12 Duggar Dating Rules to Keep Your Teenager on the Straight & Narrow

jim bob michelle jill jessa ben derick duggar

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar run a tight ship. From an efficient "jurisdictions" system that carefully accounts for each kid's chores, to the "buddy system," which pairs up all kids for daily activities, they seem to have it all down pat. But their dating rules? Those are strictest of all.


With three of their children married and another seven in their prime "dating" years, the Duggars have implemented a firm system that carefully explains what is allowed and banned during the official relationship.

And if you thought you were strict with your kids, just wait until you get a load of these:

  1. It's "courting," not "dating." Dating implies that it's just the two of you, while courting includes the whole family. And trust that the whole family is involved.
  2. A pre-courtship is an option. While courtship implies that both parties are willing to enter into a commitment that ultimately ends in marriage, pre-courtship (the limbo stage between friendship and full-on courtship) is a time when the couple can get to know one another in a more casual setting. Ultimately, that "will we, won't we court?" question is then asked.
  3. Approval is needed. Jim Bob (and sometimes the older Duggar boys) vet the potential suitors for the girls. Every possible "courter" needs to be approved by Dad before he can even start talking to the Duggar lady.
  4. Accountability is key. The Duggar children are never allowed to be alone with their courtship partner. It's all about staying pure and accountable to God, their family, and their parents. That's why there's always a plus-one on their dates -- whether it's one of their parents or a sibling.

    More from The Stir: Dating Like a Duggar: Do You Know the Rules? (TRIVIA)

  5. Marriage is always the end goal. Both sets of parents need to agree that a relationship is pure before the couple enters into a courtship. But once they do, it's time to talk marriage. That "put a ring on it" conversation comes fairly soon. And often.
  6. High standards. In their book, Growing Up Duggar, Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger write that all the "Duggar girls hope for is a husband like our dad." No pressure there. Finding another man like Jim Bob is a tall task, but one that both Jill and Jessa seem to have conquered.
  7. Always make a list. While "gorgeous and rich" are not exactly bad qualities, that's not what we're talking about here. The Duggar kids are encouraged to make a list of the traits they look for in a potential partner. Things like Christianity, a love for children, and good financial responsibility are always on the Duggars' lists.
  8. Mom and Dad know everything. In order to make sure that all conversations are proper and pure, Michelle and Jim Bob are copied on every single form of communication. They listen to phone calls and Skype chats, and you better believe it's only group messages over here.
  9. Hugs are a no-no... sort of. There are no full-on chest-to-chest body hugs before marriage. Only side-hugs.
  10. Hand holding is sacred. The only form of intimate touching allowed after engagement is hand holding. Everything else, you better believe you have to hold off until the wedding.

    More from The Stir: Jessa Duggar Shares What It's Like to Date as One of '19 Kids & Counting'

  11. The first kiss is saved for the wedding day. "I now pronounce you husband and wife" is the line you hear right before a smoochy Duggar kiss. All of the kids who have courted and married have followed this rule. Josh and Anna, Jill and Derick, and Jessa and Ben have all saved their first kiss for marriage. But in a twist, Jessa and Ben decided to do it privately and not in front of the whole congregation.
  12. After that... everything is a go-go! Congratulations, you've reached the final step! From 0 to 60, that's for sure. Sex is forbidden before marriage, but once those rings are on, everything is permitted.

Would you ever use one of these Duggar dating rules for your teenager?


Image via TLC

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