‘Counting On’ Fans Love That Jessa Duggar Lets Her Kids Do This 1 Thing

Jessa Duggar gets a lot of grief from the parenting police. The mom of two has been accused of “brainwashing” her kids, slammed for letting her kids ride tricycles, and criticized for having a messy house. Some have even knocked the name — Spurgeon — she and husband Ben Seewald chose for their first child.

The social media critics have gotten so vocal that Jessa has taken to preemptively shutting down mom-shamers in some of her posts. In April, she shared an image of her boys playing on a farm truck bed.

“Yes, we’re barefoot, and we kept away from the roll of barbed wire, and he didn’t get to keep the prized nail that he found,” she wrote. “There. Beat ya to it.”

Jessa’s kids love to get dirty

On May 8, Jessa shared a video of her two kids, 3-year-old Spurgeon and 2-year-old Henry, splashing in a muddy puddle in the backyard. She captioned post “Good clean fun.” The kids seemed to be having a blast playing with their toy T-rex and monster truck, and getting plenty dirty in the process.

Given all the backlash she’s received, Jessa was undoubtedly prepared for some nasty comments when she posted the video of her dirt-covered kids. But the comments on the post were overwhelmingly positive. (Of course, it’s possible Jessa has just decided to delete comments from haters — and who could blame her?)

Fans praised Jessa’s parenting

On Instagram, commenters had plenty of praise for Jessa’s willingness to let her kids get a little messy.

“This is what fun looks like!” wrote one happy commenter. “My favorite thing to do as a child,” reminisced another. “Be outside barefoot, getting dirty and playing in the water and dirt!”

Others were happy that the boys were spending time outside, rather than sitting inside watching TV or playing on a device.

“Kudos to you for letting them be kids. Nice to see them playing in the mud and not having their faces in an electronic device,” wrote one commenter.  

“Seeing your kids actually play around instead of looking at a screen is a beautiful thing!” wrote another.

Others thought there were health benefits to playing in the dirt. “[S]oo good to see kids getting mucky and dirty. Builds stronger immune systems. Good parenting and it’s free,” one person wrote. “So great to see children getting dirty in the mud. Not tucked up inside with germaphobic parents…,” another added.  

Experts agree with Jessa’s approach

Kid playing in the dirt
Playing in the dirt | ChristinLola / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Like her followers on Instagram, some experts would agree with Jessa’s decision to let her kids engage in some messy outdoor playtime. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and the author of the book Dirt Is Good, told NPR that some parents “are over-sterilizing their environment, keeping their children from ever getting dirty.”

Gilbert said parents should not stress so much about the germs kids might be exposed to when playing outside. “[A]llow your kid to experience the world,” he said. “As long as they’re properly vaccinated, there’s no threat.”

Dr. Joel V. Weinstock, the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, told the New York Times in 2009 that a fixation on cleanliness could be hurting kids’ immune systems.

“Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,” he said.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!