19 Kids and Counting

Common Sense Media says

Mild behind-the-scenes look at an unusually large family.





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.

Parents say

Kids say

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

Cast:Jennifer Duggar, John Duggar
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of 19 Kids and Counting was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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.
Adult Written byTree1971 April 11, 2010


Stop with the explotation of the Dugger Childern, the community, and the hard working tax paying people of America! I do not believe the Dugger family is doing this, because of the word of God, but, for the "benefits" they are receiving for having this many children. The monetry benefits they are receiving from sponership, community and the government has blindsided them. If this was any other, non church going, person on the street, they would be made to do what every other american in this country does to suppor their family (large or small) work. Mrs. Dugger has gone beyond the realm of god fearing, christian woman to nothing more then a baby factory.
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN February 3, 2011

I encourage you to watch just one episode.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this... I won't say show because it's not, it's their actual lives. Michelle and JimBob keep their 19 children firmly focused on a good Christian lifestyle and respect and trust in others. I can't miss a single episode! If I did, I don't know what would happen... my world would probably crumble down around me. The kids are all so sweet and funny in their own ways. I encourage everyone to watch just one episode, that's all, and then I can guarantee you'll be hooked. Best TLC show ever! Just for kicks and giggles I'm gonna name all of the kids: Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie. (Yes I just did this without any help whatsoever, and yes they are in order from oldest to youngest.) There is also Josh's wife Anna and their children Mackynzie, Michael, and Marcus; Jill married Derrick and they are expecting their first child; and Jessa is now engaged to Ben Seewald. I'm so excited for all the big moments coming next in their lives!! Comments? Questions? Concerns? Email me: ogormanscommonsense at yahoo. :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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