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How Do The Duggars Discipline Their Kids? They've Come Under Fire For Controversial Methods

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There is something so fascinating about the Duggar family to millions of people around the world. It seems Duggar watchers are divided into two camps; those who love to hate them and those who will vigorously defend them until the end of time. The massive family of reality stars, both from TLC's 19 Kids & Counting and the more recent spinoff featuring the next generation, Counting On, tend to have a very specific flair for igniting controversy. Particularly when it comes to raising their kids. Fans often wonder how the Duggars discipline their kids because let's face it; there are a whole lot of kids there. And things must get pretty rowdy sometimes.

The Duggar family are well known for being fiercely religious; parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have a rigorous set of rules they expect their children to follow when it comes to their behavior. Everything from modesty to being disrespectful and, above all, being "joyfully obedient," as Michelle calls it. In a 2013 blog posting for TLC, Michelle had some advice to give parents who might be raising a strong-willed child. The matriarch of the family wrote:

If you've got a young child and they're strong-willed, just be consistent -- lovingly consistent. Don't get bent out of shape. Don't get upset in the situation. They may push the limit, but they need to know what the boundaries are and they need to understand that those boundaries are not to restrict their fun.
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While Michelle explained that consistency is key in parenting, she also pointed out that obedience was of tantamount importance in their family, to bother her and husband Jim Bob:

Jim Bob would always give this example: He would say, "We have always told you children don't play in the street. Are we saying that to ruin your fun? Is that to spoil your life? Why would we say don't play in the street? We put those boundaries in your life for a good reason. It's to protect you because we love you." Oftentimes as parents, we can see things that are a danger. And that's why when we say it, the first time we'll say, you obey it. There's not a question of arguing with us about it. It's just, yes, Ma'am, I will obey you.

Some of the rules that Jim Bob and Michelle expect their children to simply obey no questions asked are, according to Cafe Mom:

  • No social media until you're engaged
  • No going to the beach
  • No dancing (a la Footloose, I guess)
  • Girls will not wear pants
  • No co-ed hide-and-seek or babysitting
  • No TV

No parent in the Duggar family has ever openly admitted to using corporal or physical punishment as a means of discipline, but one sister in particular has fans wondering what might be going on behind the scenes. Jill and Derick Dillard were accused of using the controversial "blanket method" on their infant son Israel back in 2016. This method of parenting, which was written about in the book To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, encourages parents to wrap their child in a blanket.

If the child moves away from the blanket, the parent is encouraged to swat them with an implement. This will supposedly teach them to stay on the blanket at all times. The blanket method was reportedly used by Michelle Duggar in the past, and photos of Israel as an infant, which Jill Dillard shared before removing them from her social media platforms, showed the baby (who is now two) wrapped tight in a blanket apparently crying in distress.

The Duggars appear to keep their actual discipline methods to themselves, for the most part. Here's hoping that, however they might encourage their children to *obey* them, they use kindness and empathy.