Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Duggar Abuse: Teaching Their Children To Handle The Negatives

The Duggars didn't go into this blindly. I'm sure they realized that by putting themselves on national tv, they'd not only garner themselves fans, but they'd also garner themselves some negative responses as well. There is a message board on the TLC website that posts probably more negative Duggar comments than positive ones, at least the few times I've been there--but to be fair it was during the "Wisconsin incident"--so they know that there are people out there that aren't fans. Besides my small little blog there are greater, more popular ones that also get their fair share of negative comments.

I doubt the Duggars themselves cruise the Internet looking for "bad press" but it wouldn't surprise me if a producer from the show, or a producer's lackey had the task of reading message boards and blogs just to keep up with the Duggar's popularity and see how the public is feeling about them. Why else would TLC have a monitored message board right there at their fingertips, as well as a monitored Facebook page?

We learned from the "Josh and Anna Engagement" episode that they get a lot of emails about the older girls--I believe the comment was about marriage proposals and it was made by Jim Bob. Either Jinger or Jessa made the comment that most of those were "from creeps." So again, they probably get emails to their website that aren't all that friendly.

I tend to spend time on the Facebook page for "19 Kids and Counting" both as a way to network for the blog, a way to get ideas for blog topics, and to see what's new in "Duggar-land" as TLC posts previews there, plus extra interviews with Michelle. The rumour was that TLC deleted negative comments from the Facebook page, but I've seen many negative comments there--with a rise of defenders attacking the person who dare to make the comment--and so far I haven't seen those deleted, but that's just me. I don't sit there 24/7 monitoring so it could happen. Some people could also remove their comments once they are made and attacked--I've deleted old blog announcements after making new ones, so you never know. One person who was there a few days ago talking Duggar disappeared--along with his account--while I think he was just there to stir up trouble and play with those "true believers" and drive them nuts, I think he deleted it himself, not Facebook or TLC. He had his fun, then he was done.

So how do the Duggars teach their children how to handle any negativity they may encounter while undergoing this tv project? Well thankfully someone asked this question and Jinger (when she was 14) gave us the answer in their book The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

"Our parents have taught us to work at doing right and not worry what others think of us. yes, sometimes we hear some negative and potentially hurtful comments. but when those negative comments come, we are reminded to accept the ten unchangeable things about ourselves that make each person a unique individual: 1) the way G-d made us, 2) our parents, 3) our brothers and sisters, 4) our nationality, 5) our mental capacity, 6) our time in history, 7) our gender, 8) our birth order and placement in our family, 9) the fact that we grow older as the years pass, and 10) the fact that life is a race against time and the best way to use that time is to serve G-d and others."

Now to me, some of these do sound great and a great way to boost your self-esteem. I'll admit, on it's face, without some deeper explanation, some sound like fillers to make the list come out to 10. I do see where it was made to fit their family, obviously not every family can use this: what if you don't have siblings--no brothers and sisters, no birth order and placement in the family--and while these things do make you an individual and a unique person--how exactly do they help boost your self-esteem when someone makes a negative comment about you? I'm not saying they are bad things, I'm saying I need more information. This is probably because I was the baby of the family? Maybe that's why I don't get it? Also because I'm not on the best terms with my sibling? No idea.

I do use some of these, to be quite honest, when I'm not feeling all that upbeat about our current situation. For instance, if you're ever feeling down about your food budget, reread a few Laura Ingalls Wilder books and you'll never feel hungry or bored with your diet again. You'll also look at the potato in a whole new light. So "our time in history" is one I appreciate--I don't have to boil water to do my laundry, hitch up a horse to go to town, or sew by hand by candlelight. All in all my life is pretty darn good all of a sudden.

Also "mental capacity" is one that should cheer you up if someone tries to buck themselves up by tearing you down. I merely remind myself of what I've accomplished scholastically and that not everyone could have done that.

I'm not sure about "nationality" unless it's to be thankful that we live in a land so wonderful. After all there are countries out there with much worse living conditions and we should be grateful for the fact that we live here? Is that what they mean by that? I really hope so, because taken another way it could be really really bad.

All in all I think the Duggars have done will in preparing their kids for what to expect and how to handle any negative comments or harsh words they might hear. Keeping them away from the family email is probably wise, and shielding them from certain websites is also a good idea. Why go searching for bad words about yourself if you know you'll probably find it? It's not as if they just threw their kids to the wolves and said "yeah we'll do a tv show, bring it on!"

From reading Jinger's answer, you can see that it's well thought out and it's been repeated to them often--not in a "drilled in" way, but in a way that they know, positively, that their parents care for them and want them to remember the positive things about themselves, always.


  1. I think the nationality comment is simply you can not change the nation you were born in or the race you are so learn to appreciate and accept it, and if negative comments are thrown your way, ignore them because they are things beyond your control.

  2. I think that Jim Bob and Michlle probably have experienced negative comments from the beginging. I know when you put your convictions out there for everybody to see you always have a critic. I remember watching a show where Michelle said her family thought she was crazy for having so many children and it took them to her ninth child to except it. I know that there are people in there home town who think they make them look bad. I know this because they have come on the TLC page just to tell of us what they think. I would think that this is how they prepare their children for this. I have notice people judge Josh now that he is older. Before they felt sorry for him and thought he needed freedom. Now he is lazy and can't think for himself. Oh and he treats Anna bad. I really have never seen this, but I guess everybody sees things in a different way. I see nothing wrong with sheltering your children from the internet and tv. If each parent would do this we would have a lot less crimes and children growing up to fast.I also hear they have no friends. I often wonder where people come up with this. They are only a half hour show. They also are living in a different town right now to take care of Josie. I wonder do people not consider the Bates their freinds. HOw did Josh meet Anna. I guess they had to meet somewhere. They go to church missions and meet people. I notice that not all the people on the mission were Duggars. I think people like to see what they want to. I laugh at all the stuff that is written about the Duggars or blame on them. So far in the last two weeks I have read they are bad for the enviroment, the over poplulate and they abuse their kids. Large family use to be normal. one would say cars, factories and all that stuff are bad for the enviorment. I just don't get how one havign a large family could make this planet bad. I think if the Duggars were depended on people to take care of them I would understand the over poplutaing thing. In my opinion I think most who complain about the Duggars are jealous. They can't see past their own needs to see that they are good honest people. They teach their kids values. A lot of people are lacking that these days. I am sure they just tell them to smile and remember who you are and that you live to serve God. Even god hears negative things about him everyday.

  3. Personally, I'd be a lot happier if people learned to treat others with respect. Learn and practice the Golden Rule-- treat others how they want to be treated.

    I tried defending the Duggars on many points on several message boards. My posts either get no reply or they are ripped apart and the meaning of my words are changed. I've made valid points which no one else has made, but my comments are not treated with respect.

    I never knew that strangers on the Internet would and could tear a family apart.. a family whom they have never met, and whom they would never speak of these things to their faces if they did meet them.
    Maybe I am just an old fogey, but I think something has happened to the collective goodness inside people.

    IF I were the Duggar parents, I would have the best possible security system in my house, and guards with the family for the truly public things they do, such as appearing in NYC or otherwise being in the midst of a crowd. After stepping up and making a stand for the Duggars, I've been amazed at the strength of the hatred against them.

    Kind words, scripture and prayer may not be enough to keep the nuts at bay. Especially if Michelle has another baby-- people seem really clear on the anti-Duggar sentiment if she has #20. Which is totally Duggar business and no one else's. I pray that ALL of their children will be healthy and happy, whether they number 19 or 22.

    I don't understand the hate. I can't understand it.. and I have an advanced degree in Psychology. The personal part of me says that our society has stopped respecting other people in general. The professional side of me says it's some sort of sick jealousy against a family which is successful, beautiful in their own way, and full of the bounty which God has blessed them with because of their stance against things which are " worldly".

    Thank you for letting me share.
    Lily A

  4. We only have 6 children. My children stood by a couple years ago (when we had only 5) and heard an ignorant man at a business tell me that I should 'go ahead and slit your throat now before they all become teenagers' and 'You are going to want to KILL yourself in a few years' and tell the children "You guys know your mom is insane to have so many right?" and just kept on with the 'WOW. FIVE! WOW. OH MY G**' (which totally offends me, we do NOT take the Lord's name in vain) just over an over with more and more ridiculous stuff. I honestly wonder if he had been drinking a bit or something. He was so loud and obnoxious.

    But I was mindful that my children were watching to see how Mom would react. Would I pop off a smart aleck comment? Would I be rude? So I said "Well, I don't consider us crazy. I love my children very much, and they are the most wonderful blessing ever." He reiterated that "They'll be teens in a few years, and then you are going to want to KILL yourself." I said 'No, that won't happen. My children are wonderful children, who love God and they love me. If we have problems, we will work them out.' He commented again that 'Yeah, but teens are a whole new ballgame. They make you wanna shoot yourself in the head. I'd rather be dead than have 5 kids in their teens.' I said "Well, I would never committ suicide, b/c I believe the Bible tells us that is a sin and I want to honor God. I really wish you'd stop talking like that in front of my children, please." He then rolled his eyes and shut up. (THANK GOODNESS!)

    My poor children were scared by this man. We got in the van and the oldest said to me "Mama, you wouldn't want to kill yourself.... would you?" I said NO!I love you gu sy so much and consdier you a wonderful blessing." She wanted to know what was wrong with that man and I told her he must have some serious problems and we should just pray for him to have his heart changed.

    Sadly, since I'm on several 'large family' message boards, I know that people say stupid, hateful, hurtful things to people with more than 2 or 3 kids all the time. You have to decide how to respond. I try to remember to be a good witness at all times, but sometimes I want to say 'shutup!' ;)

    Mrs P

  5. I do not think it is appropriate to tell people how many children to have... unless they want me to do something finacially or timewise personally to help those children.

    that is all together different that discussing the Duggars, who have a TV show named after the number of kids they have AND the fact that they intend to have more (and counting....). Even then, I discuss the Duggars on an open forum, not in a rude email sent to them or their friends and family.
    And, the Duggars can end the discussion any time they want by cancelling their TV show and having TLC cancel their forum.

  6. I agree with what MMartin said - that list of 10 is things we are all "stuck with" so to speak and we are who we are bc of those things
    Ok - the Wisconsin incident - I never saw your orgininal post on it (that you deleted) and I have not idea what you are talking about. Can you elaborate a little?

  7. Melissa...it has to do with a trip that Michelle and Jim Bob took to Wisconsin in mid-April to a conference (as invited speakers, i believe) just after Josie was re-admitted into the NICU

  8. I agree that the Duggars did put themselves on TV and apparently that makes them public domain, but are they not still human beings with hearts, souls, and feelings? Just because they have a TV show named after them that all of a sudden makes it OK to be rude...so if they stop the show the rude comments will stop? They didn't stop to Anonymous who has far fewer children and no TV show...

    The point is, they are still a real life family with real life feelings...explain to me WHY being on TV means it's ok to be as rude as you want to be...I understand why it's perfectly fine to have reasoned and logical debates about them, as you do mythoughtis, especially about aspects of their lives anyone might not agree with or understand or want to participate in...and I'm fine with that--heck that's one reason why I started this blog--I love a good debate, was on the debate team in high school! ...but what I don't understand is why it's perfectly acceptable to go onto a message board and tell them how much the "suck" or how they should "get sterilized because they are using up the resources for the rest of us" ...or even insist that they should be adopting....

    They were kind enough to open up their lives to us, I think it's only fair that we be kind enough back. Why is that so wrong?

  9. marybeth

    the incidents you sited are not right, and there is no excuse for them. People who use that language or those over the top 'commands' (can't really think of a good term for them), are pople who aren't intelligent enough to carry on a debate. These are people who probably have their own life issues goig on, and are taking it out on the world.

    As I said, forums are a great place to discuss, disagree, etc about televions shows, and the theory behind them, but no one should be walking up to the Duggars and voicing their unasked for opinion. I do hope the Duggars are taking security pre-cautions, because there are some crazy people in the world.

  10. Thank you for putting it so well, mythoughtis...that's perfectly valid and I agree.

  11. This is a topic I've been pondering for a while now. Yes, I agree the Duggars have prepared their children for negative things they might hear. But, it is SO VERY difficult to ignore rude or hurtful comments. We've seen people go up to them and say hello and how much the family is admired. But...I'm just wondering if "certain" people approach them in a negative way and TLC just doesn't show it.

    When you are with your family and people you don't know are yelling negative things...how would you handle it? Now JB and Michelle would handle it with such grace. We all know that. But what about the younger kids who might not have a clue that people see them as different or don't like them? Of course we know the older kids are tougher...but it is not always easy to hold a smile and brush it off. Just wish we knew what they really think of the "anti-Duggars" and be HONEST and not repeat what their parents tell them. Something truthful and from the heart and not worry about offending anyone! Well we know this won't happen because they are SO sweet and polite.

    I agree with another poster when they said some folks are just jealous. This is SO true because I'm jealous of the whole "no debt" thing. Wish it was me! The girls SEEM happy and content helping with all those kids. I'm jealous because I've helped raise a sibling... and was not "content" with it, but I was happy most of the time. The Duggar girls will be blessed for not being selfish. :)

  12. Realistically - when you are travelling with a group of 20 and a camera crew - you are not paying attention to idiots being rude. You are making sure no kids get lost or pee their pants!
    And - they choose to shelter themselves from so much, I am guessing negativity is not a huge impact on them at all.
    If anything - Jim Bob and Michelle and maybe now Josh and Anna bear the brunt more bc they are more likely to be out and about alone or with less than the whole crew.
    Thanks Marybeth - I am still clueless about WI, I had no idea they took a trip. Was it on one of the shows?

  13. i stay away from anything too pro or too snarky. I prefer discussion boards that look at all sides. While some negative commentors go too far with the 'clown car' remarks and such,the positive commentors tend to take more offense then the other way around. That is only my observations. Disagreeing isn't jealousy or hate. I think if a site goes too pro or negative it turns people off.
    there is nothing wrong with some internet and tv. That's why tvs have V chips, internet has parental controls, and parents have remotes. I'm not saying watch all day but it makes no sense to cut them completely off. It doesn't hurt kids to see PBS sometimes and even older cartoons. I can understand monitoring younger kids but what about legal adults like Jana and Jon- David. TV isn't to blame for crime. It irked me when Mr.Rogers got blamed for the downfall of youth recently.

    Talking of hate and judgment, childless by choice get picked apart just as much just because they don't want children. They are called 'baby haters' and selfish.People are so nosy . Even those of us who aren't childless by choice get asked constantly when are you gong to have children? So the next time your large family gets negative comments think about the childless who are going thru the same thing.

  14. A lot of families have taken TV out of the home and it had nothing to do with religion...but a lot to do with education. Some has to do with focus and attention span issues with kids. My sister's kids didn't have TV until they were in JR high/High school and all were in the advanced programs, largely because they didn't have the distraction--and no religious reasoning at all--my sister just wasn't a TV person and neither was her husband. They finally got one when they were older because he wanted to watch sports.

    Like I said we don't have service for budget sake but do get dvds from the library. Chassidic Jews, where we worship, don't watch tv or movies, unless they are also Chassidic or very Jewish in theme, because they take away from your time and focus in studying Torah. My guess would be that the Duggars feel there is so much OTHER worthwhile things they could be doing other than watching TV and they've proven that. When we got rid of satellite i thought i was going to shrivel up and die, literally...i've managed to watch everything but 2 shows ....all found on line ..those 2 i wait until they come out on dvd and get my mom to buy them for me.

    there was a time when tv didn't exist, and for those of us in our 40s and older, tv was NOTHING like it was now and it was like it may as well of not existed...3 channels...then 12....big deal right? we were better off playing outside or with toys because there was rarely anything on for us anyway....

    when my daughter sees a picture of charlie sheen she starts singing "men men men..." that should worry me, and frankly i've dropped the ball....because she's 3....i do watch too many dvds during the day, so there is a lot to be said for turning the bloody thing off and playing tea party or reading a book....

  15. Melissa, no it wasn't on the show and probably won't be...it was kept rather secret and frankly any mention of it on message boards is deleted, so i'm told...but then i've also been corrected...lots of people blasted them for going, but i understood why they went...and was blasted for that...i took the posts down because it wasn't necessary....

  16. Angie...Can you see anyone going up to the younger ones and verbally attacking them? I can't, they are just so darned cute! It's the older ones I think would get it...I'm sure when they are out in NYC they probably got some hollering at them, but that can be edited out during production, or just not used at all....it wouldn't suprise me if a lot of negative yells when they are out and about has wound up on the cutting room floor....although at the same time, the people who make these comments with the privacy and invisibility of the internet, rarely that the nerve to say these things in public were they ever given the opportunity...the closest they get is nervously asking "how do you feel about the impact you're leaving on the environment with your carbon footprint"

  17. I'm sure they know that the negativity exists towards them and I'm really pleased that they have equiped the children to deal with it.
    I think perhaps that one of the problems is us 'fans' - we aren't equiped to deal with the offensive comments.
    I'm not talking about reasonable discussions and debates but the posts on fb pages, that are hurtful and often factually dubious.
    Because many of the opinions/replies are tied up with people's faith it becomes easier to offend and harder to separate feelings about religion and the Duggars, or at least not be emotive about them.
    Consider that in this world today we are encouraged to ask ourselves what we want, we have much more choice about our lives, how many children we want, when we want them, what kind of job we want, house we want etc etc. And so we have a good think about what we think would be perfect for us - and when people don't mirror our choices we can feel that it's a critisism of our lives. So when someone challenges our choices... one response is to attack. What do you think?

  18. I see ya point Chris. Homeschoolers vs public school. Bottle fed vs breast fed. Democrat vs Republican. Working moms vs SAHM. Catholic vs Baptist. Dating vs courting. PETA vs meat eaters.

    Sadly, we have been having emotional wars and challenging other people's choices since the beginning of time. Don't see it stopping anytime soon. But it's good to know, "we have much more choice about our lives". I liked that statement you made. It's very important we all try to remember that. I will keep that in my thoughts when I feel the urge to make a snarky comment or be a "little" negative. :)

  19. I think you may have a point...it's not the Duggars that have a problem with the negative comments as much as the fans that do. And that's so sad it's almost funny...or so funny it's almost sad, I'm not sure which!

  20. Chris I agree 100%,but I find it so hard not to type when people are so relentess about it. I have decided that I will at least try to understand their reason behine hating somebody they don't know and I can't get move on or block sometimes as giving me more controll over the whole commenting thing. lol have a good day.

  21. Maribeth, you sure have been busy posting! I am very behind in reading the posts, but this one "spoke" to me. Now that I hae 5 children, the amount of negativity I recieve is overwhelming. I have a hard time with it and could use some Duggar positivity. Although I would never change my life, I wish people were more forgiving,respectful and understanding of those who choose to have a large family. I am constantly made to feel as if I have done something "wrong".....simply because it is not "mainstream?".
    I don't get it either. Truly can't There is so much distaste out there. The crazy part to me is that it seems so hypocritical. In my opinion it seems that all of these people who say they care about the well being of the kids are the same people critizing them. Now how is THAT positive reinforcement?
    In the end, I believe that people see the Duggars and others like them as being radical.....ironic to me, but hey. Anyway, because the Duggars are of such strong conviction it is leaves others questioning where 'they' stand on the subject. In an attempt to find a voice and their own conviction, they are left with the option of indifference or to be against the Duggars and people like them. Polarizing the subject. At the end of the day, people make their own decisions based on what they want for their lives. There such a lack of respect out there.

    The negativity may make the Duggars acknowledge the fact that it exists but will probably only make them more resolute (is it possible?)in their choices. At the very least, if for no other reason than to simply not be like the people judging them.

  22. Hashia...when did 5 kids become a large family? I thought 10 kids was large! 3-4 was normal when I was growing up....most of my friends came from a family of 4...i felt weird for only having 1 sibling! I wish we had more than 1 and we keep trying :) Frankly we're going for the fertility drugs so if we wind up with twins or triplets I'll be over the moon...and then we can start changing people's minds as a team!

  23. LOL I have 5 kids, and I used to get grief all the time. I look at them and go yep they're all mine and I'm not sharing and walk off... Used to make my oldest crack up.

    Angie the whole debt free thing IS doable. If you are really interested in finding out more I can show you lots of different ways to make it happen.

  24. just wondering, how many parents would run to the police if their daughter told them that their 14 year old brother molested them? Most would handle it the way the Duggar's did, not to cause their daughters any more shame by exposing it to the public!