To Train Up a Child book written by the Pearls. It is controversial, and several followers and critics have called out the family on the method they use. 

Blanket training is a method where a mobile baby or toddler is placed on a blanket in the middle of a room and then left there. When they move, they are hit with a ruler or another object. Each time it happens, they receive the punishment. It is supposed to teach obedience and compliance at a young age. 

Duggar fathers are mostly hands-off 

Jim Bob Duggar in a confessional.
Jim Bob Duggar didn’t spend a lot of time with the children. Pic credit: TLC

Growing up in the Duggar world, Michelle Duggar was the one in charge. Jim Bob was busy working and making deals while she and the older children ran the household. 

He didn’t spend a lot of time with the children. Michelle did all of the household work while he was out working. When filming, he was around more, but building up his real estate portfolio and other businesses was more important. 

Buddy teams 

Jessa, Johannah, and Jennifer Duggar.
The older sisters helmed the buddy teams. Pic credit: TLC

When the Duggars began to have more children, they established the buddy teams. The older girls helmed them, and when a new baby was born and finished nursing, they were handed off to the next daughter in line. 

Over the years, the buddy teams grew. Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger were the captains. As the girls married off, the groups dissipated. 

Currently, the remaining Duggar children in the home are all over the age of 10. 


Jessa and Jinger Duggar worked as a team.
Cleaning the closets was part of the process. Pic credit: TLC

Chores were called jurisdictions. Each child knew what they were responsible for getting done, and that was how keeping the house clean and organized was handled. 

The girls had more responsibilities than the boys. It was typical that the daughters would take care of the inside things while the boys were given the task of the outdoors things, including yard work and garbage. 

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar used the jurisdiction rule to ensure the house was kept in tip-top shape and everyone was involved in the process. 

Don’t speak out publicly on anything 

Jinger Duggar talking about the Josh Duggar 2015 scandal.
Jinger speaking out about Josh on camera. Pic credit: TLC

This Duggar parenting rule has extended even into the married siblings’ lives. Growing up, the children were told not to speak about the family at all. 

They were always part of the interviews and other things once their popularity skyrocketed, but they weren’t allowed to talk about what happened within the house. 

This was one of the biggest reasons the incident with Josh Duggar touching a few of his sisters wasn’t made public for nearly a decade. What happens in the house, stays in the house is the mantra they go by. Once it was made public, Jim Bob Duggar insisted Jill and Jessa talked about it with Megyn Kelly. Then, Counting On did an episode where many of the siblings addressed it, but in a way where Jim Bob had the control.

Even now, many of the siblings refuse to speak out against the family. Only recently, Jill Duggar shared her truth with her husband, Derick Dillard, by her side. 

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Florida reader
Florida reader
2 years ago

I just read this article above about the Duggers. I certainly hope this blanket training for the babies is false and not true cause if it is true, then it’s cruelty/abusive to children. You don’t hit a baby with a ruler to make it obedient! Are they nuts? I can’t believe any Christian parent (and I hope no parent does this) would do this to babies, toddlers, etc. This is not how you train up a child! I am praying what I read is not true.