Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar struck gold when they got their 19 children to be featured on TLC through various iterations of their reality show. As the older children grow up and start families of their own, it appears that many are keeping their family sizes smaller. Jill Dillard, for instance, seems content having two sons. Jinger Vuolo has spoken about keeping her family size small as well.
Could it be because the children realize they were not treated as individuals growing up and want to treat their own children differently?
Those who have spent time watching “19 Kids and Counting” know that the family always celebrates birthdays in the same way. A meal out as well as a dessert called chocolate mess that comes free at the Marketplace Grill. Those who have seen the show have also seen Jim Bob take advantage of “kids eat free” specials at local restaurants for special occasions.
Evidence that the Duggar parents are not getting to know their children as individuals emerged once again with a birthday greeting for Jackson Duggar. The social media post was generic.
On each child’s birthday, the Duggars post a photo and message on Instagram. Jackson’s post was edited shortly after it was originally posted to include more specific qualities after the family was called out for its lack of individual recognition.
For instance, a tribute to Jennifer posted last year points out her age and then describes her as “observant and strong, loving and loyal.” It points out her love for animals and comes from the collective “we.”
Another post for granddaughter Meredith describes her as “sweet” and full of “hilarious/cute things” she says.
The Duggar family spends a lot of time together, but the family’s show “Counting On” makes it appear as if the conversation and relationships are not very deep. Even the Duggar siblings seem to not have deep connections.
When some of the women in the family make a video call to newlywed Jinger Duggar in an early season, Jill wastes no time asking if she is pregnant. The rest of the conversation involves saying that things are “going good” and asking Jinger if she still has to use a map to get around her city.
The generic messages don’t just extend to birthday greetings either. It also applies to graduations and other life events.
For instance, a message for Jason and James upon graduation pointed out “their diligence in school, learning of trades and practical skills, and completion of the ALERT program.” This message could be applied to any of the Duggar boys who graduate from the homeschool program the family uses.
In a family with so many children, standing out can be difficult. It is clear to many of the family’s critics that Jim Bob and Michelle are not parents who get to know each child on a deep, complex level.