Before I get started with today’s post, let me state upfront that I don’t regularly follow “The Transformed Wife”, aka Lori Alexander. I do occasionally write about some of the dumb things she posts on social media, especially when they get people especially spun up in tizzies. I have a pretty high tolerance for stupid postings, though, so it’s not that often that I feel moved to opine about Lori’s commentary. I understand that she probably believes the stuff she writes, but I think most of it is laughable, and I generally don’t see the need to give her a platform.
I’m writing about her today because yesterday someone in the Duggar Family News group decided to do a little trolling on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page. She asked Lori Alexander what she thought of the Duggar parents. I can’t find the specific post in question, but Lori– true to form– was quick to block the rabble rouser. But then she posted this…
Lori Alexander explains that Josh Duggar “made his own choices”, and Jim Bob and Michelle shouldn’t be blamed for Josh’s choices. Well yes, Josh is an adult and he did make his own choices. But there were many signs, when he was still years before adulthood, that he needed significant help. At the very least, his siblings needed to be protected from him. Didn’t we hear Jim Bob say to Megyn Kelly that Josh had come to Jim Bob and Michelle in tears and told them what he had done to his sisters? Wouldn’t this be a sign that Josh needed assistance with a big problem? But they did nothing effective to address this issue.
In the above interview, Jim Bob and Michelle said that all of the children had professional counseling. They also said that Josh paid for his own counseling. We now know from Justin’s and Julia’s podcast that Josh just got his head shaved, and his “very good parents” sent him to do hard labor for a family friend for a few months. The “professional counseling” certainly didn’t come from a licensed mental health professional. It came via a stern lecture from a former cop, who is now in prison himself as a sex offender, and interrogations from religious leaders. Jim Bob also said that Josh touched the girls over their clothes while they were sleeping. Also, clearly untrue. Then at the sixteen minute mark, Jim Bob and Michelle explicitly state that their son isn’t a pedophile (or, more accurately, a child molester), but transgender people who want to use restrooms that apply to their genders are deviants who automatically put women and children at risk. Where was their concern for their daughters, who were clearly at risk with their sexually deviant brother still living at home?
But… I think the biggest sign that these two aren’t “very good parents” is that all of this stuff happened as many as 20 years ago or so, years before this family became reality TV stars. They knew their son had a problem, which allegedly began when he was as young as 12, but they chose to go on television anyway. They held themselves up as an example of an “ideal” Christian family. They got away with the deception for well over a decade before reality smacked everyone upside the head.
Then, once the truth came out, not only about Josh as a teen, but also about Josh as a philandering and sexually violent adult, Jim Bob still wanted to pimp out his adult children on reality TV! He was behind the new reality show, Counting On, which focused on the lives of his adult children who weren’t sex pests. And then he didn’t even pay them for their work! One of the reasons Jill Dillard is estranged from the family is that she sued her father so that she and Derick could be paid for their contributions to Counting On. I think I read that Jill finally got the equivalent of minimum wage for her work on the show. I doubt the rest of the “kids” got a similar payment.
I think raising children to be independent is the mark of a good parent. And yet here’s Jim Bob Duggar with quite a few adult children still living in homes that he owns, working for him, and completely dependent on him for their livelihoods, which he apparently doles out as he alone sees fit. The adults who are still being supported by Jim Bob are certainly not free to voice their opinions, and they must be loyal to Jim Bob or risk being cut off financially and shunned by the rest of the family. The adult children who have managed to be independent are somewhat on the fringes of the family, which now seems like the better place to be. But it also means that the youngest children don’t get exposure to their more independent siblings and in-laws, who might show them the possibilities of life beyond the Duggar compound.
So… while I agree with Lori that there are no “perfect parents”, I also think that there’s ample evidence to suggest that Jim Bob and Michelle are anything but “very good parents”. In fact, I think it’s pretty shameful that they did all they could to protect golden boy Josh from facing the consequences of his despicable actions, yet marginalize their daughters, Jill and Jinger, who were not only Josh’s victims, but were also smart enough to marry educated men and get the fuck away from Jim Bob’s toxic influence and control!
I’m sure if I really felt like it, I could sit here and think of all of the crazy stuff that has been said and done by this family over the years they’ve been on the airwaves. I can think of all of the fucked up and bizarre parenting and discipline techniques and methods I’ve seen on their show. Let’s put it this way. Before the Duggars were a thing, I didn’t know what “blanket training” was. I didn’t know the significance of the word “Nike!” (having the guys look at their shoes when a woman showing too much skin walked by– it obviously didn’t work). Outside of the film, Carrie, I had never heard of a prayer closet, nor did I know anything about Bill Gothard, or the wacko beliefs in the Gothard cult. I’ll admit, it’s all interesting stuff to me, or I wouldn’t read and write about it so much. But I don’t know that the Duggar family has contributed much to making America great again.
In fact, just last night, the news broke that eldest daughter, Jana Duggar is also in trouble with the law. In September, she was issued a summons for reckless endangerment of a child. She’s due in court next month. I don’t know the specifics of Jana’s case, but I do think that she probably wouldn’t have gotten into trouble with the law if there weren’t so many babies and children in the Duggar household that need constant supervision. And, if you’ve followed this show at all, you know that Michelle Duggar routinely handed off her babies to her eldest daughters to raise. Now that Michelle is a granny, the grandchildren are apparently being minded by Aunt Jana.
It’s certainly true that the adult children “make their own choices”, but they were not raised in an environment where they had a lot of one on one time with their parents. In fact, they were mostly raised on camera, which is definitely not the ideal place for a person to grow up healthy. Childhood is a time when people should be free to make and learn from mistakes. It’s a time when people should be protected and nurtured. I see little evidence that the Duggar parents did a lot of nurturing. How could they? They were always on TV, and they were always focused on having the next child– a “gift from God”– who would inevitably be passed to an older female sibling to raise.
I do think that Jim Bob and Michelle should share in the blame for what has happened. For years, we’ve watched them try to build a fundie Christian “empire” of sorts. Jim Bob’s blockheaded behavior was passed off as almost endearing. He was seen as a “protective dad”. But now, I see him as possessive and autocratic. Below is a quote from People Magazine in 2015:
“Jim Bob’s favorite word is ‘no,’ ” a family source tells People. “He’s like a dictator. He once saw a guy kissing a girl before marriage and confronted him about it. And the guy said, ‘Jim Bob, show me that verse in the Bible that says we can’t kiss. Get out your Bible.’ And Jim Bob was like, ‘Uhhhh …’ because no one ever confronts Jim Bob. No one.“
Adds a second source: “Jim Bob calls the shots. Always has and always will.”
So, even if someone tried to speak up to Jim Bob about what was obviously going wrong, he would have shut them down, cut them out, and gotten any mutual associates to disassociate with them. Jim Bob even displayed his arrogant and dictatorial attitudes at Josh’s trial. When he was asked about Josh’s admissions regarding victimizing his sisters and their babysitter, Jim Bob repeatedly said he couldn’t remember. And then he objected to the line of questioning. Jim Bob said to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, “I’m not going to allow it, are you going to allow for that?”
Judge Brooks, to his credit, replied “If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won’t be you.”
Every time negative press came out about Josh, the Duggars would either deny that anything was wrong, or they would write “pretty” statements for the media, condemning Josh’s “choices”. Below is the statement Jim Bob and Michelle posted about Josh’s “actions” in 2015:
“As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.”
In spite of Jim Bob’s “dictatorial” behavior, Josh still made “choices” that insulted the family. Instead of ostracizing him, as he and Michelle have done to a couple of their daughters, Jim Bob was all about supporting Josh, minimizing his sins, and doing everything he could to try to shield him from the inevitable consequences of his perverse actions. Instead of protecting his daughters and other innocent women, Jim Bob got his son married off to Anna when Josh was just 20 years old. Obviously, they needed to get him out of their home and find him a nice, meek, docile woman who would give him a socially and politically acceptable outlet for his obsessions. Anna Duggar was used, and has no doubt been abused. And unless she takes decisive action, the abuse will continue, only she’ll be a single mom of seven enduring it, and will probably have a lot of dealings with CPS.
Now, if you’re the type of person who prays for others, I see nothing wrong with praying for the Duggar family, as Lori Alexander suggests. I don’t even see anything wrong with praying for Josh. I think he needs all the help he can get to redeem himself. Like it or not, he’s still someone’s brother, son, father, and husband, and I don’t generally take joy in wishing extreme suffering on others. So I don’t wish for Josh to be dead or beaten up in prison. I read this morning that he’s being held in solitary confinement for his own protection. The jail where Josh is being held is “notorious” for “inmate on inmate alleged sexual assaults“. As a white “Christian” man from a wealthy, famous family, who has been convicted of sexual offenses against children, Josh Duggar would be a sitting duck for attacks from other inmates. So it’s probably a good decision to keep him away from other inmates. Being kept in solitary confinement will probably not be easy for him at all, but “it is what it is”.
Just to sum things up… these folks are the same people who champion Donald Trump and his ilk… and Trump is every bit as sick and dictatorial as Jim Bob is. He just doesn’t use Christianity as much to hide his obvious agenda to fulfill his need for power, prestige, wealth, and control over other people. I think Jim Bob, and men like him, see other people as betas to their alphas. They can do no wrong. They accept no responsibility. And when something does go wrong, they are always victims. It’s sick and pathetic, and these are not people who should be leading anything in any way. They certainly should NOT be involved with making laws that everyone else has to follow.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I don’t follow Lori Alexander very closely at all. I really only pay attention to her when she writes something especially outrageous. Perhaps, on the surface, the statement she’s made regarding the Duggars’ parenting isn’t all that outrageous. But if you look at the outcomes, you can see that Jim Bob and Michelle are clearly NOT good parents, nor are they very good Christians. They aren’t attentive to their children or their needs, and they certainly don’t even live by The Ten Commandments. If they had been more focused on raising and nurturing their children, they would have gotten Josh the help he required when he was still a boy. They would not have kept pumping out more children and potential abuse victims. And they would have done all of this off television and outside of politics. Just my two cents… and I figure that if the Transformed Wife can share her opinions, so can the “Overeducated” Housewife. 😉