10 rules the Duggar family is meant to obey (and some they don’t)

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in a confessional.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had a strict set of rules. Pic credit: TLC

The Duggars are known for their strict rules and the number of children they have. 

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar share 19 biological children, and they adopted Michelle’s great-nephew, Tyler Hutchins. 

Over the years, viewers have gotten to know some of the rules the Duggars have set forth for their children.

There are plenty of things the siblings weren’t allowed to do, from their wardrobe to holidays while growing up. 

Some adult Duggar siblings have broken some of the long-standing rules, while others remain in line with what Jim Bob and Michelle have instilled in them. 

These are 10 rules the Duggar family was meant to follow, and a few of them that they have ditched since reaching adulthood. 

Girls wear long skirts or dresses 

All of the Duggar daughters were taught that showing skin wasn’t acceptable. They weren’t supposed to give men or boys any reason to have wandering eyes. 

Growing up, they all wore long skirts (that went minimally below the knee) or dresses. It was their only option as pants were never allowed. 

However, that changed when some of the Duggar daughters got married. Jinger Duggar kicked things off by wearing pants after marrying Jeremy Vuolo. From there, the other adult sisters followed suit. Even Jana Duggar has been spotted wearing pants

The younger generation of Duggar sisters remains wearing skirts and dresses. They are all still under 18, which means they must abide by the rules set forth by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. 

No dating 

Dating in the Duggar world is non-existent. The siblings are expected to court with the intention of marriage. 

There has only been one failed courtship to date, and that was Josiah Duggar and Marjorie Jackson. The two announced their courtship in 2015, and just a few months later, the Josh Duggar molestation scandal broke, and they went their separate ways. 

Some of the courtships were kept quiet for a while, including Jedidiah Duggar and Katelyn Nakatsu and Justin Duggar and Claire Spivey. They are also the two Duggar couples that Counting On fans don’t know too much about. Katey and Claire didn’t appear on the show, and their courtships weren’t featured. There were also no wedding specials for them. 

No Halloween 

The Duggars don’t celebrate Halloween. Michelle Duggar has been very open about their beliefs and why the holiday wasn’t a part of their life or the upbringing of the children. 

Fall activities like corn mazes and pumpkin patches were acceptable, but dressing up and trick-or-treating weren’t things they did as a family. 

Jinger Duggar showed off her family Halloween costumes this year. She and Jeremy Vuolo celebrated with friends and shared photos on Instagram. 

Buy used 

Most of the items, especially clothing, the Duggars purchased were from resale shops, garage sales, and other avenues. 

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar had to pinch pennies while raising 19 children, and this was the simplest way for them to save money. 

19 Kids and Counting episodes featured some of the older Duggar daughters garage saling and purchasing clothing items for the family. 

Several of the adult Duggar daughters thrift shop for items today. Jill Duggar features a lot of it on her Instagram stories. But, Jinger Duggar is another story. She will pay full price for what she wants, even if it is a $300 blazer. 

Homeschooling is a must 

Growing up, all of the Duggar siblings were homeschooled by Michelle Duggar. The younger siblings were often helped by the older ones, with Jessa Duggar being one of the more helpful daughters with homeschooling. 

With only three siblings with school-age children, two of the three continue to homeschool. Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna, homeschools their children, and recently, Jessa shared a photo of Spurgeon doing his work. 

Jill Duggar broke the mold and sent her oldest son, Israel, to public school for kindergarten. He has remained in public school for first grade as well. 

Women don’t work 

Michelle Duggar never worked outside of the home. She was the full-time caregiver for all of the children and made sure the house was kept up, and meals were ready when Jim Bob Duggar was home from work. 

The Duggar daughters have followed in their mother’s footsteps and remained homemakers. They continued to film Counting On before it was canceled, except for Jill Duggar. 

Some of the Duggar daughters use social media and monetize their posts, but a job outside of the home was forbidden while they were growing up, and it seems they all continue to live by that rule today. 

No alcohol allowed 

Drinking is of the devil, and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar did not allow alcohol to be in the home at all. In their eyes, it was a sin to drink, so growing up, the children knew that alcohol was a bad thing. 

Jill Duggar has admitted to having a drink with dinner, and she was even photographed while out with Derick Dillard and enjoying a pina colada. There is speculation that Jinger has partaken in trying alcohol. 

No birth control 

Birth control is a big no-no where the Duggar family is concerned. Michelle Duggar has talked about her early miscarriage and believes that birth control played a role in her loss. 

Family planning of any kind is looked down upon. The Duggars believe that God is responsible for every baby, and they should have as many children as allowed. 

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard revealed they used non-hormonal birth control (believed to be condoms) during a Q&A session. As for the other Duggar siblings, no one has publicly addressed their choices, but it is assumed many don’t use birth control of any kind. 

No affection while courting 

Courting is a big deal, and the rules with courtship vary by person. It is the action of getting to know someone with the intention of marriage. 

Most of the courtships were done without any physical touch and definitely no kissing. The couple’s first kiss is to be saved for their wedding day, which is why it is such a big deal for the Duggar siblings. 

Some courtships were a little more lax, like John-David Duggar and Abbie Grace Burnett’s, because they were older. The Duggar brothers appear to have more freedom than the Duggar sisters, but all in all, most of the rules of courtships were followed uniformly. 


Jurisdictions are chores. Each Duggar sibling had their own set of duties they were responsible for, from cleaning bathrooms to yard work. 

It was mostly the girls who kept up with the household chores, and every once in a while, the jurisdictions were rotated. 

This was talked about in-depth on 19 Kids and Counting, and it looks like some of the Duggar siblings have implemented similar rules with their children.

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