When Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar first hit TLC with 19 Kids and Counting, viewers were immediately captivated by the gigantic Duggar family. Not only were there 19 kids to keep track of, but their ultra-religious views and strict rules seemed incredibly outdated to most. And many found Jim Bob, the family patriarch, to be particularly controlling when it came to how his daughters acted, what they were wearing, and who they were choosing to court.
Is Jim Bob too over-the-top when it comes to his house rules? Here’s why fans are concerned.
All courtships need to be approved by Jim Bob
There’s a good chance the Duggars have stricter dating rules than the majority of viewers had growing up. The family members are huge believers in “courting” rather than dating, as dating is much more relaxed while courting comes with the idea — and hope — that marriage is likely to result. And plenty of modern couples are likely to date whomever they want without their parent’s express permission, Jim Bob requires that all of his daughters come to him for permission for courtship first.
In Touch Weekly explains in a webisode about the family, Michelle said, “Well, if there’s a young man who’s interested in one of our daughters, they should talk to … dad.” And we’ve seen the Duggar patriarch sit down with potential suitors for his daughters and question them in the past about their values and life goals. There have been times when Jim Bob has also been the one to find his daughters their husbands. In the case of Jill and Derick Dillard, Jim Bob actually introduced the two and was there to chaperone their first interaction.
When it comes to marriage, the men have to also ask Jim Bob for his blessing, too. And we can only imagine how intimidating that must be.
He makes sure his daughters are acting extremely modestly around other men
Not only does Jim Bob have specific rules he wants his daughter to follow, but he keeps a watchful eye on them to make sure they’re acting accordingly. When it comes to going on dates, all of the Duggar women are required to have a chaperone with them to make sure things between them and their suitor aren’t heating up. And there was one time when Jim Bob was definitely on edge after Jinger didn’t follow the no-hugging rule.
Inquistr notes when Jeremy Vuolo asked Jinger for her hand in marriage, the two had a full-frontal hug instead of a side hug, which is a huge no-no in the Duggar family. Jim Bob wasn’t chaperoning them at the time, however, as only Michelle was there to see the hug occur. When Jim Bob had the chance, he pulled his wife aside and asked her how the chaperoning went — and he even went so far as to ask Michelle if there was any full-frontal hugging going on. Much to his dismay, Michelle said, “Well, it’s kind of hard to keep two magnets apart.”
We also can’t forget how Jim Bob has no problem inserting himself into his kid’s texts. In Touch Weekly reminds us he got involved in a text conversation between Jessa and her then-boyfriend, Ben, when they were starting to act a little too friendly.
One source even called Jim Bob a ‘dictator’
Even with Jim Bob’s strict rules, he definitely loves his kids and seems like an overall good man. But sources have told People that the family patriarch exerts too much authority of his family. As one source told the publication, “Jim Bob’s favorite word is ‘no.’ He’s like a dictator. He once saw a guy kissing a girl before marriage and confronted him about it.” According to the source, when the man wouldn’t back down from Jim Bob’s commentary, he was stunned, “because no one ever confronts Jim Bob. No one.” Another source also confirmed that “Jim Bob calls the shots.”
We’ve never heard any of the Duggar daughters or his wife complain about his authority, though, so perhaps the sources are overreacting. All in all, it seems the family is understanding of Jim Bob’s ways and loves him no matter what.
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