Duggar House Rules


In yesterday’s post, I shared some behind-the-scenes video from the Duggar family’s recent visit to our campus. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 19 children and star in a hit reality television show, 19 Kids and Counting. In case you missed the video, please click here.

duggars2.jpgSo how do the Duggars maintain their balance given such a busy lifestyle? They strive to manage their home and raise their children with biblical principles. There is so much more to say, but the following list, which is attached to their (very large) refrigerator door, will give you a hint of the climate they aim for in their home.

Duggar House Guidelines

  1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
  2. Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.
  3. Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others’ character.
  4. Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.
  5. Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.
  6. Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.
  7. Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)
  8. Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.
  9. Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don’t wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.
  10. Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.
  11. Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.
  12. Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).
  13. Always give a good report of others. Don’t gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)  14. Never raise a hand to hit.
  14. Never raise a foot to kick.
  15. Never raise an object to throw.
  16. Never raise a voice to yell.
  17. Never raise an eye to scowl.
  18. Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!
  19. Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.
  20. Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)
  21. Amendment J.O.Y. – Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.

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Leave a Comment

Andrea More than 1 year ago

The "always" in the statements sounds unattainable and it is, but I don't see anything wrong with setting the bar high while understanding that all of them will falter at times.  Those times can be used as teaching moments.  What is the point of setting a low standard that everyone can meet all of the time?  A low standard would not do anyone any justice, while a high standard or expectation gives them something to strive for every day and we all have areas we can improve in.  So, I agree with setting the bar high and then helping them adjust for a better response next time.  These are lifelong family rules, not set up to only guide the preschoolers....I think they are more likely "goals" of how to behave and act towards eachother throughout life.

SaraBoBerra More than 1 year ago

I agree with you that feelings need to be expressed in a healthy manner.  Being angry doesn't mean it's okay to hurt others with that anger.  However, I would have no problem with one of my kids saying, "I am so angry with you right now!!!!!"  I personally do not consider those to be "soft words" or "a joyful attitude" but I think it's still an example of healthy communication.  I guess when I read the rules about always having to use "soft words" and always displaying a joyrful attitude, it made me wonder if expressing very strong, "negative" emotions (in a healthy way)  is allowed,,,Perhaps it is?

Christy More than 1 year ago

Wow! This is very convicting and a great tool to shape our family's values. My only caution would be how very "me-powered" it sounds. We can't do any of this without God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Our children (and ourselves) could very easily become works-oriented and/or discouraged when we fail to live up to the "always" in these house rules. Remember to have balance and to rely on the power of God because all of our righteous acts are really filthy rags. We can't do anything good or love others the way that we should without Him!

Kelly More than 1 year ago

SaraBoBerra...I think the "feeling" issue being discussed deals with a greater self-control issue.  The Duggars #1 rule was to "always use soft words, even when you don't feel well."  It doesn't say you have to pretend you are not upset or suppress your anger...but we do need to express those feelings in a self-controlled manner.  I expect that of my own children.  I expect that of myself...and if I lose self-control and speak in a harsh manner to them or my husband...I apologize, pray, and ask them for forgiveness.  Even Jesus became angry, but he did not sin.  Feelings and emotions change like the wind...if we follow them or let our children just "go with what they feel" it will result in sin.

SaraBoBerra More than 1 year ago

I have to disagree with you.  I think feelings are very accurate indicators of what is going on.  Now, a lot of people aren't really aware of what they're feeling at any given moment, which is why I want to give my kids a large feeling "vocabulary" and help them identify and label their feelings so they know what "disappointed" or "angry" or "excited" feels like.

Saying "I hate you" is not really expressing a feeling.  "I hate you" is a statement, a thought.  Saying, "I am so angry with you!  or "I feel so hateful right now!" is expressing a feeling and something I would actually encourage my child to say!  But requiring a "joyful attitude" or only "happy words" feels terribly dishonest and actually requires kids to suppress their true feelings.  And a childhood of suppressed feelings can lead to all sorts of horrible outcomes (anger management problems, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on and on....)

Joe More than 1 year ago

I don't think the idea is to deflect compliments.   It's to always remember when we are praised that God is the one who gives us the gifts and abilities we have.  And often times others have contributed to our accomplishments.  A "thank you" is never wrong, but our hearts will pull us into ourselves without the constant reminder that God is the giver of all gifts.

I would also caution to rely too much on how your children "feel".   Feelings are notoriously inaccurate indicators of what is actually happening in thier lives and they are often unable to get at the root of the issue.  When they say, "I hate you", that is an example of a feeling that is wholly inaccurate.  Allowing feelings to rule is a mistake.  If your children can honestly express thier feelings, you are blessed.  Either way, you have to deal with them differently depending on the childs motivations.   Are they being honest or are they trying to manipulate you with them.

SaraBoBerra More than 1 year ago

I have a lot of respect for this family and I think most of those rules are excellent.  However, I had the same thought has BigPoppa on #4 - I don't see any problem with teaching kids to say "thank you!" and allowing them to feel good and proud of themselves and their God-given abilities.  Why the need to always deflect compliments? 

I also don't really agree with the rules to always display a joyful attitude (and always use soft words.)  I don't always feel joyful and my kids don't always feel joyful and that's normal and okay.  I don't think kids should have to pretend to feel joyful as that seems somewhat dishonest if they are actually feeling furious or disappointed, etc.  As parents, it's our responsibility to teach our kids that all emotions are okay, and then teach our children how to express those emotions in a healthy way that does not hurt others or themselves.

I was reading some Mr. Rogers quotes today and I loved this one:

"We can't be expected to leave the unhappy or angry parts of ourselves at the door before coming in.  We all need to feel that we can bring the whole of ourselves to the people who care about us."

TheGourmetCoffeeGuy More than 1 year ago

What a great post!  Great family rules and fundamentals for a happy life.  Thank you for sharing such a wonderful example of family love and understanding.

BigPoppa More than 1 year ago

Those are good rules for us all to live by, with the exception of #4...what's wrong with teaching kids to offer a gracious "Thank you!" when given a compliment?

Kelly More than 1 year ago

God bless this family that works so hard to share their values, Christian love, and value of life with the world! I am always amazed at how angry some people get about them...but I wholeheartedly love this family!

Helen More than 1 year ago

If every family followed the rules, how peacful this world would be.....

Rachel H. More than 1 year ago

Wow. These are great rules to live by. If only more families and people lived by these rules, I think our world would be a much better place. And, if kids were raised with those expectations and they were inforced, we would have a much better society one day.

Kathy More than 1 year ago

I LOVE this family!!!