‘Counting On’ Viewers Are Convinced The Duggar Kids Have Totally Ditched Some of Their Parents’ Longtime Rules

When Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar started a family, they did so with some intense rules. The couple decided that their children would have to dress a certain way and could only have certain interests.

As time goes on, though, viewers have noticed that some of the kids have completely ditched a few longtime Duggar rules — and people have differing opinions as to why.

The Duggar family
The Duggar family | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar set strict rules for their children

When Michelle and Jim Bob started a family, they decided they would raise their children more conservatively than most mainstream American families. The Duggars are devout Baptists, and they believe that everything they do should be done for God. When making their house rules, most of them centered around praising God and resisting temptation.

The parents homeschooled their children so that Michelle could incorporate more religion into their curriculum. Plus, sending the kids to public school would have meant they’d be opened up to differing views and opinions, and the couple didn’t want that for their children.

Jim Bob and Michelle also created some ground rules for their children in terms of resisting temptation. The girls were only allowed to wear dresses or skirts, since pants could hug curves. The kids aren’t allowed to watch TV or dance. Plus, the kids were not allowed to date; they could only court, or enter into a relationship with the intention of marrying. And no intimacy was allowed before marriage beyond holding hands and side hugs.

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

Viewers have noticed not everyone is playing by the rules

Those who watch the show have suggested that Michelle and Jim Bob’s rules have become more downplayed as the children get older. And as some kids have moved out, they’ve formed their own house rules and made changes within their own families. Jill and Jinger now frequently wear pants, while Jessa and Jana have been spotted in pants as well. Plus, the girls were required to keep their hair long growing up, but some recently cut it much shorter.

When it comes to courtships, the kids were always required to be chaperoned throughout their entire relationship (until marriage). At first, these rules were followed, but once John and Abbie started courting, they ditched the chaperone guidelines. Plus, Justin recently revealed he’s been quarantining with his girlfriend in Texas, making it impossible for his parents to watch over the relationship.


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Some think it’s a façade, while others think the kids have stopped caring so much what their parents think

Counting On viewers who typically criticize the show took to Reddit to discuss why there have been changes in the way the kids obey the rules. While some thought it was because the kids are getting older and everyone is starting to care less, others thought it was due to the Duggars trying to cover up their real tendencies to appear more likable.

“I think very few of them have stuck with most the crazy rules they were raised with,” the original poster wrote. “I honestly think that a lot of it is just for appearances,” one user replied. “It’s definitely for TLC, Jessa not long ago did that video on her children being sinners,” someone else added. “Some of them may have loosened up, and Jill is a different story, but I think they’ve mostly just decided to show a more secular, mainstream façade for TV. I doubt they all follow their parents exact rules… But they still likely follow very similar rules,” someone said. It’s unclear what might have prompted a change from the kids, but people are convinced they’re not as strict as they used to be.