15 Crazy Rules The Duggars Have To Follow

In just a few short years, the Duggars have gone from a no-name family in Arkansas to a household name across America. The family was TV gold, leading TLC to create a television program following the lives of the parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, and their 19-plus children, all of which had names beginning with the letter "J."

Their show 19 Kids and Counting aired on TLC for ten seasons before coming to a close in 2015 following a controversy involving Josh Duggar, the family's oldest son.

A spinoff series, Counting On, aired instead, and is currently in its fourth season. Counting On focuses on the lives of the older children and their new, growing families.

The original show was one of the most popular reality TV shows of all time, and even in its final tenth season, it was scoring fantastic ratings -- over two million viewers per episode and ranking in the top 25 in the Nielsen television ratings.

When the spinoff series began, it experienced ratings nearly as high as the original show.

Clearly we're fascinated with the lives, morals, and opinions of the Duggar family. They have every right to believe what they want and follow whatever rules they find best -- the quality is admirable.

However, even if they truly believe that these rules are for the best, most people will admit that they're somewhat bizarre.

So without further ado, here are the 15 Crazy Rules The Duggars Have To Follow.

15 Their dad must approve of all courtships

The Duggars like to have total control over dating, going to quite extreme measures when it comes to their children's relationships.

For instance, all courtships in the Duggar family must first be approved by their father. Jim Bob Duggar isn't just your average protective father either.

His interrogation of the potential guy or girl wanting to court his child is quite thorough-- he asks questions such as future financial support, spiritual beliefs, morals, and any other question under the sun.

The courtships all begin before any real time has been spent with the person in question, so in reality, even the Duggar children may not know whether or not the courtship is a good call.

However, if the Duggar dad doesn't approve, then the relationship doesn't stand a chance.

14 Women must always submit to their husband's wants

Jessa Duggar Wedding

The Duggars run a traditional household, and a big part of that involves the family's view that the man is the head of the house.

Men hold the jobs (while women stay at home), men make the family decisions (even if the wives disagrees), and wives submit themselves to their husbands at all times, fulfilling their every need.

This lifestyle leads to some interesting scenarios, and is also the cause of the family's many pregnancies -- yes, husbands even make the call about when to sleep together.

Regarding that topic, Jim Bob Duggar mentioned that he and his wife were "like a newlywed couple every day," his wife Michelle chiming in that "you always need to be available when he calls."

Combine that with the Duggars' condemnation of birth control, and you get a family with lots and lots of children-- even nineteen kids... and counting.

13 All text messages have to be group texts and all phone calls must be monitored until marriage

Josh And Anna Duggar Wedding And Baby

Given the fact that the Duggars want to handpick their children's partners, it should come as no surprise that the kids are never allowed to privately communicate with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

Want to text your boyfriend to organize a date? Make sure it's in a group text with the Duggar parents. Can't wait to call your girlfriend and tell her what a great time you had at dinner? Better include Jim Bob and Michelle on the other phone line.

The strict communication rules ensure that the relationship doesn't consist of anything it shouldn't (dirty talk or pictures are obviously prohibited), but it also unfortunately prevents intimate conversations with a person who you love.

Good luck telling your deepest secrets to your partner when their parents are on the line too.

12 No speaking with anyone who has gotten pregnant outside of marriage

The Duggars, like many other traditional families, don't believe that couples should sleep together before marriage.

They take this particular rule to the extreme, though, forbidding their children from making contact with anyone who has become pregnant before their were married -- they're not even allowed to talk to family members who have done this.

When Susanna Keller (Anna Duggar's sister) became pregnant even though she wasn't married, Jill Duggar, a midwife, was not allowed to talk or assist Susanna at all during the pregnancy.

The Duggars essentially ostracized Susanna, not wanting their family associating with an unwed mother. One source even stated that the Duggar parents "thought Jill shouldn't be exposed to an unmarried mother in that condition."

11 All dates must be chaperoned

Given their traditional rules and way of living, it hardly comes as a surprise that the Duggars are strictly against unsupervised dating.

Each date, whether it be a movie, dinner, or even a casual stroll in the park must be chaperoned. More often than not, the Duggar parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, accompany the children on all of their dating excursions.

However, if a parent can't attend, the responsibility of chaperoning falls on the Duggar siblings -- a group of several of the Duggar children join in on the date.

Jim Bob's rationale for such extremes? He says chaperoning each date helps "keep things from going in the wrong direction." He's not wrong -- not a whole lot can happen in a romance when the mom, dad, brother, or sister is tagging along too.

10 Females can only wear dresses and skirts - no pants

One aspect of the traditional household rules that the Duggars follow is their dress. The Duggar women can only wear dresses and skirts (no short skirts though), and they are not allowed to wear pants.

Forget relaxing and watching TV in your sweats or going for a run in athletic shorts. Instead, there are dresses and skirts for almost any occasion.

To their credit, many of the Duggar daughters have found unique styles of skirts that still retain a modern flair and are both fashionable and functional.

Michelle Duggar attributes her modest fashion choices as an important part of her faith. "I feel like the Lord is impressing upon me that I should be modest in what I wear... by choosing to wear dresses and skirts."

Even though this rule is enforced like all of the others, this one has also been broken most often, particularly by Jinger Duggar, who posts pictures regularly in pants.

9 Unwed couples cannot kiss or hug from the front

One Duggar rule that has received quite a bit of publicity and attention is their strict policy on showing affection when courting.

Hugging from the front, or chest-to-chest as they call it, has been forbidden until a couple is married. Jessa and Jill, two of the Duggar daughters, told reporters that this rule is in place to help prevent "temptation."

Similarly, kissing before marriage is also a big "no no" in the Duggar household, and for the same reasons as no allowed hugging.

This hasn't left the children entirely unprepared, though. In one incredibly strange moment from their TV show, Jim Bob and Michelle taught and demonstrated to their children how to properly kiss.

We get marriage counseling and all, but kissing lessons from your parents might be taking things a step too far.

8 No beach trips

Amy Duggar

While family vacations may be fun, and going to the mountains, hiking trails, parks, and the sort are all acceptable, one trip is off the table -- beach trips.

The Duggars believe in dressing conservatively, and there are simply too many risky variables at the beach -- namely shirtless men and scantily dressed women.

This seems pretty typical and acceptable to most of us, but for the Duggars this is unacceptable. Michelle explained that this rule is in place to avoid temptation, saying, "it's just too hard for the guys to try and keep their eyes averted."

This isn't to say that the Duggars have never gone swimming, though. Private pools, lakes, rivers, and the sort are all okay -- given that they are in a private place without being joined by the public.

In addition, they have their own line of swimwear, which includes a swimming skirt for women to ensure that they always dress appropriately.

7 No celebrating Halloween

The Duggar family's faith and values lead them to exclude themselves from quite a few activities that most people consider normal and harmless.

One holiday that they refuse to participate in is Halloween. There are many reasons for their boycott of the holiday, least of which are the skimpy costumes that many people choose to wear each October 31st. Their key reasoning behind opposing the holiday is due to their religious beliefs.

In the book, Growing Up Duggar, Jana, Jessa, Jill, and Jinger write about their parents' thoughts on the matter: "Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting, and the like are all part of the demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from."

"One specific thing that our parents have always been careful about is magic, which often shows up in children's movies. As harmless as it may seem, it's not a joke in God's eyes," they said.

6 No social media until you're engaged

Jessa And Jinger Duggar

An interesting rule that the Duggar family has put into place is that the children are not allowed to have or use any social media accounts until they are engaged. All social feeds such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are off limits.

This seems to be an odd rule in particular due to the simple fact that not everyone gets engaged at the same age.

However, the Jim Bob and Michelle clarified that the rule doesn't have to do with their children's age, but with their relationship status.

If their son or daughter has not yet become engaged (which means that they are not yet in a committed relationship), then they still have a chance to give in to temptation, and nothing exposes someone to temptations like social media does.

5 No holding hands until you're engaged

Even if kissing and hugging is off limits, surely holding hands is acceptable for a Duggar in a relationship? Well... not quite. The Duggars made it clear that holding hands is an intimate and physical sign of affection and should be reserved for married or engaged couples.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar believe that this rule is quite important. "We believe it's best for them to save the physical part for marriage, that way there's no regrets," says Michelle.

Given the strict adherence that is expected for these rules, it's no wonder that oftentimes, once a Duggar child is engaged, they take lots of pictures holding hands with their fiancé.

If they've had to wait that long, we can hardly blame them -- what a breakthrough moment for their relationship.

4 No watching TV

Watching a move is understandable, but it still takes things to the extreme-- the Duggars have refused to allow any television in their house. This is partially done in order to keep them from spending their time occupied with a TV, but mainly to "block their children from worldly influences."

Honestly this rule makes a lot of sense, particularly given their other lifestyle choices. Also, with the number of problems that television and video games have been proven to cause, one can hardly blame the parents for deciding against it altogether.

It's a lot easier to ban something than to attempt to properly and effectively regulate it. Then again, it seems pretty hard for most of us to imagine life without television. What about sports games? Talent shows? Also, let's not forget about how difficult life would be without Netflix.

3 No modern music or dancing

Modern music (particularly popular forms of music) is completely banned from the Duggar house, and who can blame them? If they're trying to keep their family from hearing bad morals, suggestive content, or inappropriate language, then that knocks out a lot of music that we listen to today.

Jessa Duggar admits that she believes that most modern music advocates premarital intimate relationships, "drugs, all that type of stuff." The Duggar family plays gospel music together as a means of still having music in the house and as a method of worship.

In addition, dancing is certainly not allowed for the Duggar children. Michelle told reporters that dancing can be a cause of sensual feelings. Given some other rules that the Duggars have regarding sensuality, of course they would ban dancing -- although a few line dances never seemed to hurt anybody.

2 No birth control

19 Kids And Counting

Although Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar used to use birth control early in their marriage, they now have a rule to never use it (19 kids, duh).

They also expect their children to follow this rule to make large, happy families of their own. Clearly most of the Duggars follow their parents' lead on this rule, as many of the daughters get pregnant on their honeymoons or shortly after.

Believe it or not, this rule also relates to their interpretation of their faith. "It's not about parents planning the future for their family, it's more about allowing God to plan their family while parents stay out of the way."

Another reason for this belief is much more tragic. Early in their marriage, Michelle Duggar was using birth control and still became pregnant. Tragically, she suffered a miscarriage, which the doctors attributed to her use of birth control at the time.

1 Boys must avoid seeing immodest women at all costs

19 Kids and Counting

The Duggars are definitely in favor of modesty and are firmly against anything impure when it comes to one's body and how you wear clothing.

So when they do wander out in public, they have devised a system to ensure that none of the boys fall into temptation by looking at girls with less-than-appropriate clothing.

The Duggar women act as "lookouts." When one of them spots a girl dressed inappropriately (which usually means showing too much skin), they yell "Nike!" This warns all the men in the family to shield their eyes and look away.

It may be unconventional, but it certainly gets the job done. With a code word so off the wall and unique, no one is going to be confused as to what's going on... except for the poor girl walking by.


Can you think of any other insane rules that the Duggars children are forced to follow by their parents? Let us know in the comments!

More in Lists