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Destiny Molatore | moms@nrtoday.com

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June 9, 2014
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3 things any parent can learn from the Duggars | Moms

Here's my guilty confession: After six years on the air, I finally got sucked into this season of 19 Kids and Counting.

Apparently, I'm not alone. 2.8 million people tuned in to the May 29 episode, making TLC the number one paid cable network for the show's time slot.

I blame my addiction on the incredibly cute, globe-trotting, real-life love story of Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard.

In between holding my breath to see if they would decide to court and (almost) crying when they were reunited after being thousands of miles apart, I've picked up some first-rate parenting inspiration.

I mean, seriously, anyone who can raise 19 kids and still make time for date night with their spouse (every week!) probably has some advice worth listening to.

So, here are a few things I've noticed while watching the show (or secretly searching the Duggars on Pinterest).

It takes intentional effort and determination to teach children good character, not just good behavior.

If you know anything about Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (or have at least seen their 1980's hairstyles), you know that they are more concerned with developing inner character than outward appearances.

I think most of us would say that we want this for ourselves and for our children, but in reality it is much easier to correct behavior than to address motives.

The Duggars use several tools to help teach and encourage good character in their children, including this chart of character qualities and their household guidelines.

The chart lists 49 character qualities along with their operational definitions, which are like real-life applications.

For example, the operational definition of attentiveness is, "Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions."

The household guidelines also aim at developing inner character, which makes them more complex and less black and white.

One guideline is, "Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated."


While parents cannot make children have inner character, the Duggars teach their children right character and then entrust God with changing their little ones' hearts.

You don't have to be a drill sergeant to enforce high standards.

Although the Duggars have well-defined, strict boundaries, their interactions with their children are marked with love and gentleness.

As a matter of fact, they recommend praising children ten times more than correcting them.

While admiring Michelle's gentleness in correcting the children, I have often thought that she could not possibly have been that calm in the beginning with five young children and no older ones to help.

I know what it does to your nerves when two toddlers are screaming, so I can only imagine more.

Michelle addresses her own struggle to overcome anger with her children in this video.

While some have attacked her for this confession, any parent can relate.

She explains that years ago she was going through a character lesson with her young children that included the proverb, "A gentle answer turns away wrath."

She took the lesson to heart and realized it was something she needed to work on, even giving her children permission to hold her accountable regarding her anger.

She says that asking God to help her overcome anger and live by this proverb, as well as being held accountable, has helped her become calmer and gentler.

The Duggars encourage parents to conquer anger because it can destroy their relationships with their children.

It is possible to go against the grain and raise a happy family.

Let's be honest – parents can be pretty critical of other parents, even on small things like sleep theories and choice of diapers.

When anyone chooses to parent differently than most, they will face judgment.

Even in a society that preaches tolerance, the Duggars have been judged and ridiculed for their choice to have so many children and to raise them with such conservative values.

However, they have faced the criticism and are raising their children the way they see fit.

Their family looks and acts differently than most. The girls dress modestly. The predominant attitude of the children is joyfulness, not selfishness. The older children have embraced the family's courtship rules and are finding spouses without so much as a kiss or even full hug (only side hugs are permitted).

Despite these differences, the family appears to be happy.

While there is no guarantee on how children will turn out, parents' investments in their children will have an immeasurable impact on their lives.

So to all of you out there secretly watching the Duggars, I hope you enjoy Jill and Derick's upcoming wedding and that you, like me, find some parenting inspiration along the way.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 15, 2014 09:01AM Published Jan 21, 2015 09:45AM Copyright 2015 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.