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19 Kids and Counting
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
For kids who love TV families
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