Are The Duggars Crazy?

Marianne Stuart with Children

Wow, the Duggars are expecting their 20th child! They are a fascinating family. I know I am not the only one intrigued by them. I love to watch their show, “19 Kids and Counting” on TLC and I have read one of their books. There is much criticism surrounding this family. People say that Jim Bob and Michelle can’t possibly give their children enough attention. Can you imagine the chaos with all of those kids? What about the sheer expense to having so many children?

I Lend my Support
I want to give this family my support and I think I can have an opinion because I was raised in a family with 14 children. I am the third in my family and the oldest girl. I had 6 brothers before I had a sister, and I ended up with 3 sisters and a total of 10 brothers. My parents are still married, too. It was a wonderful way to grow up.

Marianne with her parents and 13 siblings

I had so much fun growing up in my family. There was always someone to do something with and if I got mad at one of them I could go play with a different sibling. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time running around with my older brother, Paul, and my two younger brothers, Rick and Jim. We went to movies, bowling, shooting pool and hanging out with friends. We even rented a house together as young adults. Living with my brothers helped me retain my morals too. That surly wasn’t a bad thing.  

Time and Attention
As far as the Duggars not being able to give their children enough individual attention, I sure felt that in my teen years my parents had too much time and attention for me. Couldn’t they have just left me alone to do my own thing? No, they cared about what was going on in my life.  

I talked to a father of two last week. He said he didn’t have to give his kids much attention at all. They kept busy with their phones, texting, Facebook and their computers.  I ask, “Is that a good thing?” Our family didn’t use the tv and today’s technologies to keep us occupied. We played outside and came in for meals. We had one television and we watched it together. I have such fond memories of about 10 of us piled on and around the couch watching shows. The feel of the warm bodies and the affection we had for one another is something that I think a lot of families are missing out on today.

Larger families are much more likely to have dinner together and I keep reading about how important those meals are. My dad would come home and we all shared about our day at the table. It was one of my favorite times of the day.

I believe that our children do need individual attention, but it doesn’t have to only be provided by their parents. In my own family, the older kids helped with the younger kids and enjoyed their love and adoration. We were like heroes to them. The time spent helped us prepare for being parents ourselves. My husband said that after our first baby was born that I acted like she was my fifth.  

Going Green
Costs do not go up exponentially when you have a large family. It’s more expensive, yes, but not unmanageably so. My husband and I homeschool but when we buy a book it gets used many times. Clothes get passed down until they are worn out. Health insurance is a better deal for a large family although we usually meet our deductibles. So many things are recycled in large families. There were times when my parents were eligible for government assistance but they never took the help and the Duggars are the same. They don’t believe in living with debt.

Please Leave the Room
When was the last time you went into a restaurant and cringed because a family with a small child was seated next to you?  You know how this plays out, with temper tantrums and possible screaming and the parents don’t seem to have the common sense to leave the room until their child is calm again. Imagine a family with a slew of children. Surprisingly, most large families have well behaved kids. Why is that when a family of two or three have kids out of control but a larger family doesn’t?  I think the more children you have the more it forces you to be a better parent otherwise it would be utter chaos.

A large family isn’t common today but it can be a wonderful thing. I want to leave you today with this quote from the Bible…

Psalm 127:3-5

3   Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
        the fruit of the womb a reward.

4  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
        are the children of one’s youth.

5  Blessed is the man
        who fills his quiver with them!
     He shall not be put to shame
        when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


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2 responses to this post.

  1. Marianne,
    I count myself so blessed to have you as my friend. You always have such a wonderful way of reminding us what is important in life. I loved the article and I love the Duggars.


  2. Fantastic! In a time where the world seems to be getting more chaotic, we need our family. You have great family and our family is blessed to be apart of your lives!


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