Ekaterina
(Ching Shih)
03/14/06 11:23 AM
'14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

(moderators: feel free to move this, delete it or change the title if you need to. I didn't quite know if this belonged in the home section or not, but guessed here because it was on tv.)

I just watched this show on The Learning Channel last night, which was followed by '16 Children and Moving In'. I found it fascinating, both to see how a family with so many children lives and to see how a family with beliefs so different from mine lives.

The Duggars have 16 children, 6 girls and 10 boys. They live in a house with 1 bedroom for the girls and 1 for the boys and home-school their kids. There is no tv, modern music, or radio. The children are incredibly well-mannered, hard-working and intelligent - they play multiple instruments and help out with everything from building their own home to taking care of younger siblings. They incorporate their religion, evangelical Christianity, into all aspects of their lives. The father is a real-estate investor and a politician, while the mom stays home.

I am curious as to if any of you saw the program and if so, what you thought. Or if you didn't see it, check out http://duggarfamily.com. Do you think 16 kids is too many? What do you think of their lifestyle - would you emulate it if you could?

I think that it is admirable how they stick to their beliefs, but I worry about the limitations of growing up in so strict a household. The girls, for example, do not even wear pants, and they all expect to grow up to be stay at home moms. The boys are all trucks and planes and military; the girls very flowery, pretty and feminine. I worry that the girls will not know that they can dream to be doctors or astronauts. I think it is fine to raise your family to believe in one religion, but I also think that we live in a global society and you should let your children know of their options, and let them see outside of your own world once in a while.


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
03/14/06 02:59 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Ekaterina, this is a good topic but I think I'm going to move it to News & Views, since it's more about the controversial content than about the show as a TV show.

klaradyn
(Ching Shih)
03/15/06 07:21 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I find it admirable that the family holds so strongly and unwaveringly to their beliefs. At the same time, I agree that it's worrying how limited these children's view of their options in life may be.

MissAmy
(Ching Shih)
03/15/06 03:56 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I think these people are remarkably socially irresponsible. They are contributing to the over-population of the planet to a fairly significant degree - from these two people, all the children they have, all the children their children are likely to have, we're looking at an additional hundreds of souls on an already crowded planet from only two people.

I completely disagree with the way the children are being raised. That degree of sheltering is almost criminal. How are these kids going to function in the real world? How are they going to deal with diversity and differences of opinion in the work-place?

Also, I wonder if these parents would be so lonving and "Christ-like" if one of their little wonders were to rebell? That would be interesting.


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
03/15/06 09:29 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Here's Mark Morford's take:

God Does Not Want 16 Kids

He's pretty het up about it.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
03/16/06 10:30 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by MissAmy:
I completely disagree with the way the children are being raised. That degree of sheltering is almost criminal. How are these kids going to function in the real world? How are they going to deal with diversity and differences of opinion in the work-place?
Workplace? These kids are homeschooled and only seem to see other people on rare occasions. I'm wondering why anyone would hire someone who's so poorly socialized in dealing with outsiders?

 Quote:
Also, I wonder if these parents would be so loving and "Christ-like" if one of their little wonders were to rebel?
Not a chance. Think disownment.

 Quote:
What do you think of their lifestyle - would you emulate it if you could?
God, no. That much togetherness would lead to mass murder. Look at the daily schedule - the kids never get away from their parents.


goo
(Ching Shih)
03/16/06 01:06 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Tater tot casserole does it for me. With all that space and all those children to work it the most exciting, healthy meal Michelle can come up with is tater tot casserole? Also the delegation ('buddying' or whatever they call it) - she has the energy to have so many children because she has so many children to care for them.

I saw the show on Discovery Health a couple of years ago now (she was pregnant with no. 15) and, although appalled at various aspects of their life, I was reasonably accepting (hey, my mum is the eldest of 15, the whole family reside at the nutter end of the religious scale, I'm used to it) - until I started to read more about the Quiver full and dominionist movements. The people of Arkansas voted for Jimbob to become a state senator; while my first instinct is to laugh off these plaid-clad freaks, their mandate is, quite seriously, to take over the US through sheer numbers. That is scarier than Michelle's hair.

TWOP has some lively threads on the family: 14 and 16 .

edit: fix tags


MissAmy
(Ching Shih)
03/16/06 02:54 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by deborah:
Here's Mark Morford's take:

God Does Not Want 16 Kids

He's pretty het up about it.
Loved it, Deborah. Thanks for the link.

 Quote:
Workplace? These kids are homeschooled and only seem to see other people on rare occasions. I'm wondering why anyone would hire someone who's so poorly socialized in dealing with outsiders?
I realize this is entirely rhetorical, but what are these kids going to do for money? At some point, they will have to get jobs (the boys at least, I'm assuming the girls will not be allowed to work) and they will have to have money to live. No parent, unless their last name is "Hilton" or "Bush" has enough money to support 16 kids for the rest of the kid's lives.

Ugh. I feel really sorry for the children. The world is going to come as a gross and ugly shock when they finally get around to entering it. (And it will have to happen eventually.)


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
03/16/06 04:18 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

They'll probably work for Daddy.

ee-fah
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 09:07 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I saw "14" last year, it has been on a few times since on LivingTV here. The only thing I have in commong with those people is that I sometimes shop at Aldi, as a matter of fact I am eating an Aldi pizza right now and it is pretty good. We don't get that variety of nut much around here, thank goodness.

I can't think of anything nice to say so I will just stop here.


PrimulaMary
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 11:01 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I haven't seen the programme, but I just felt ill after reading the website. The lack of education (sums! spelling! religion!) is absolutely appalling and in no way prepares them for modern life.

And the bit that has really stuck (apart, obviously, from tater tot casserole) is the horrible gender stereotypes that are being imposed on these children -- one of the girls makes lunch for twenty people every day, another makes dinner for the same twenty people, while I assume their elder and younger brothers are comfortably watching and enjoying being Masters of the Universe.

Perhaps that's the parents' career plan for the girls -- school dinnerladies.


Ekaterina
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 12:48 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

When they were building the house, the dad said that he bought the 20 acres so that each of his kids could someday live on it with them. So I guess they won't have to worry about ever leaving the nest.

I understand not wanting your kids to be exposed to things that evil or frightening, but what I don't understand is this. Why do they deny their kids the *joy* that comes from living i this world and the joy that comes from having new experiences? There are a million, everyday things that these kids are being denied, like the sound of other languages and exposure to them, or the wonder that comes from learning about different peoples, cultures and beliefs. There is a wonder that comes from sitting around a table with people from backgrounds completely different than yours, and breaking bread and finding out that you're not so different after all. There are books and music and art that are so beautiful, yet these kids will not be exposed to them. There is the luxury of being lazy, and that feeling that a child gets when he or she first realizes that they are totally separate beings and they can and will make their own choices. There is the pride of being independent. How can they justify denying their kids all of the joys of the real world? I understand protecting them from hardship, but can't you do that in some way without taking away the joys?

Also, I really think that the only reason the parents are able to manage so many kids is because they put the older ones to work as soon as they walk. Now, I see nothing wrong with a child having chores, but I bet anything that the younger ones are closer to their 'buddies' than to their parents, and that their older siblings are who are really raising them.


Emily G
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 03:17 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I find it quite sickeningly twee that they've given all their children names beginning with "J", presumably emulating their father's name. Sorry, their Daddy's name. There is a definite preoccupation with Daddy going on in that family ...

"Sometimes we have ‘Daddy Days’ when Daddy overrides the schedule and takes the children out for family time, a field trip or a service project. We try to make each day fun. Everyday is an exciting adventure!"

Excuse me while I pause and try not to be sick. Thank you. There is a completely horrific over-excitement bounding out of the website. Are these children never to learn of other things apart from shiny-faced god-lovin' chirpiness? Do you think they even know what misery - sorrow - pain - even anger are? Do you think they're allowed to watch the news? Or would that disturb the little rosy prayer-full bubble?

I admit, I personally am always discomfited by expressions of religious beliefs, extreme or otherwise, but I'm glad to see that other people upthread have felt the nausea too.

I feel pity for those children: although, the way they've been brought up, they'd probably be amazed that I did, and pity me heartily in return for only having two siblings and not believing in this beamingly benevolent bastard of a God that they do. The poor kids are never going to get a chance to discover what real, raw life is like: Ekaterina said it perfectly in the post behind me.

If these children choose the life their parents have, they should be able to do so freely and with absolute knowledge of what other ways of life are like. How can they know that their parents' way is for them, unless they've seen other possibilities? I don't say the youngest ones should be bothered with that: but once they start reaching double digits in their age, they should be allowed to move out of Daddy's domain ... what a patriarchy it sounds! what a God-focused, restrictive, life-smothering patriarchy!


LovelyPride
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 06:34 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Can you imagine what's going to happen when that 17 year old boy goes out in the real world to earn his living? My bet is on either a total rebellion or a nervous breakdown. And what 18 - 20 year old modern woman, Christian or otherwise, is going to want anything to do with this guy or his family? Even the women that attend Christian colleges would shudder.

SeattleShrew
(Ching Shih)
03/17/06 07:27 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by goo:
until I started to read more about the Quiver full and dominionist movements. The people of Arkansas voted for Jimbob to become a state senator; while my first instinct is to laugh off these plaid-clad freaks, their mandate is, quite seriously, to take over the US through sheer numbers. That is scarier than Michelle's hair
I completely agree, goo. There are a scarily large number of people who want the US to be a theocracy.

As disturbing as tater tot casserole is, I feel more disturbed about the sheer number of kids. I can't imagine they get much one-on-one with their parents. The children are, in my opinion, too well-behaved, too telegenic, too locked into the whole idea of the family as an Example of Good Values (or, worse, a profitable oddity) rather than an organic entity.


sophietje
(Ching Shih)
03/18/06 02:38 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Reading the posts voicing concern about what the children will do in the real world, it's occured to me that I have some family similar to the Duggars in some regards. They were missionaries and had 14 (+/- 2) children. While I think my cousins were raised in an even far more damaging environment than the Duggars, I imagine the shock of moving into the real world probably takes a similar toll.
Anyhow, for my cousins, 10 of them are over the age of 18. 7 of them have left The Family, but three are still in it carrying on as their parents did. (The eldest boy is 30 and already has 8 kids of his own.) Of the seven that left, every single one -without exception- is having a very rough time of it. Two are in prison for various drug offences, one has had three kids by different fathers (none of whom stick around), only 2 have even gotten a high school diploma. Even though I hardly know any of them, it brings tears to my eyes knowing how badly their parents screwed them.
My uncle, who has since left The Family, now is suffering the consequences: none of his kids will speak to him, except the ones who are trying to bring him back into the group.

To sum it up: my uncle and aunt are intelligent, well-educated people. But they willingly denied their own children the tools that the kids would need to survive in this world. And this doesn't seem much different than what the Duggars are doing.

Since I posted this a few hours ago, I've been doing a lot more research on the cult my family was part of and I came across this site site which is about children in "High Demand Organizations". Sad and interesting.


Loz
(Ching Shih)
03/20/06 05:26 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Although not fundamentalist Christians, an old friend of my mother's teenage years became a Chassidic Jew, and has, I believe, 17 children. There was a documentary about them a couple of years ago.

While I stil have very grave concerns about the amount of parental attention a child in such a family can possibly receive, at lease in this case they are to a certain extent being fitted for the outside world. The oldest girl is a dentist, and many of the sons have travelled to study (although how well a New York Chassidic education equips one for life is anyone's guess). The mother of the family makes wigs and caters in addition to raising the kids.

However, even in a more wordly environment there are still the same pressures to confirm. One of the sons, who went to Israel to join the army, was basically cornered into marrying religiously to 'please the family' - and his chosen bride seemed to be met with a lot less enthusiasm than the conventially 'arranged' wedding of another child.

I think the Jewish community must help to support the family. I'm not entirely anti the idea of large families, and this example is not nearly as noxious as the ones mentioned above, but...how can you really justify isolating people from the mainstream. Obviously parents are entitled to impart their own ideas and ideologies to their children, but surely that should *never* end up taking those children's choices away and leaving them unfit for the wider world.


Libby
(Ching Shih)
03/20/06 11:28 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I'd like to have seen the program - I'm fascinated by the dynamics of large families. I don't agree with all of the Duggar's ideas on parenting, but it sounds as though they are raising polite, well-mannered children and fostering their creativity and musicality.

14 children, though ... think of the laundry!


TarynW
(Ching Shih)
03/22/06 10:02 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

This thread and the website have actually made me seriously rethink my no-children policy. I'm still probably going to get my tubes tied in the next few years, but maybe I'll be more receptive to adopting. Or adopting more than the two which, so far, has been my absolute maximum. Now I have fantasies of a giant brood of multi-racial progressive kids to counterbalance the scariness. Just to even things out.

But it depends on the dude, and I wouldn't end up with someone that crazy. ;\)


LA_
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
03/28/06 08:59 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

sixteen children definatly would not be my choice,
but I dont mind if its their choice, as long as the kids are educated ,financially supported, and loved.

this is my 3rd post here
Hi everyone \:\)


LibraryGoddess
(Ching Shih)
04/15/06 07:43 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

This disturbs me. The parents aren't actually raising those children. The older children are raising the younger children. The homeschooling has to be a joke. How can the woman teach all of those kids on different levels, all while pregnant every year? The older ones are teaching the younger ones. I find the whole thing to be disturbing. Larger families were the norm up until recently, but at least those kids were allowed out into the world and allowed to prepare for the real world.

denjhart
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/17/06 10:41 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

What is wrong with these people?? They deserve any praise or criticism they get now that they've made their family life public via magazine articles, political photo shoots, hospital photo shoots, television shows, and accepted many benefits, such as appliances, materials, furniture for their new dream home, and even a trip to Disney!!! And the list goes on. I suppose these all just came
from God. And they want more children ?????
Personally, as a mother of three and grandmother of five, I find it hard to devote the amount of attention I want to each of them. Am I wrong to not jump on the admiration bandwagon of the Duggars? They
seem to have neglected the fact that their children, although dressed alike, and named nearly alike, are individual children. But I suppose the only way to maintain a family unit of that size is to do what they
do. Why not just send them to military school? After all, if they don't allow the children to see how the rest of the world lives, or socialize with people who aren't their siblings, they won't know any
different. This doesn't seem any different to me than a commune or a cult in which members cannot survive outside of. Maybe that's what the 20 acres is for? Scary! It seems to be a very narrow minded view of life that they are learning. Strong words, but how WILL they survive their adult years? Not very well I imagine. Will they all be able to attend college and if they could, would they be able to adjust to it? I'm doubtful. The Duggars say they are
teaching responsibility, but are they practicing it? After all, I don't think restraint or self-discipline, or condoms are against God's will when it comes to making babies! Am I the only one that finds these parents IRRESPONSIBLE? Has Jim Bob convinced his wife that unprotected sex every night is God's will?
I wonder if the older children resent not having their own friends and involvement in sports, or other activities outside of the family and church. Or are they sheltered to the point of not knowing any better
and will resent it later in life? (I find it ironic that Michelle Duggar was a cheerleader in highschool) Just to let you know, I am from a very strict Catholic family of 8, I am a twin, and the second
oldest in the family and along with my older sister had a lot of responsibilities to the family which prevented us from joining in highschool events and limited our friendships. So I do know whereof I
speak.
Have the Duggars even considered that they'll be almost 60 years old
when the youngest is ready to leave home?? And they want more? Or have they given any thought about how soon they could become grandparents?? I suppose they are leaving it in God's hands to keep them healthy enough in their later years to handle all of this?? Good Luck!!
Again I say, what is wrong with these people??


denjhart
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/17/06 10:48 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by goo:
Tater tot casserole does it for me. With all that space and all those children to work it the most exciting, healthy meal Michelle can come up with is tater tot casserole? Also the delegation ('buddying' or whatever they call it) - she has the energy to have so many children because she has so many children to care for them.

I saw the show on Discovery Health a couple of years ago now (she was pregnant with no. 15) and, although appalled at various aspects of their life, I was reasonably accepting (hey, my mum is the eldest of 15, the whole family reside at the nutter end of the religious scale, I'm used to it) - until I started to read more about the Quiver full and dominionist movements. The people of Arkansas voted for Jimbob to become a state senator; while my first instinct is to laugh off these plaid-clad freaks, their mandate is, quite seriously, to take over the US through sheer numbers. That is scarier than Michelle's hair.

TWOP has some lively threads on the family: 14 and 16 .

edit: fix tags


denjhart
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/17/06 10:56 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Overlooking the extreme religious views the children are taught, they're being raised in a sexist atmosphere, dresses for the girls, no pants? Chores or "jurisdictions" are sexist too. And what example is Mom setting? Just keep making babies! She's also home schooling them through high school, but has no college education. That should be illegal right there!
And check out the "Modest Swimwear" on their favorite links from their web site: http://www.duggarfamily.com/links.php


MissAmy
(Ching Shih)
04/17/06 11:30 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

The "Modest Swimwear." Oh. My. God.

Isn't wearing that much weight in water, like, dangerous? Couldn't you get weighted down and drown in that much crap?? Not to mention how hot it would be! Egads! Is for swimming in Iceland or something? I'm not one for bikinis (damn my genetic betrayal) but dear lord I wouldn't be caught dead in those things.

Those poor girls. I feel so sorry for them, never getting to have cute swimwear for summer. Or cute clothes for any occassion for that matter.


denjhart
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/18/06 10:59 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by MissAmy:
The "Modest Swimwear." Oh. My. God.

Isn't wearing that much weight in water, like, dangerous? Couldn't you get weighted down and drown in that much crap?? Not to mention how hot it would be! Egads! Is for swimming in Iceland or something? I'm not one for bikinis (damn my genetic betrayal) but dear lord I wouldn't be caught dead in those things.

Those poor girls. I feel so sorry for them, never getting to have cute swimwear for summer. Or cute clothes for any occassion for that matter.


denjhart
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/18/06 11:04 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

And what about the message that the girls are being taught to cover up their bodies! Long dresses, really bizarre swimwear . . . ? And you couldn't go swimming where other normal people do without sticking out like a sore thumb!

Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
04/18/06 01:30 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

HEATHEN!!! Mixed bathing is never permitted for modest girls!

...Gag.

Those things look like throwbacks to the 1900's. Do they come with built-in flotation devices? I have just purchased a Land's End Tugless Tank - I thought that was modest. These people make me feel like I've been shopping at Fredrick's of Hollywood.


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/19/06 11:23 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I don't think that dressing modestly means that you can't look cute. You can look cute no matter how covered up you are. I've recently gotten into Orthodox Judaism and it's been kind of fun revamping my wardrobe. Long skirts can be absolutely beautiful, depending on the material, the fit, etc.
So everyone has a different comfort level, right? But why "gag"? Why such a judgmental reaction? What exactly is *wrong* with not wearing bathing suits in mixed company?
Some of the happiest families I know have seven or more children. Some of the coolest girls I've ever met wear long-sleeved shirts and long skirts on the beach. Isn't following one's religious views okay? I'm excited about following the Halacha with regard to my dress and behavior. And I dream about a big, loving family -- the kind that I never had.
Seriously, why are we tolerant of every kind of "lifestyle" except this one?


Mara2
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 01:29 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Mashenka, your post really got me thinking... Not having seen the programme, I'm probably not in a good place to comment, but perhaps part of the strong reaction is the sense that the Duggars are picking and choosing the parts of 'mainstream' society that suit them (ie going on TV, having a website etc) and then rejecting as wrong other parts outright. I'm probably not expressing myself very well here, but I think that if you're part of the mainstream Western culture, you don't necessarily perceive it as being a 'culture' and having cultural practices like, I don't know, a recently discovered tribe in Papua New Guinea, for example. And when a family like the Duggars rejects the practices of mainstream culture, and uses one of the cornerstones of mainstream culture to do so, it elicits a particularly strong defensive reaction. Does that make any sort of sense?

I have friends from high school who are really deeply religious. I'm agnostic, veering towards atheist. While now, although I'm sure they fear for my immortal soul, they pretty much live and let live, there have been tensions along the way when they've tried to convert me, or have looked askance at my lifestyle choices (and I'm no rebel child). And that had the capacity to make me feel small, or bad, or frivolous - like they always had the moral high ground, and the certainty of their convictions. I'd say most people like to think that they're good people and living good lives, and when that's called into question, people get defensive. To use the example of the bathing suit, in looking at the promo blurb for the modest bathing suits, there's certainly something implicit or sometimes explicit that says that you're at best immodest or at worst slutty, if you wear anything with less coverage.

Anyway, I've written a not very coherent essay here!


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 03:04 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Right, I understand that. I just think that tolerance needs to go both ways. They may be implying that wearing a regular bathing suit is immodest, but some of the posters here seemed to be implying that going covered up is insane. I am a fan of live and let live, but it seriously needs to go in both directions.

As for rejecting some aspects of mainstream modern culture, and accepting others -- we ALL do that. Each and every one of us struggles with the question of which aspects of modernity to accept and which to reject. This is a question that is not just relevant for highly religious people, but for all people. I grew up without a TV, which contributed, I think, to my becoming such a bookworm; I fully intend for my kids to grow up without a TV as well. At the same time, I believe having internet at home can be useful if monitored and limited wisely. I could give many more examples -- the point is, no one, not even the Amish, rejects *all* aspects of modernity, and likewise no one (at least no thinking person) unquestioningly accepts all of them.


LaSalleUGirl
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 08:32 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
So everyone has a different comfort level, right? But why "gag"? Why such a judgmental reaction? What exactly is *wrong* with not wearing bathing suits in mixed company?
mashenka, I very nearly posted something very similar the other night. I kind of like the bathing suits on that site (though not, to be fair, the sanctimonious justification for the suits).

Ever since this thread started, I've been wondering why it elicits such hostility from posters. And I'm not excluding myself here. I can't tell you how many posts I've started in this topic and forced myself to stop.

I agree with mashenka that a large family is not, itself, a problem (I want one too, though some of my kids will be adopted). And I agree with many of the previous posters that there is a problem with consciously and deliberately making your older kids raise your younger kids. Ditto the many creepy references to "Daddy."

I think the Duggars are misguided, but I don't think they are evil. They haven't killed anybody. So why are we so angry? Evangelism makes me profoundly uncomfortable, but they have a right to do it. I don't agree with them, but, then again, I don't have to. I guess I'm just wondering how our judgmental responses to them are any better than their judgmental responses to us...


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 01:09 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's just bizarre seeing the lovely people on chicklit (and you guys *are* absolutely lovely!) turn into hostile, critical meanies as soon as we start talking about a very religious lifestyle.
I haven't seen the show either; the only judgment I can make is from the responses here. Had I seen it, I might have found that particular family creepy as well. I'm talking about general principles right now. Perhaps the Duggars are misguided (though I don't know about that); to say that all people who try to dress modestly, raise large families, and adhere to their religious beliefs are misguided is -- well, I don't even know how to respond to that.
And let me tell you -- none of the Orthodox Jewish families I've encountered are in any way judgmental. They don't understand a secular lifestyle, but they don't judge it, either. Sometimes people imagine that other people are judging them (when in fact they are not) and respond defensively and sometimes with hostility. The reality is that "secular" people are just as likely to be arrogant or "holier-than-thou" as religious people -- the issue is not of religioun but of general character and personality.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:02 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

mashenka, these people do trigger a hostile response in me. I apologize for offending you. And no, there's nothing wrong with modesty. My comments here were specifically aimed at the Duggars, not religious families in general.

Part of my reaction is the inability they show when it comes to considering that other people may have a point of view that's valuable because of its diversity.

How often do those children hear dissenting views, do you think? What happens if they dissent? Would you want to get involved with someone who knew nothing of the outside world other than the limited amounts they learn from their parents (keep in mind, the parents are practically never away from the children.)

Also, let's face it- if you set yourself up as a moral example, complete with website, not everyone's going to agree with you. Once it's on the web, it's there forever.


LaSalleUGirl
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:19 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Yeah, "misguided" was probably a poor word choice. I was mostly responding to the fact that, according to the schedule posted online, these children interact almost exclusively with each other and their parents. From what I know of, say, Orthodox Jewish and Amish communities, there is a lot of interaction among members of the community, though not necessarily with the more secular communities around them. I don't have a problem with that. It's the insular nature of the family that concerns me here, which seems to have less to do with their religious beliefs and more to do with...I don't know what. That's what seems misguided to me, I think.

Auroranorth, I think what mashenka and I were responding to is the tendency in this thread to be vitriolic in our disagreement. It's one thing to disagree. It's very different to sling mud while doing so. I agree with you that the Duggars have opened themselves up for scrutiny and disagreement, but I also think that such disagreement carries much more weight when we're rationally discussing gender roles, diversity (or the lack thereof), and workplace preparation instead of sniping about Michelle Duggar's hair or Tater Tot casserole (which, ew, but kind of not the point, either).

Also, as I think mashenka and some other posters allude to, it's one thing to critique this well-publicized family and quite another to tar with the same brush all groups who advocate modest dress, large families, and deeply-held religious beliefs, which, at times, this thread has veered towards.


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:33 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Sure, like I said, I was not responding to this family directly. In fact, what struck me most about Orthodox Jewish communities is the mind-boggling amount of hospitality and friendliness -- there's a lot of interaction going on, a whole lot of visiting and hanging out and so on. Even in ultra-Orthodox communities where male-female friendship is discouraged, people have other families over all the time, and of course holidays are always communal occasions. In fact, this sociability is the main thing that drew me to Orthodox Judaism in the first place!

We do need to separate the "flies from the meat patties," as we say in Russian \:\) and figure out what exactly is provoking this response. The move from particular to general is always a dangerous one, anyway, and I know I made that move as much as anyone in this conversation. Because we tend to divide "secular" from "religious" no matter what sort of religion we are talking about (or what sort of secular lifestyle, for that matter), everything ends up being lumped together.

I just looked at their schedule, though, and to be perfectly honest it sounds really nice. As an only child of a single mother, this kind of big family is the stuff of my dreams.

By the way, some of the most polite, socialized, well-adjusted, and popular people I've ever met were homeschooled. And some of the homeschooled kids I met were miserable and rebellious. It's all in *how* you do it.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:33 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by LaSalleUGirl:
Yeah, "misguided" was probably a poor word choice. I was mostly responding to the fact that, according to the schedule posted online, these children interact almost exclusively with each other and their parents. From what I know of, say, Orthodox Jewish and Amish communities, there is a lot of interaction among members of the community, though not necessarily with the more secular communities around them. I don't have a problem with that. It's the insular nature of the family that concerns me here, which seems to have less to do with their religious beliefs and more to do with...I don't know what. That's what seems misguided to me, I think.
Who will these kids marry? How will they react in the world that exists outside their hermetically sealed bubble? They have no coping skills in modern life. What happens if Daddy loses his firm? Who's going to hire them?


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 02:36 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

They will marry people with similar beliefs. People with deeply held religious beliefs do not view the general population as potential spouses anyway.
Again, whether or not this particular family is being wise is a different question, I just wanted to emphasize that getting married should not be a problem for them.


SeattleShrew
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 05:32 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Speaking for myself, my own feelings stem from my belief that my country is under attack from evangelical Christians. I have no problem with people living and celebrating their religious beliefs. I do have a problem with those beliefs being imposed on others through governmental means. Our president is an evangelical Christian and is quite open about his desire to inject that into his administration. And I will fight that with every means at my disposal.

As far as the sheer number of children, the earth is a fragile thing. Every child, especially a child born in an industrialized nation, makes an impact on the environment, a footprint in ecological talk. So yeah, I have a problem with 16 children born to one couple. It is irresponsible, and the major religions that preach against contraception need to join the rest of us in the 21st century.

All that said, I do think it is important to be tolerant of all lifestyles, even ones we know aren't for us personally.


Mara2
(Ching Shih)
04/20/06 07:49 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Edited because I've rewritten this several times and haven't said what I wanted to say yet.

dazey
(Ching Shih)
04/21/06 06:47 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
The reality is that "secular" people are just as likely to be arrogant or "holier-than-thou" as religious people
mashenka, can I just question why "secular" is in scare quotes there in the same way as "holier-than-thou", while "religious" is allowed to stand as a proper word? While I agree with you that attacking people merely for aspects of their lives which aren't mainstream is wrong, I think you're coming a bit too close to doing the converse. I live a wholly secular life; I am an atheist, in fact. I'm not mainstream, I try not to be judgemental, and I am pretty fed up with people assuming I'm anti-religious and intolerant because I'm ecologically aware, a lesbian and an atheist.

I was uncomfortable with some of the inital tone of this discussion, too. Why should young women be expected to reveal their bodies if they want to swim? What does the discomfort with that aspect of their lives say about what we expect from people's appearances? There's an element of body judgementalism in condemning people for not "making the most of" their appearance, but why should that be an aim for anyone?


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
04/21/06 08:13 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Dazey, my objection to the swimsuits is that they look like throwbacks to the Victorian Era. It feels like they're making a production out of swimming. Also, I note that there's no male equivelent. So, the girls are required to be bundled up and the boys can wear anything.

carrotbat
(Ching Shih)
04/21/06 09:47 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

To be fair to the concept of the swimsuits, though not that particular site, there are other sites out there that sell modest swimwear for both sexes. The boys' ones, however, pretty much look like shorts and a (non-see-through-when-wet) t-shirt.

(I don't have any links off the top of my head, unfortunately -- I imagine they came from TWoP.)


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/22/06 12:48 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

"Secular" was in quotes because it's a blurry concept. They weren't "scare quotes" by any means \:\) I've just never heard of anyone refer to themselves as "secular." I've heard "agnostic" and "atheist" which are more clearly defined concepts. So there was no inherent judgment in putting "secular" in quotes but letting "religious" stand on its own.

I have to say that as a swimmer I struggle myself with the idea that I can never go on a mixed beach (i.e. any beach in the US) in a bathing suit. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable; other days it makes sense. (Most days I just want to rally for single-sex beaches). I think ultimately we all do what makes us comfortable. And we can't assume anything about another person's comfort level, which is I think the main reason I found this discussion so weird. So they don't *want* to wear a bathing suit. And other people do. Who cares? Does it really matter?


dazey
(Ching Shih)
04/22/06 06:45 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Auroranorth, I do see your objection to the sexism inherent in the difference, and I agree with you: I would be quite upset if my daughter (when she's older) felt she had to cover up in order to be decent. But I just see going for the actual appearance of the girls as not really the point - it's the reasoning behind it, and perhaps the terms in which they're encouraged to dress that way (though I don't know, not having seen the programme) that's a problem.

mashenka, you've really never heard anyone describe themseves as secular, or as a secularist ? There are a lot of us out there.


LaSalleUGirl
(Ching Shih)
04/22/06 08:27 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
I just see going for the actual appearance of the girls as not really the point - it's the reasoning behind it, and perhaps the terms in which they're encouraged to dress that way (though I don't know, not having seen the programme) that's a problem.
I like the way you put that, dazey. It pretty neatly encapsulates my feelings about the entire situation.

For what it's worth, I've never heard anyone I know describe her/himself as "secular." I found some interesting problems with the definition of that term, but I'll take them over to the Verbivore so as not to hijack this thread \:\)


Mara2
(Ching Shih)
04/23/06 10:21 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Dazey, thanks for enunciating what I was trying to say before and having no luck with - like so many things in this world, I think it's how something is done, rather than the thing itself that people take exception to.

I think being in Australia (I'm not sure whether it's a myth that we are the world's most secular country, but we certainly have one of the lowest rates of attendance at formalised worship) I can't quite grasp the front and centre position religion takes in public life in the US. Whoever the canny producers were who picked the Duggars for a doco did well in putting together something that would become a lightning rod for discussion!


may14
(Ching Shih)
04/24/06 12:58 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

While I do think this family carries things too far, I think the reactions here are also a bit too extreme. I am coming from a very religious Jewish family, never wore pants, and never associated with secular people. I was not home schooled, but I attended a religious school where everyone believed in the same things, and almost everyone came from a big family. And yes, I would like to be a stay-at-home mum and the idea of 16 children does not faze me much. I think that my religious, all-girl school gave me a much happier upbringing then most kids have.
To be sure, we were not that sheltered: I do own a radio and an internet connection, though we don’t have a TV. But, apart from social skills, I don’t think these children miss much. All the ugliness in the world is best spared from them as long as possible. My friends are all well-adjusted young women, though they did not read about rapes and murders as children or teenagers.


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/24/06 08:21 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Thanks, May14, for articulating the problem so well. Since I've only gotten into Judaism recently, I was afraid I might be idealizing -- it's really good (and encouraging!) to hear this kind of perspective from someone who was raised religious.

boom
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/24/06 09:04 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

It is really unbelievable to me to read how fired up people get about this family! Very interesting to read all of your comments and perspectives.
I will say that I watched the show and while their lifestyle would not be my choice in lifestyle, and I CERTAINLY wouldn't have 16 children (two is plenty for me), I admired a good deal about their family dynamic.
Homeschooling sounds scary and cult-ish to those who don't know much about it...and while I would not choose to homeschool my children, I know plenty of families who do it and their children are some of the most intelligent, well-rounded and well-mannered I have ever met.
It did make me sad at times, to see the older children "raising" the younger ones. I think they will gain PLENTY by having a support system of siblings around them; they will have a closeness with their siblings for a lifetime...long after their parents are gone. But I wonder how much personal attention each child gets from his/her parents. How much physical affection? \:\(
That really is the only part that disturbed me. This family carries no debt, lives economically, raises intelligent and kind children, and seems to be happy together! With the dissolution of family in our day, and the lack of good manners, and good education (in our public schools!!) I think this family is doing a lot of things RIGHT.
The overpopulation point...I don't know. I have more of a violent objection to babies being brought into this world (in staggering numbers) by parents who have no jobs, who do not prioritize their children or their education, who have no home, no means to provide health care or basic hygiene for their children, etc. etc. THAT, to me, is offensive.
And so is the tater tot casserole. But bless their hearts...16 children. I have kids, and they probably would LOVE themselves some tater tot casserole. Yikes.


boom
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/24/06 09:27 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by dazey:
[Why should young women be expected to reveal their bodies if they want to swim? What does the discomfort with that aspect of their lives say about what we expect from people's appearances? There's an element of body judgementalism in condemning people for not "making the most of" their appearance, but why should that be an aim for anyone? [/QB]
I forgot to say, Dazey...I agree with you completely on the modesty swimwear thing...and there IS an equivalent for men...it's the loose swim trunks that they all wear! Unless they choose to wear a speedo, their swimsuit does not hug every curve of their private parts the way that girls swimsuits do. There is no comparison here! You cannot make out the shape and size of a man's private parts through their swim trunks, but you certainly can see the size, shape, and location of everything in a woman's swimsuit.


LovelyPride
(Ching Shih)
04/25/06 05:11 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by boom:
I think they will gain PLENTY by having a support system of siblings around them; they will have a closeness with their siblings for a lifetime...long after their parents are gone.
This is the rather dangerous assumption most people have about large families. My father comes from a family of seven children and even in that size of a group he felt lost in the shuffle. Out of six siblings he has only been close with one all his life - he's closer to some of his nieces and nephews. The older siblings sometimes took advantage of the fact that his parents couldn't be watching all the time and bullied the younger ones. If you give someone power, they will use it.

His parents have both past away now and the family has drifted apart regardless of size. Just because you're forced to deal with a lots of siblings doesn't mean you'll become close to any of them. There will always be personality clashes in any large group - families are no exception.


goo
(Ching Shih)
04/25/06 05:55 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
boom wrote:

I admired a good deal about their family dynamic.
I found little to admire in their family dynamic.There seems to be no room for individuality of expression, no choice, isolation, limited education, roles solely ascribed by gender and little actual parenting. The parents manage the children, delegating the parenting and assigning tasks. One 13-year-old girl cooks for 18 people, and I didn't see much evidence of intelligence in any of them. How many cuddles can you give 16 kids in one day? Do you always remember each of their names?

I find several things distasteful about the documentary on the family - the disconnect between the isolation of the family and the media interest in the family; call me cynical but selling your family for TV - twice! - is pimping your freak show. Religious lifestyles such as these are novelties now. I also distrust any religious imperative for 16 children - the majority of the "babies being brought into this world (in staggering numbers) by parents who have no jobs, who do not prioritize their ... education, who have no ... means to provide health care or basic hygiene for their children, etc. etc." are most likely to be those in underdeveloped countries whose parents are providing for the lifestyle of those in the west. Those babies are paying for the Duggars. Having 16 children in a western country is just irresponsible, and I don't understand how that could be sanctioned by any god.

My mother's family is large (15, 64 grandchildren) and strongly evangelical Christian, and messed up and unsupportive and strictly judgemental and sometimes downright nasty; perhaps Judaism is a nicer religion than this one.


may14
(Ching Shih)
04/26/06 03:11 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

As I have already started telling about my personal life, I might as well go on and say that I have six siblings, and that it did not prevent my mother from knowing the names of all my teachers and friends, and being able to tell my teachers exactly what I liked and disliked about any subject. My best friend is an only child and her mother, a good and supportive parent though she is, could never equal my mother in being thoroughly acquainted with her daughter.
In an era when individuality is so celebrated, I might add that although we have only four rooms in our home (yes, yes!) every child's privacy was (and still is) respected, and no one meddled with our belonging or even try to engage us in a conversation when we wanted to be left alone. When we wanted society we had plenty of that, and when we did not- everyone had a corner where they liked to curl up with a book/walkman, and no one disturbed them.
And my friend the only child, by the way, has helped her mother a great deal more then I have ever done. I never cooked, cleaned the house or ironed more then few shirts. My biggest chores were- and still are- keeping my room in order and sometimes helping my mother to wash the floor. So don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. You just can't say "large families are all alike", because they are simply not. Nor are small families, for that matter.
Oh, and yes, I wish everyone had been cuddled as much as I and my sibling have been.


goo
(Ching Shih)
04/26/06 02:18 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
may14 wrote:
You just can't say "large families are all alike".
I don't think anyone here has said that. My comments were in relation to the program about the Duggars, in which there was nothing I found commendable about their lifestyle. My experience as a member of a similarly large family with a similar faith and set of religious traditions reinforces this.

I find the use of the word 'tolerate' in this thread interesting - is it meant to be defined as 'respect' or 'endure'? I'm willing to endure families such as the Duggars, but I can't respect their lifestyle (as I'm aware of it from the TV and their website). There is too much that is absurd about it.


Libby
(Ching Shih)
04/27/06 05:19 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Slightly off-topic, but I was just reading an interview with Ingrid Hill, author of Ursula Under, holds a doctorate in English, teaches and writes and is herself the mother of 12 children. I like the way she likens parenting to writing:

 Quote:
Parenting takes perseverance: so does writing. Parenting demands creativity: so does writing. Parenting pays back great emotional and spiritual rewards—and also gives us grief. So does writing. Both are manifestations of the great spirit of life itself.


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
04/27/06 10:28 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Oooh Libby I love that quote! And I think I may have to check out this Ingrid Hill \:\)

SeattleShrew
(Ching Shih)
04/28/06 07:47 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by goo:
I find the use of the word 'tolerate' in this thread interesting - is it meant to be defined as 'respect' or 'endure'?
I wondered about that as well, goo. I think endurance isn't enough for some. Perhaps it has to do with the evangelical aspects of some religions, in which getting others to join up is a priority.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mara2:

I think being in Australia (I'm not sure whether it's a myth that we are the world's most secular country, but we certainly have one of the lowest rates of attendance at formalised worship) I can't quite grasp the front and centre position religion takes in public life in the US.
I think it is quite regional in nature. I live in a city in a so-called blue state and it isn't so big a part of public life here. But I'm quite aware of its influence, and am wondering only half-jokingly if Australia is still accepting immigrants.


MissAmy
(Ching Shih)
05/03/06 03:05 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by LovelyPride:
 Quote:
Originally posted by boom:
I think they will gain PLENTY by having a support system of siblings around them; they will have a closeness with their siblings for a lifetime...long after their parents are gone.
This is the rather dangerous assumption most people have about large families. My father comes from a family of seven children and even in that size of a group he felt lost in the shuffle. Out of six siblings he has only been close with one all his life - he's closer to some of his nieces and nephews. The older siblings sometimes took advantage of the fact that his parents couldn't be watching all the time and bullied the younger ones. If you give someone power, they will use it.

His parents have both past away now and the family has drifted apart regardless of size. Just because you're forced to deal with a lots of siblings doesn't mean you'll become close to any of them. There will always be personality clashes in any large group - families are no exception.
This sounds exactly like my father's family. He is the youngest of six, and only close to his brother, who is next-to-youngest. All the other siblings are sisters, and he never speaks to them. The family was raised evangelical, and all but the younger two sons have had very rough lives, problems with addiction and the law.

My main beef with the Dugars isn't that they are religious or that they have a large family. It is that they have a socially irresponsibly large family, and are raising their children to be judgemental and sheltered with no skills to live in the "real" world. I can't imagine that the younger ones are getting any kind of real affection from the parents, and I would imagine that they are bullied by the older ones as well. Also, I have known many home-schooled kids and unlike many of the posters in this thread, have never met one that was sufficiently socialized or particularly well educated. Yes, they do tend to be well behaved, but that is not the only thing that education is about.

As for the swimsuit issue, I simply think those things look hideous and hot. Like I said in my earlier post, I don't wear ultra-revealing swimwear and don't really approve of it for very young girls. However, I do think that if children are going to swim (particularly in the ocean or a large lake) they need to be comfortable and have a reasonable range of movement. Also, I'm from Texas - our summers border on the unbearable, and it seems like being out in the heat of the day in one of those contraptions would increase one's chances of heat stroke due to the double layers of thick material. That, to me, seems like a high price to pay for modesty.


anchorsandkeys
(Ching Shih)
05/11/06 12:34 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I find the way the family is run to be very troublesome. The two most alarming aspects, to me, are the concepts of "blanket training" and the suppression of individuality amongst the kids. Blanket training consists of putting a baby/toddler on a blanket, then smacking/tapping them with a wooden spoon, rolled-up newspaper, or some other object every time they wander off the blanket. Eventually this trains them to stay in one place and not get into trouble, which maximizes the parents' time to do other things. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that it would also lead to developmental issues. Kids of that age are supposed to be curious and wanting to explore the world around them, and if you train that desire out of them at such a young age, there's no way it can't create problems later.

Related to that is the "individuality" issue. These kids all play the same instrument because their parents can't afford twelve different teachers. They all learn exactly the same things because they only learn what their parents teach them. They're homeschooled. Their church is run by their father, in their basement. They only socialize with families who are "like them." They often wear matching clothes. Already the oldest son has said that he's not going away to college because he gets separation anxiety when he's away from his siblings for even a few hours at a time. They're so used to functioning as a unit that I'd be surprised if any of them learn to survive on their own. It can't be healthy.

Furthermore, the parents don't take care of their kids. Each small child has one of the older children as their "buddy." The older buddy is in charge of making sure the younger one is fed and clothed, does their chores -- they're even partially in charge of their education. In my opinion, that's frightening. From what we've seen, the parents do alarmingly little "parenting" or caretaking -- they just oversee the whole thing and make sure the machine is running smoothly. There's no way that a 12-year-old kid should be in charge for large parts of a 4-year-old's education.

The extreme religiosity is not what bothers me -- nor is it the traditional gender roles they're passing on (in fact, in one scene in the most recent Duggar special, the kids, both male and female, are shown helping with the construction of the new house, so I'm not sure that their gender roles are as traditional as some people are assuming). I think people should be free to raise their kids as they see fit as long as they can provide for them financially, mentally, emotionally, etc. But while the Duggars appear to be capable financial providers, I have plenty of doubt about their ability to take care of their kids emotionally. The idea that a 17-year-old boy can't be away from his family for more than a few hours at a time suggests some serious developmental problems, and I'd be surprised if he was the only one that had them. That said, if he chooses to stay at home until he's married, then builds a house on his father's land like his father apparently wants him to do, this may never become an issue.


Sarai
(Ching Shih)
05/22/06 11:56 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by goo:
How many cuddles can you give 16 kids in one day?
Arguably, more than you'd be able to give a smaller amount of children that you packed off to school every morning.

I come from a strong religious background and have seen examples in my community of similar situations to this, although it is quite unusual and I think the largest number of children I've known about is 8 or 9. (I heard about one with 11 once, but that may have just been a rumour). In my experience, sometimes a large family works and sometimes it doesn't. I have seen some children who have had to look after younger siblings during their early teens develop into remarkably caring and emotionally mature people - and others become attention-deficient, resentful and rebellious. Not necessarily due to parents' methods, either - often two children from the same family and of similar age can react quite differently to the same upbringing.

One thing I strongly believe, though, is that a sheltered family life does not mean that a child has no hope of being able to survive in the 'real world'. I'd be the first to agree that cases like the Duggar family are extreme and impractical - not being able to be out of a parent's presence for more than a couple of hours does not sound healthy. (Although I'm sure it'll work out fine for the kid in question since he'll probably just end up living on the family property and working for his Dad anyway). But generally trying to bring up your children in as safe and protected an environment as you can is, to me, perfectly commendable. I think that children are going to find out for themselves soon enough that the world can be a rotten place sometimes, and don't need their parents ramming this fact down their throats as early as possible in order to be well-adjusted. Do parents really need to immerse the kids in the less palatable aspects of the world in order to make them aware of the existence of such aspects?

I've known a fairly large percentage of people in my life who have had what most people would term an extremely 'strict' or 'sheltered' upbringing. The only overwhelmingly common personality traits I've noticed are personal integrity and a lack of cynicism, which I think are to be commended in anyone.


Kwe
(Ching Shih)
05/23/06 10:54 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

TLC ran ths show again last night...or rather, early this morning.
I'd seen it a couple times and a couple things bothered me but it is mostly of a personal nature than anything.
I can see why all the girls wear long dresses but also noticed that in a couple scenes the girls were wearing jeans. And in the shot where everyone is standing around the piano playing violins I could swear that the oldest boy and a girl or two were wearing gold bands on their ring fingers. But in a cutaway shot they had removed the rings.

I'm not sure what bothers people more: the number of children or how religious the family is. I'm the youngest of a very large family - but even this family makes me wonder.

One thing that I'm curious about: was the furniture and decorator and construction assistance a contra deal?


anya66
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
05/24/06 11:08 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I'm new to this board, hello! About the Duggar's...
I feel that if they really want to do the "Lord's work" they should stop having more babies of their own and take care of some of those that already exist in this world. They do truly seem to have a lot of patience and energy. It's probably too late now with 17 kids, but earlier when they only had, say 3-4 kids, they could have looked into fostering a child or two. Possibly eventually adopting a few. This would truly be more environmentally responsible and help out some children who really need it.

I don't agree with one family populating the earth all by itself (the Bible says a lot of things, yes children are gifts from God, but we are also called to be good stewards of the earth).

One other site said that their home and property are tax exempt because they call it a "church" and have tax-exempt status. If this is true (I haven't researched it), that really bothers me.


eanja
(Ching Shih)
05/24/06 06:38 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I have not actually seen the documentary about the Duggars (I would like to, but don't pay for that level of cable.) But I have found this thread quite thought-provoking nonetheless.

The issue of modest clothing came up on a friend's livejournal just the other day- an acquaintance was bemoaning the fact that people seem to take her unwillingness to wear really skimpy clothes as a sign that she is neurotic, which she was needless to say, unhappy about. So I had that in mind looking at the pictures of modest swimwear.

My thoughts are simply that from a point of view of being respectful of women, there is very little difference between insisting that females must be covered, unless they are tramps, and insisting that they must show everything, unless they are repressed and insecure. Ideally, women should be able to wear what they feel comfortable wearing, plain and simple. If outside sources dictate what is permissible, does it really make much difference what exactly they dictate?

At the same time, I do wonder why a girl who hasn't hit puberty couldn't just wear shorts and a t-shirt to swim, the same way a boy could. As a small child visiting my grandparents in Europe, I went swimming in nothing but pants, just like all the pre-school children. That was 30-odd years ago, and things may have changed, but last time I checked, my European relatives found the notion of mandatory tops on pre-school girls rather disturbing - to them, no adult would be looking at a topless five year old girl and finding her nipples sexually innappropriate unless they had scarily pederastic tendencies. (For that matter, I know plenty of adult women who put a big baggy t-shirt over their bathing suit. This may not work everywhere, but in Boston, people just assume you are either modest, or sunburn easily.) Not knowing whether the Duggar boys have to wear shirts, or at what age the girls have to wear modest swimwear, I can't really form an opinion of what they are teaching them. If they all have to wear shirts, fine. If the elementary school girls have to wear clothes that don't let them move around as much as the boys, then I have an issue with it. (I also have an issue with bikinis and mini skirts on small girls. They should be able to jump in the pool or climb the monkey bars without worrying about flashing anyone. I would have the same issue with small girls being told they have to wear long skirts that stopped them from physical activies. Applying sexual stereotypes to children who are too young to be viewed sexually squicks me, basically.)

I have similarly mixed feelings on homeschooling. I think it all depends why you are doing it. If you homeschool because you live somewhere where the local schools at terrible, that makes sense. And the one personal friend I know who home-schools does so because her son has Aspergers syndrome and simply has not been able to fit into the public schools in a workable way. If someone homeschools because they want to indoctrinate their children with a specific religious or personal agenda that can't survive contact with the outside world I get a lot more nervous. I am sure there are genuinely wonderful religious families who just live out in the boonies, but in general there are so many religious schools out there that if you honestly can't find one institution that's acceptable to you, or if you idea are so unusual that you can't send your kids to a decent public school and explain your differing personal beliefs outside it, I have wonder why. What some of the people have mentioned, that the Duggan's seem to be a one-family church with the father as preacher, makes me nervous. (And also confused. Is he an actual preacher in a established religion, or just some guy who arbitrarily decided that whatever he personally believes must be the will of God? Because I could declare myself a Discordian Mome tomorrow, and I don't see that it would mean I suddenly knew what I was talking about.)

And I have to say, the blanket training sounds scarily like that bit in Brave New World where they give all the working class babies electric shocks whenever they look at a book or a flower until they've learned that thinking is bad.


scarlet75
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/03/06 11:09 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

My perspective on religiosity and secularism is probably unusal:
I am a Jew of Ashkenazi and Middle eastern background, have lived in theMiddle East and the west, am marrying a Muslim, have an aunt and an uncle who married Christians and I therefore have a hoard of Christian cousins.
Also, I am a staunch secularist who believes firmly in God.

So... we have heard here about happy and functional religious upbringings. That's fine. But it's not the point. Where is the element of personal choice? Children from religious families that buck their families' values are in for a rough ride.

I come from a large, tight-knit Jewish community. Many, many, many of the religious and ultra-orthodox boys have drug problems. Many of the modern religious girls are also into drugs and promiscuity that doesn't involve penetration,despite their families' values. So what? So... sheltering only works so far.

One of my biggest beefs, though, is modesty. It's vile. It's only really for females. Any examples of male rules of modesty are laughable and if these rules are broken, the men are never called sluts or have their characters impugned.

For religious people, a woman's virtue (and by extension, the virtue of her family) is based in "keeping herself nice" ie - not acting like a "slut." THAT'S what modesty's about. In all three religions.

And if anyone tries to sell you stuff about how hijab, or Jewish codes of dress or whatever are there to "de-objeify" women, think about it. Why on earth does a woman need de-objectifying? Isn't forcing her to cover up basically saying, "what you have under there is too sexual." The coverings are a constant reminder of women's sexuality. The onus is on the woman not to arouse lust in man.

And as for choice re modesty? Let's just say, that in the extreme, if you buck conventions, you might suffer death via honour killing. Less extreme: ostracism from family and community. That doesn't smell a whle lot like choice to me.

One more thing: I appreciate that people do not want to disrespect the cultures of others. At the same time, bullshit has to be called at times. The evangelical Christians in this show perpetuate some vile stuff... that is exactly the same philosophically as vile stuff perpetuated by other cultures. It is not actually a discrete cultural issue. the issue is of global human rights. If I have the right as a woman living in the west to be free from religious coercion, what makes me superior to other women, that they should suffer due to an accident of birth that places them in a culture that precludes choice?

[edited because sleepiness means poor expression]


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
06/09/06 10:40 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Scarlet75, I don't really know how to argue with that. You sound really categorical with statments like 'modesty is vile.' On the one hand, you talk about choice; on the other hand, you don't seem to think the choice to dress modestly is a legitimate one. I understand you have a different perspective because you were raised religious. For me, coming into it myself at a grown-up age, it's been very liberating. I don't like being viewed as a body. I'm Masha, you can identify me as an individual by my face -- why would I need to show you my body? What I have under there is not 'too sexual' -- it is something that is very precious and only for my future husband to see.

There are definitely human rights issues involved and I agree that some cultures and families perpetuate vile things. But I don't see why you would conflate honor killings with women who have decided that they feel more comfortable in long sleeves and a long skirt. I do. I could wear a miniskirt; no one would stop me. I believe that everyone ought to have this choice, but that doesn't mean that I have to exercise it, any more than I have to smoke up in Amsterdam.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
06/09/06 02:38 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I think what Scarlet75 is talking about is the shadow side of religious life. Someone whose potential choices have been stifled stillborn is not the same as someone freely choosing a life which may seem restrictive to others.

For example, I live in a boarding house run by nuns. They're not cloistered, but they wear habits, rarely go out alone and live by religious rules. Having freely chosen to go into the religious life, they're happy with the way things are.

mashenka, you've made choices to live the way you do, and you're happy with them. It obviously works for you. My concern with the Duggar family is that the children are never exposed to the outside world, in all its ugliness and beauty. Yes, there are things that aren't appropriate for small children, but as we grow up, parental censorship needs to loosen its grip. There's a line between protecting your children and sheltering them to the point where they can't cope outside the family home, which is what's happening here. When a 17-year-old has separation anxiety to the point where he can't be away from his family for more than a few hours, I'd say this child is badly served and so are his siblings.

Also, I'm not saying that wanting your children to dress and behave modestly is wrong. When it's applied to only one gender, though, as Scarlet75 has said, there's a bigger issue of mistreatment.


ktl90
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/13/06 01:11 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Hi, new.

Came across this discussion page and found it very interesting.

First, I think that there is a huge case of the "grass is always greener on the other side" going on. People from big families might idealize the one-on-one attention of being an only child, and only children might cherish the thought of being part of a large hustle and bustle. The reality is either way may be ideal for any individual.

That said. Having been raised in an extremely religious family, and having been essentially shunned, and told that I am going to hell for not accepting the family's views, the most hurtful thing about being raised in a sheltered, indoctrinated, environment is being abandoned by your "family". I worry about any of the kids who do rebel, and having no real life skills on top of it, will have no idea what to do when they are abandoned. A parent (I think) has two jobs; 1. to love their children unconditionally, and 2. to raise them so that they can stand on their own two feet in the real world. And there are a bajillion and one "right" ways to do these two things.

As far as modesty (and religion, and gender roles, etc.) goes, it is all about choice. And you can't have a choice if you don't know the options. I think parents have a right to decide what their children wear, but part of good parenting is allowing children to learn to make good choices, on their own, and this includes dressing themselves.

Finally, as far as over populating the world goes, please check your facts. The reality is (and this has nothing to do with whether or not I think the Duggars personally have had too many children) in most industrialized nations we are barely replacing the current population, and the majority of population growth is due to immigration. There are a few European countries who have already stopped replacing their current population, and whose only growth is from immigration. 3rd world countries are the countries least able to support, and yet most likely to have booming populations.

Oops one more thing, as far as the USA goes, I think we need to be very careful about electing politicians who will combine religion and politics, as the US is supposed to be a separate church and state. and theocracy prevents evolution (sorry, probably a "bad" word) of society, as people aren't able to voice their individuality. Not saying that a free world, with separate church and state is always wonderful, but at least it allows the opportunity to improve.

I think that's all, sorry for the longwindedness.


SeattleShrew
(Ching Shih)
06/13/06 08:33 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

 Quote:
Originally posted by scarlet75:
It is not actually a discrete cultural issue. the issue is of global human rights.
Would you mind if I borrowed that, scarlet75?

 Quote:
Originally posted by ktl90:

Finally, as far as over populating the world goes, please check your facts. The reality is (and this has nothing to do with whether or not I think the Duggars personally have had too many children) in most industrialized nations we are barely replacing the current population, and the majority of population growth is due to immigration. There are a few European countries who have already stopped replacing their current population, and whose only growth is from immigration. 3rd world countries are the countries least able to support, and yet most likely to have booming populations.
That is very true, ktl90, but industrialized nations such as the United States use many more resources per capita then the third world. So while the Duggars aren't contributing to overpopulation per se, they are contributing to overuse of resources. As are we all.

I'm tempted to blather on here about large vs. small familes - I'm from a large one but have one child - but will refrain from doing so here, as it is only tangentially relevant.


scarlet75
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/17/06 08:24 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Mashenka:
The concepts, which I enumerated in my previous post, behind the emergence of modesty, its unequal application for women, and its implications are most certainnly vile. At its most extreme, the requirement of feminine modesty leads to female genital mutilation. The less extreme forms - along a clear spectrum of behaviours - are nevertheless based on exactly the same principles: that women's sexuality is inherently dangerous and must be controlled... by men.

"On the one hand, you talk about choice; on the other hand, you don't seem to think the choice to dress modestly is a legitimate one."

Of course it's your choice, as a consenting adult, to do as you please so long as it doesn't harm others. I never for a minute suggested otherwise. But that doesn't mean I have to agree with the reasons for it. That is my choice as well. I don't think choosing religiously inspired modesty is legitimate for someone who also believes in liberalism: I think it's contradictory. But again, what I believe in no way precludes my support for choice. BUT how will you demand your daughters - not consenting adults - comport themselves and regard their sexuality? How can that be characterised as choice?

"I understand you have a different perspective because you were raised religious."

I was raised in a traditional community, but I myself was never religious. My own background simply means that I was able to see the effects of hypocritical religiosity and its attendant effects on women up close. The hatred of their bodies (far higher rates of eating disorders than in the general population) and their relationship to their sexuality (feeling the need to fellate boys/men for approval often while guarding their in-tact hymens from penetration) never convinced me that religious modesty was any path to self respect.

"For me, coming into it myself at a grown-up age, it's been very liberating."

That's fine. Go for it. I am a liberal and support your right to wear a chicken on your head, should you so choose. But I also don't have to pretend that it is an intellectually rigrorous thing for an educated woman to do.

"I don't like being viewed as a body."

That's too bad. Our bodies are the suitcases of our minds - if you will - and most humans with whom we interact do not get to open the suitcases. That applies equally to men and women. We are all initially judged on exernalities, and extra layers of clothing simply won't change that.

Do you not agree, though, that by adding an extra layer of "protection" to your sexuality, that you are only amplifying your sexuality's power? That you declare that if you don't conver up, you are helpless and powerless to convery your humanity?

Why do you imply that a woman who shows her legs is incapable of being taken as seriously as one who doesn't? That is quite offensive. And it's also wrong. Who, in Israel, receives more respect? Tzipi Livni (parliamentarian) who regularly wears shortish skirts and shows her arms, legs, and hair, or the orthodox mother of 9 who is forced to work menial labour (while pregnant and looking after her children because her husband is "studying")? Perhaps the orthodox woman is beaten (this happens quite often), but it is shameful for her to seek help (and she is discouraged by rabbis from doing so - her role is maintaining Shlom Bayyit - keeping the peace of the house... ie not complaining when she's hit), she cannot initiate divorce under Jewish law, and if she makes problems, her husband can easily gain custody of her children if he divorces her. Remember, if the husband disappears without divorce, she is a chained woman and all future children (and their children for 10 generations) will be pariahs in the community. Somehow I think Tzipi Livni's hair and legs don't detract from the resect she receives quite enough for her to choose the orthodox modesty alternative.

Don't doubt for a moment that this is the reality into which you are entering. If you do, you have simply avoided the most cursory research.

"I'm Masha, you can identify me as an individual by my face -- why would I need to show you my body?"

Who's asking to see your body? It's about going above and beyond the norm because you are determined to oversexualise yourself though desexualisation.

"What I have under there is not 'too sexual' -- it is something that is very precious and only for my future husband to see."

I'll tell you this: My primary and secondary sex organs are most certainly too sexual for the rest of the world to see. That's why I tend to keep them covered. But all you're doing is EXPANDING the list of what you consider secondary sexual organs to be concealed. Your husband is irrelevant to this process.

I also hear very strongly in your cadences the pernicious influence of Habad proaganda. They are fond of informing women that their inferior status in Judaism is not actually inferiority, just "equal-but-different." Again, do some cursory research into what you are entering.

"There are definitely human rights issues involved and I agree that some cultures and families perpetuate vile things. But I don't see why you would conflate honor killings with women who have decided that they feel more comfortable in long sleeves and a long skirt."

Mashenka, you're obviously very intelligent and educated, so surely your see the potential for a principal to underpin a spectrum of behaviours. When you wear a long skirt, you are not doing it because it's comfy, I assume. You do it because it is modest, and as I have explained, modesty is a construct designed to constrain female sexuality. So you are most certainly adhering to a principle that is problematic for a liberal, liberated woman, even if the manifestation might seem benign at the moment. It may not always seem so benign. But if you live in the West, you are fortunate: you can leave the confines of Jewish law at any time, should you feel that you are suffering discrimination.

Unfortunately, the secular women of Israel (who constitute the vast majority) do not have that luxry. They are not disprespected because they show legs, arms, and hair. They are disrespected because they are women, by men who subscribe to the religious modesty paradigms about which I am writing.

And one last little thing: you know that if you have daughters, they will never be able to sing in front of men. No big deal? Your husband will never be able to see them at school performances or sport because the presence of other female students singing or sporting might arouse his lust. Make no mistake: this idea of modesty is the ultimate sexualisation of women and girls. Nothing is innocent.

For what it's worth, I have no time for other religiosities either. Extreme Christianity (especially African involving female genital mutilation), Islam, Hinduism and anything else robs women of their humanity.

Seattle Shrew, it's all yours.

[edited because I thought of other stuff and didn't want to create a new post]


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
06/18/06 06:37 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

This thread has strayed way too far from its theme. If people want to discuss the issue of religious modesty, start a new thread. Let's get back to the topic here.

And scarlet75, while I appreciate that you have strong views based on your own upbringing and experiences, you need to watch your tone. You are assuming way too much about other people's motives and values. For a self-described liberal, you are coming across as extremely judgmental. I suggest cultivating an attitude of curiosity, wonder, and genuine respect instead. Thank you.


scarlet75
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/18/06 08:12 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Deborah, I never believed that liberalism and judgementalism were mutually exclusive. While liberalism demands that I do not interfere with others' pursuits so long as those pursuits do not harm me (or others), it does not demand that I accord such pursuits equal respect.

BTW, the term "liberal," is prolematic in an American context. In the US, it has taken on a different meaning from the Millsian philosophy to which I and other non-US might subscribe.

As for, "curiosity, wonder, and genuine respect," I am intensely curious, and genuinely wonder, about women's rights and religion. If I cultivated any more curiosity or wonder, I'd be unable to function.

As for genuine respect: I assume none of us respects racist views (though we may be curious, or wonder about them). Nor do we respect misogyny. We might just differ as to the what constitutes misogyny.

To demand respect universlly seems to demand an abrogation of judgement.

I will go start another thread that is less of a derailment (for which I apologise).


deborahAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
06/18/06 08:38 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

scarlet75, you do not have to accord other people's pursuits equal respect, but on this board, you have to accord other posters equal respect for their views, and engage in dialogue in a way that does not diminish people.

And the term "liberal" is problematic in any context, as far as I'm concerned. And so is "conservative." These tired labels, like most, don't begin to capture human complexity, in my opinion. And for what it's worth, my context is not the American one, either; I'm Canadian.

 Quote:
If I cultivated any more curiosity or wonder, I'd be unable to function.
I'm sorry, but this really does not come across in your writing. Check your tone.

Topic, please.


Mitsy
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/06/06 04:01 PM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I have written about the Duggar's on many forums. Oftentimes, I was in the minority in that I think the Duggar's need to grow a brain and perhaps learn to trust "GOD" with their sex drive if they want to give God the credit (or blame) for how many children they have. I can't think of a more irresponsible excuse for breeding than saying "we'll take as many as He gives us". I believe they are actually insulting God by their delusional attitude about family planning (or lack thereof).

I used to attend a very conservative church (one where the women did not cut their hair nor did they ever wear pants). I was not a member, so I did not ever dress like they did. However, they accepted me as I was and I stayed there for a number of years. I left over other doctrinal "differences" but I digress here.

The Duggar's are a poor example for other families in that they tout their lack of debt as being so responsible while breeding like wild animals. Their irresponsible behavior is insulting to other families who are smart enough to use birth control and to know how many children they can take care of. Having children raise other children is not fair. If the parents cannot take care of them, then they should not have more. If they truly just "loved children" as they have been quoted, then they would be adopting some kids rather than adding to the overpopulation of our world.

It doesn't matter to me how they dress or if they cut their hair or not. It is their belief that it is a commandment from "GOD" to not use birth control. That sends a very distorted message to others. There is nothing biblical about continuing to have children past a reasonable number. The Duggar's surpassed that number about 6 or 7 kids ago. They do not deserve family of the year in my book.

P.S. I am also NOT a supporter of "home-schooling". While it might work for some, I think it is very limiting to have "MOM" teach at home. Any kid needs to be exposed to other people--some very different from themselves, in order to survive in this chaotic world. When the Duggar children get out in the real world, they will not be prepared for all that they must deal with. Living in a fundamental, home-schooling bubble is NOT the way to go. I pity the kids.


Catness
(Ching Shih)
07/07/06 06:55 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Mitsy, welcome to chicklit! Please take a long moment to visit our FAQ and please read the moderator note which dictates the rules of posting in this particular area of the chicklit forums.

As the moderator, I will advise you to tone it down. No one is attacking your opinions, so there's no need to come on so strong in your first post -- there's no need to be this vehement. If you've posted on the Duggars in several other forums, please keep in mind that what might be okay somewhere else as "reasoned debate" is far far different from what we engage in here.

This thread had some debate issues earlier -- it's not going to happen again.


mashenka
(Ching Shih)
07/08/06 10:26 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

Scarlet75, I can't communicate with you, you're too demagogic.

This thread, like the other one, has taken on a ludicrously aggressive tone.


FishDreamerAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
07/08/06 11:59 AM
Re: '14 Children and Pregnant Again' - the Duggar family

I think we're done. This thread is now closed and this topic considered over, until further notice.