It's not uncommon for a member of the Duggar family to face backlash for their parenting. From Jessa Duggar getting mom-shamed for her messy (I prefer the term lived-in) house all the way to Joy-Anna Duggar having her parenting abilities questioned due to her young age, there are plenty of examples of people criticizing the Duggars for how they raise their kids. And, on Sunday, Jill Duggar sparked a heated debate for reading her son a book titled, The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco. Apparently, some fans think the book's teachings aren't appropriate for a young child.
One of the joys of parenting is reading books to your kids. When I was a babysitter, for example, I loved the entire bedtime story process — from picking out the book (I'm a fan of Dinosaurs Love Tacos) to discussions about the story, it's a magical thing to be able to share your love of reading with children. And for some parents and caregivers, bedtime stories can be an opportunity to teach kids valuable lessons about life and other educational topics. This seems to be the case for Jill, who opted to read her 2-year-old son, Israel, The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco on Sunday night. Jill wrote in her caption of the Instagram post that her mother-in-law, Cathy Dillard, bought Israel the book. The full caption reads:
Y’all! @cldilla just got Israel some of the @tuttle_twins books and we read this one before bed tonight! Awesome book! If you’re looking for new books for the kiddos, check this series out! Teaches some great lessons! Israel grabbed another one off the shelf and asked to read it when we finished this one. Can’t wait to read the rest!
But why is the book so controversial among Jill's followers? A story about food trucks can't be that offensive, right?
Well, as it turns out, there are some compelling reasons why people are fed up with Jill. For starters, the recommended age group for this book is 5 to 11 years, according to the Tuttle Twins' website. Obviously, Israel is a few years shy of this age range.
Secondly, the book reportedly teaches lessons that some people might disagree with or find problematic. To put it as mildly as possible, the Tuttle Twins series, authored by Connor Boyack, celebrates the free-market and criticizes "entitlement," which is Boyack's code name for socialism. Some outlets have compared one of Boyack's books to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, a read that happens to be a favorite of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, according to The Washington Post.
And if you take a gander at the series' plot descriptions, it's not difficult to see why people are a bit concerned about Jill's bedtime story choices. "Children are often taught that government protects our life, liberty, and property, but could it be true that some laws actually allow people to hurt us and take our things?" reads the plot for The Foundation of Freedom, another book that was written by Boyack, according to the series' website. The language in the summary seems a bit inflammatory, to say the least.
But most of all, people are annoyed that Jill is reading a book to Israel with a "strong bias." One commenter wrote:
Another reason I think this book is inappropriate for younger learners as it introduces ideas with a strong bias. Young kids will only be able to understand the story at face value, and miss the underlying themes. It might be more appropriate for high school students, and not for teaching content but rather teaching critical thinking and understanding author’s point of view and the bias it introduces.
Another person added:
Kids books... these books are about 'the evils of socialism', and 'second amendment rights'. These are not for small kids. Heck at least read a good kids bible story to the kids if you cant handle mainstream kids books.
"I was only able to glance at a few pages on the publishers website but what I saw made me cringe," someone else pointed out. "The book “Atlas” basically promotes the idea that being poor is a consequence of laziness and success is solely based on meritocracy."
And one fan brought up the point that "if parents choose to teach these to their kids, they should also teach them that people believe different things," in an effort to alleviate bias.
Others, however, think that it's fine for Jill to introduce the Tuttle Twins' concepts to Israel. "Wow these books seem advanced, gotta start em young lol," one supporter wrote. "Little genius in the making."
"Books/reading = one of the best gifts to give a child! Opens worlds of learning," another person chimed in.
Interestingly enough, someone operating Tuttle Twins' Instagram account also added a comment in the debate: "Most of our readers are 5-10. The books don’t teach that government is bad — they teach that we have rights and sometimes the government violates those rights."
But whether you agree with the books or not, it's important to remember that Jill has the authority to choose Israel's bedtime stories. While parents have the right to share their opinion on Jill's public page, at the end of the day, she's going to parent Israel to her own liking.
Not to mention, it's not atypical for a Duggar to be introduced to big concepts (whether factual or not) at a young age. As you can see in the throwback video below, the Duggars were taught about the "fallacies of evolution" (Jim Bob Duggar's words, not mine) when they were just little kids. So, it seems par for the course that Jill is educating Israel on heavy topics and her personal views at this time.
Of course, this probably won't be the last controversy Jill sparks on social media. The Duggars have controversial views and they're not shy about sharing them with fans.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.