Saturday, August 04, 2007

Baby No. 17 for the Duggars

I just read today that the Duggar Family welcomed their 17th child (Jennifer Danielle) and would "love" to add more girls to their large brood. On Discovery or maybe TLC, I've watched several specials on this family and while I am amazed at their organization and how they are able to survive financially, I have questions about their choices in parenting.

Jim Bob and Michelle seem like sweet, good, well-meaning people. According to them, they tried birth control and after a miscarriage and further education decided that it was not what they believed in. They decided to leave it up to God and continue to have children because God grants them these blessings and they will continue to accept them for as long as he wants them to. Ok, I can understand that. Where I have doubts is on their ability to parent based on this decision. When you have 17 children, are you able to nurture and guide each and every child? Or are the elder children raising the younger children? I am not trying to criticize or say they are wrong, but it just seems impossible to devote enough time to each child and unfair.

The other issue I have is that it seems the children are being raised so far outside of the real world that if they ever ventured out they would be eaten alive. They are homeschooled, attend church, and socialize with other families within their religion. From watching their specials they seem very sheltered. I guess it is possible the kids will attend religious universities and marry within and lead happy lives but... ? I don't know. It just seems weird to me.

However, what is weird for me may be normal to others and I'm just speaking based on my life experiences. If it works for them and their children are happy then, more power to them!

I have to add-I am in no way saying religion or homeschooling is bad...however, I do think that children should be educated and exposed to a variety of environments and people. It's great that they each learn to play two instruments but in my opinion there is more to life.


Jen to da fer said...

I totally see your points. My mother was one of 5 daughters and my father was a twine with 8 brothers and 1 sister. Both had responsibilities for their younger siblings and helped to raise them and those were both smaller families than they have. Then again I think, well, that's just what families do for each other. I agree that I don't see how the parents can really give as much attention to each and every child with so many. I agree that if the children stay in their own "environment/community" so to speak they'll be fine, but if they leave that element they would be eaten alive (as you put it). They do seem like a very nice family. I personally believe that children should be educated about various religions (if they want) and given the choice to make what religion/faith they want to practice if any at all. I don't like religious indoctrination....that's just me. I think children need to be able to explore.

Anonymous said...

One thing that is not being considered here (and I can speak to this as I have 8 of my own and would love any more the Lord sends) is that you are not seeing the connection between homeschooling and time with the children. You do not have to have individual time with no one else around to have good quality time with your children. When you homeschool you have your children with you all day long every day, not just the few hours after school and work schedules between dinner and homework. I am sure I have more ono on one interaction and quality time with each of my 8 children than most parents do with their two children in public school with both parents working.
As far as getting out into the real world and being eaten alive, you are assuming that theses are not strong & educated children who are going to grow up without firm convictions on life. I think if you raise your children and they develop strong convictions (faith included) they will do fine in the real world. After all their parents obviously handle it well. Just because a child is not thrust out into the world does not mean that they have no clue! Just my 2 cents.