The Duggar Family: 8 Things To Know for People Clueless About the Reality Clan

Joy-Anna Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jessa Duggar, Jill Duggar, Jana Duggar
janamduggar/Instagram

After more than 10 years on TLC, the Duggar family has definitely made their share of headlines. Some moments have been more controversial than others, but more than anything else, they're known for their large family. After all, it's not every day that we meet a family who has 19 children. At this point, those who haven't been following along with 19 Kids & Counting, and Counting On might be a little confused about who the Duggars are. 

There's a lot to catch up on, after all.

Here's everything anyone clueless about the Duggar fam needs to know. 

  • They first became famous thanks to their TLC specials. 

    '19 Kids and Counting'
    TLC

    Before there was 19 Kids & Counting, the Duggars made one-off appearances on TLC, and people were fascinated by the fact that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had such a large family and an unusual lifestyle. This led to them getting their own show -- which aired from 2008 to 2015 -- and later, it became a spin-off, Counting On, which focused mostly on the older Duggar children as they got married, left the nest, and had children.

    ... usually in that order.  

  • Advertisement
  • They don't believe in birth control. 

    Michelle Duggar
    TLC

    Anyone who's totally unfamiliar with the Duggars might be confused about why they have so many kids, but the explanation is simple: They don't use birth control. Michelle and Jim Bob feel that they will be given as many children as God wants them to have. (Michelle experienced a miscarriage after having her first son, Josh, and she believes birth control is to blame.)

    "I ended up getting pregnant while on the pill. We ended up losing that baby, and that was very difficult for us, because, here we are as parents, holding this one baby in our arms, enjoying being a mama and a daddy," Michelle said in an interview. "And then realizing that, with our own lack of knowledge, [we'd allowed] one of our own babies to be destroyed."

  • The family has controversial religious beliefs. 

    The Duggars are known as Independent Baptists, and they subscribe to the Institute of Basic Life Principles organization, or IBLP. This means that they follow a pretty restrictive way of life: The children are all homeschooled, they aren't allowed to be left alone with a member of the opposite sex, and they typically don't participate in "worldly" things -- such as watching TV and using the internet without supervision. 

    The IBLP and its founder, Bill Gothard, are known for being pretty controversial -- and its followers generally believe that men are meant to lead a household and that a marriage should only exist between a man and a woman.

  • Instead of traditionally dating, the children "court." 

    Most teenagers would meet someone they like, date, and possibly get married down the line ... or maybe they'd break up and find someone else. In the Duggar fam, though, that's not quite how it goes. Instead, they follow the process of "courtship," which means their parents will approve of someone for them to date, and they'll spend time together with a chaperone -- with the goal in mind of getting engaged and married not long after. 

    Yet another controversial way of life, but something that has worked for them so far, because none of the Duggar marriages have split up. (At least, not yet.)

  • They follow a strict dress code.

    In the Duggar family, modesty is key, especially for the women. This means that growing up, the girls almost never wear pants, instead wearing skirts, dresses, and tops that keep them fully covered. (Yep, even while playing sports or at the beach.) It's rare to see a Duggar wearing anything else -- at least, before she's grown up and left her family's home anyway, but more on that later. 

  • Oldest son Josh Duggar's scandals have colored the family's past.

    Controversial religious beliefs aside, the Duggar family was known for pretty much being a wholesome bunch -- until 2015, that is. Josh Duggar was one of the celebrities exposed in the Ashley Madison hack, revealing that he may have cheated on his wife, Anna -- though they've remained together 'til this day.

    That wasn't all, though. Josh was also involved in a molestation scandal, which the public found out about when police documents surfaced, revealing that he'd allegedly sexually abused four of his younger sisters. This is what led to the cancellation of 19 Kids & Counting, which eventually morphed into Counting On and did not feature Josh at all.