19 Kids and Counting TV Poster Image

19 Kids and Counting



Mild behind-the-scenes look at an unusually large family.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

The family appears to be very loving; discipline is firm, but also kind and respectful. They are proud of living within their means and not using credit.

Positive role models

The family is conservative and has clear values to match that background -- including the reinforcement of traditional gender roles. Each family member appears devoted to their way of life and proud of their family's closeness.

Violence & scariness

Michelle's troubled pregnancies, and the subsequent death of and funeral for an unborn child, is a major theme in later seasons of the show.

Sexy stuff

A person's virginity and premarital sex, as it relates to abstinence, appropriate courting behavior, and marriage, is occasionally discussed.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 19 Kids and Counting focuses on the real-life ups and downs of a large conservative Christian family. Many of the family activities on display promote family togetherness, respect for elders, firm but loving discipline, and more positive family behaviors. In later season of the show the Duggars experience a miscarriage as well as have a child who has some special health needs, which brings up the question of why the parents continue to have children. Not everyone will agree with the family's choices, but there are no other iffy issues to content with.

What's the story?

19 KIDS AND COUNTING offers TV viewers a look at the daily life of the Duggar family of Arkansas, which has already achieved some fame, including appearances on The Today Show. Managing their clan of 19 kids -- whose names all begin with J -- presents Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle with their own unique challenges, all of which they approach with faith and traditional values.

Is it any good?


Despite the fact that they severely limit their children's access to TV, the Internet, and other mainstream media, the Duggar clan has become quite famous thanks to their voyeuristic reality show. 19 Kids and Counting contains lots of positive messages about family, faith, and love, thanks to Michelle and Jim Bob's gentle, but firm, approach to parenting, and the children's willingness to help their parents and each other without being bratty or disrespectful. The series also showcases the unique steps the family takes to keep the household running smoothly, as well as some of the family and faith-based activities they participate in.

While they don't discuss all the specifics of their conservative Christian beliefs or their participation in the controversial Quiverfull Movement (which views having large families as a way of promoting their faith) on camera, later seasons of the show stirred up some controversy thanks to Michelle's high-risk -- and highly-publicized -- 19th and 20th pregnancies, one of which resulted in a miscarriage. As a result, one can't help but wonder why they are putting themselves, and some of their more personal moments, in the secular limelight. But if you can get past this, the show is certainly a peek into a different world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the Duggars were asked to appear on a mainstream TV reality show. Why do you think the Duggars agreed to be on a TV show, despite the fact that they do not allow cable access in their home?

  • Do the Duggars ever fully explain why they have chosen to have so many kids? Why do you think they are willing to share some of the highs and lows relating to some of the latest pregnancies with the public? Why do some people find this controversial?

  • How do the Duggars compare to other large families featured in the media?

TV details

Premiere date:September 29, 2008
Cast:Jennifer Duggar, John Duggar
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Teen, 13 years old Written bybubbleboy June 15, 2009

Just SO Irritating

Sure, this show is perfectly clean and there is little to be concerned about when letting your children watch it, but this family has serious issues. The show shoves the family's ultra-conservative, unrealisitic values in your face and never lets up for a second. These children will have serious trouble interacting in the real world. They raise them as if in Utah in the 1950's! No television, no internet, no KISSING until marriage! I'm not usually one to judge, but these children will be ultra-screwed up! And I haven't even started on the homeschooling. Their children learn from COMPUTERS, and they have little contact with their peers, completely destroying their social interaction. In a recent episode, the older children go to a public elementary school, and we learn that the family DOESN'T DANCE as a rule! WHAT?! I'm sorry, but this show just gets under my skin.
Teen, 14 years old Written byallyra99 June 22, 2010


This family claims to be christian yet they forbid listening to contemporary christian music.
Educator and Parent Written byVerita February 18, 2015

Scientific falsehood

Parents should know that the Duggers lecture publicly that all birth control causes miscarriages and say so in the show. Parents thus should be prepared to discuss very specific forms of family planning and their scientific causes & physical effects.


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