‘Counting On’ Fans Think This is the Real Reason the Duggar Kids Keep Doing the Show

When the Duggars first became famous reality stars, most of the kids were too young to realize what their parents had gotten them into. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar were on various television specials through the years, but the family landed their own show, formerly 17 Kids and Counting, back in 2008.

Since then, many of the kids have grown up, wed, and started families of their own. But some fans think that not all of them actually love doing the show — yet they have to.

The older Duggar children
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s older children | Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The Duggar kids have become the focus of the show

When Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s show first premiered, they played the largest role. But after their oldest son, Josh Duggar, was involved in a sexual abuse scandal that came to light in 2015, the show entirely shifted focus.

In 2015, Jill and Jessa: Counting On premiered, which highlighted Jill and Jessa Duggar’s marriages and new babies. And five years later, the show focuses almost entirely on the Duggar kids, though Jim Bob and Michelle are still a part of filming.

Some kids were born into the spotlight

Michelle and Jim Bob were still having children when their show first premiered back in 2008. The couple’s youngest kids were actually born into the spotlight and have been on the show since they came home from the hospital. It’s not always easy for kids to adapt to cameras all around, though the Duggars do seem to keep a very strict household despite their reality television fame. But it also means the kids never received a choice in whether they wanted to be on the show.

Some Duggar kids don’t know what it’s like to not have a TV show.

Some fans suspect they need to do the show for income and acceptance

Though the Duggars seem generally happy with their lives, it also appears that they couldn’t refuse to do the show even if they wanted to (Jill and Derick Dillard did — more on that later). The show has become the family’s livelihood. It’s a great source of income, and it allows Jim Bob to set up his kids in cozy homes and comfortable jobs.

If the kids chose not to do the show, Jim Bob and Michelle might not reward them with the same future as those who do choose to film. “… They need the money and houses from daddy because none of them have educations, and you can’t raise families with even one child on one sh***y income,” one person posted to Reddit. Others on the Reddit thread suggested the kids, specifically Joy Duggar, look generally unhappy during filming, but that they must do it to be accepted by their parents.

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard are off the show — and no longer close with her parents  

Two family members did decide to part ways with the show — Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard. And since then, it appears the two of them don’t have much of a relationship with Jill’s parents. It’s been suspected that Jill and Derick left the show due to some kind of dispute between Derick and Jim Bob, though it hasn’t been confirmed. Either way, it’s clear that Jill and Derick’s departure created some tension with her parents. And it could play a role in why the other family members don’t dare to leave as well.