Jessa Duggar-Seewald from TLC's Counting On is having a bit of a rough time these days. Not only is she trying to parent two little boys, she also has to contend with an almost constant stream of vitriol from social media. Whether people are criticizing her for her home, her marriage, her extended family, or her parenting, it's pretty much non-stop. But don't start feeling too sorry for her: Jessa Duggar-Seewald's epic clap-back at a fan for criticizing her "training" her kids proves she's already a well-seasoned veteran of the mommy-shaming wars.
If you're wondering what "training" might be, welcome to the world of the Duggars. The famously conservative family formerly of 19 Kids and Counting and now the next generation of Counting On on TLC have long been rumored to use the controversial practice of training their children. Whether the Duggars use blanket training, a method of discipline that forces babies to stay on their blanket unless given permission to move, or training in general a la matriarch Michelle Duggar's tips to raising strong-willed children, training has become a hot-button issue with the family.
Even Jessa Seewald, perhaps one of the most well-liked of the Duggar sisters who (despite her frequent brushes with mommy-shamers online) appeared to have avoided the training-shaming from fans. Until recently.
While the Duggars have all been careful not to align themselves with any particular school of discipline, many fans believe they subscribe to the teachings documented in the book Train Up a Child — Child Training for the 21st Century written by Michael and Debi Pearl. The book encourages corporal punishment as a way of "training" a child. When a fan recently attempted to call Seewald out for using the controversial method to raise her two sons, 2-year-old Spurgeon and 1-year-old Henry, the mom-of-two had no intention of putting up with that nonsense.
The Instagram follower wrote, "Training is for dogs, not humans."
It should be noted that this user didn't reference any particular behavior of Seewald's towards her children; it appeared to be a dig at the concept of training in general directed at Seewald specifically. Seewald's caption of the photo of her and her husband Ben Seewald (above) the fan commented on reads in part:
I’m reminded daily just how blessed I am to be married to you. I don’t know another man who is as quick to ask forgiveness when he messes up as you are. I don’t know another dad who is more involved in the diapers, cuddles, wrestling matches and training moments as you are. I don’t know another man who is as sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others as you are.
In her response to the fan's "training is for dogs" comment, Seewald wrote:
We train for occupations, we train for jobs, we hire personal trainers for fitness... and we train/teach our kiddos for right behavior in the hopes that they will grow up to be caring, thoughtful and responsible adults. But I agree—dogs are not humans. Thank you for making that distinction.
Fortunately, Seewald seems more than capable of defending herself against her critics. And even if she wasn't, she has plenty of fans who are quick to jump to her defense. "Mic drop... nice reply Jessa," one wrote.
"You seem like an amazing mother! Keep doing what you're doing!" another commented.
"I love that you comment on negative comments and defend yourself 💕 you are a great mom. Dont ever let ANYONE. tell you different," one more chimed in.
This isn't the first time Seewald has been criticized for her parenting decisions. Just yesterday, she was called out for something as simple as a cute video of baby Henry.
When she shared a video of the toddler playing on a slide in her living room and pointed out that her husband had protected the area with cushions, one social media user tweeted needlessly:
Nobody says you have to like the Duggar family, or even agree with them. But attacking any mother on social media, particularly when you don't have any fact-based argument other than assumptions made about the rest of their family, isn't OK.
Good on Jessa Seewald for defending herself to haters. It can't be easy.
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.