Times The Duggar Children Broke Family Rules

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If you are a fan of TLC, then chances are you are already well aware of the Duggar family. For those who are not, though, allow us to fill you in. The Duggars first appeared on TLC in 2008 when they landed a show, "19 Kids and Counting," that shed light on their unique and extremely religious lifestyle (via IMDb).

Led by father Jim Bob and his wife Michelle, the Duggar kids were expected to follow some pretty strict rules in accordance with their fundamentalist beliefs. The rules included no dating without a chaperone, no intercourse before marriage, a strict dress code, no dancing, and no drinking, per The Sun.

It's been over a decade since the Duggars first appeared on TV, and there have been lots of ups and downs in the interim. For one, "19 Kids and Counting" was canceled thanks to eldest son Josh's legal trouble and replaced with another show, "Counting On," which — thanks again to Josh — was also canceled.

As Jim Bob and Michelle try to clean up Josh's mess and figure out what's next for them, we're looking back at all the rules the Duggar kids have broken over the years. Read on to find out more.

The Duggar girls colored their hair

There are plenty of rules the Duggar children are expected to follow. However, it can often seem like those rules disproportionately affect the women of the family. While all kids are expected to abstain from premarital sex, dancing, and dating without a chaperone, the girls are also expected to shy away from birth control and must check in with their husbands before making big life decisions. They're also not permitted to wear pants, get body piercings, and interestingly enough, color their hair.

Those were the rules as they were laid out when the family first appeared on TV back in 2008. Cut to 2021, and plenty of the gals have broken the hair-coloring rule. In August of 2021, Jana Duggar made headlines for going blonde. "Something new happened," she captioned a before-and-after video on Instagram.

Jana is the latest but definitely not the first Duggar to make headlines for changing their hair. In July 2021, Jinger Duggar cut off several inches of her hair, which is also frowned upon by Mom and Dad, as they feel it changes their natural, God-given look, per In Touch.

Jill Duggar's nose piercing

If shorts and hair color are off-limits, it stands to reason body jewelry is way out of line for the Duggar family. Nevertheless, Jill (often thought of as the black sheep of the family) shocked fans far and wide when she appeared to be sporting a shiny new nose ring on Instagram in 2017. Fans theorized that Jill got her nose pierced as an act of rebellion against her family and perhaps even TLC.

Jill was first spotted with the nose ring just after her husband, Derick Dillard, was fired from the network. Derek was let go from "Counting On" after facing a storm of criticism for a series of tweets exposing his controversial opinions about the transgender community, per In Touch.

Jill chose to stand by her man, and as soon as Derick was ousted from TLC, she left too. What better way to celebrate the end of a contract (and your parents' rules) than with a body piercing?

Jinger's pants

Next up is probably the tamest act of rebellion on our list of Duggar rule-breakers but an important one nonetheless. Jinger Duggar raised some eyebrows when she started wearing pants — instead of the traditional Duggar-approved ankle-length skirt — shorty after marrying her husband, Jeremy Vuolo. She opened up about the decision in her 2021 memoir "The Hope We Hold: Finding Peace in the Promises of God."

Jinger detailed how her mother, Michelle, dressed her and her sisters in long skirts and dresses because of a literal interpretation from the book of Deuteronomy. However, as she grew older, left home, got married, and started a family of her own, Jinger began to question her mother's reasoning. "[I] realized that biblical modesty is deeper and more profound than wearing skirts instead of pants," she wrote in her memoir, per People. "Modesty isn't only about what you wear. It's about the position of your heart."

Jinger went on to explain that while she was still committed to following the Bible, she could find no evidence that women shouldn't wear pants when she read it herself — thus, she felt comfortable ignoring her mother's rules.

Jill Duggar drinks alcohol

Jill Duggar found herself back in the headlines in 2020 when she posted a picture on Instagram of herself and her husband, Derick Dillard, enjoying a night out on the town. What really raised eyebrows, though, was the fact that they appeared to be drinking alcohol. Abstinence from alcohol is one of the Duggars' most important rules, per People. Jill, who was noshing on a burrito and some rice, also had a glass of water and what looked like a fruity blended drink next to her. The drink in question turned out to be a piña colada. One concerned fan even commented on the photo, asking whether or not the piña colada was a virgin or a regular. Jill curtly replied "regular," per Us Weekly.

"Growing up, the whole idea of drinking was not encouraged," Jill told People at the time. "I know my parents would not be happy with it, and I know that my siblings, some more than others, would probably have an issue with it. Other ones would probably be like, 'Whatever's good for y'all, that's fine. Live your life.' So far nobody's said anything to us about it." Jill added that she was pleased with her decision to drink socially, as she thought it demonstrated a healthy balance to her kids.

The birth control rule

Another major Duggar family rule that quite a few of the girls have broken is abstaining from using birth control. It is not at all surprising that Jim Bob and Michelle would decry the use of birth control; after all, they are very religious. Also, just based on the amount of kids they have (19), you probably already guessed that they aren't big on contraception. However, some of their daughters find the no-birth control rule to be a little antiquated. Jill Duggar, for one, has been open about her decision to use contraception with her husband, Derick Dillard. ″We use birth control, but we prefer to use non-hormonal birth control methods because we don't want to use anything that could potentially cause an abortion,″ she said in a YouTube video.

″I think there are probably uses for hormonal birth control for, like, regulating things and stuff like that, but for us we just want to be careful about that.″

The other girls haven't been quite as outspoken about their reproductive health as Jill has, but fans suspect that Jinger may have used birth control too. Jinger didn't get pregnant for more than a year after she got married. That's pretty unusual for the Duggars since they usually get pregnant right away, per Cheat Sheet. However, Jinger hasn't spoken publicly about whether or not she uses any form of birth control, and it's not really our business anyway, TBH.

Amy Duggar wore a bikini

If you know anything about the Duggars, you know that there's nothing they love more than modesty. That's why it came as such a shock to fans when Amy Duggar (aka Amy King) shared a photo of herself hanging out in the pool with her husband, Dillon, and their child. Oh yeah, the shocking part — she was wearing a red bikini, basically the opposite of the Duggar uniform of long skirt and long sleeves. Amy has broken other rules in the past too, including showing off her cleavage and having sex before marriage, per The Sun. It's possible that Amy might feel more comfortable pushing Jim Bob and Michelle's boundaries because she is the only one on "19 Kids and Counting" that isn't one of Michelle and Jim Bob's kids.

Amy, who is the daughter of Jim Bob's eldest sister, spent enough time around the Duggar house as a child that she ended up on quite a few episodes of "19 Kids and Counting," enough so that she became an unofficial Duggar kid. Her actual upbringing, though, was much less strict than her cousins, per the Daily Mail. It's of little surprise, then, that she'd brave ending up on Jim Bob and Michelle's bad side and wear a sporty bikini on Instagram.

Jessa Duggar broke the dancing rule

According to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, dancing is dangerous business. Growing up, their kids were not allowed to dance, as it apparently encouraged sexual promiscuity and thus kept a person far away from God, per The Sun. In August 2021, Jessa Duggar threw that rule right back in Jim Bob and Michelle's face when she posted a series of photos to her Instagram showing her young children dancing at a wedding. One photo showed her two boys, Henry and Spurgeon, dressed in spiffy suits running around the dance floor and playing with balloons. Jessa's husband, Ben, also posted an adorable video of himself dancing with their daughter, Ivy.

Unlike some of the other rules that have been broken by her siblings, Jessa didn't appear to face a lot of blowback for letting the kids dance. Reddit users came to her defense, with one writing: "They probably realized the rule is stupid. Especially with kids. How ... is kids dancing wrong in any way?" As of this writing, Jim Bob and Michelle have not shared their thoughts.

Josh Duggar's infidelity

Now it's finally time to talk about Josh Duggar. You may know Josh (AKA the reason "19 Kids and Counting" was canceled) from headlines about his 2021 arrest on suspicion of possession of child pornography. Years earlier, he caused a scandal when it was revealed that he molested some of his sisters growing up, per The Washington Post. Needless to say, this tore the family apart and caused TLC to pull the plug on "19 Kids and Counting." Aside from actual laws, Josh also broke a cardinal Duggar rule: staying faithful to your spouse.

Yes, in 2015, Josh was revealed to be embroiled in the Ashley Madison scandal. For those who don't remember, Ashley Madison is a website for married individuals to find other married individuals with whom to have affairs. Well, the website was hacked, and Josh was on the list of paying members. "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever," Josh wrote in a statement at the time, per Us Weekly. "While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet, and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife." Finally, he concluded, "I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain, and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The fight over money

One of the bigger Duggar scandals in recent memory (and that's saying something because there have been a lot) came about when Jill and her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, had a public falling out in 2017. Now, as you can probably imagine, if the Duggars don't talk about sex and don't like their girls to wear pants, then they definitely don't like to talk about money. That rule went right out the window when Jill reportedly discovered that Jim Bob was making tens of thousands of dollars per episode of "Counting On," while she hadn't seen a penny. According to reports, Jim Bob was pulling in up to $45,000 per episode, which is a bitter pill for Jill to swallow considering she was basically working for free.

To make a very long story short, Jill walked away from "Counting On" after she found out about the massive pay discrepancy, and things have never been the same. It's worth noting that Jill's decision to leave was also due in part to her husband's firing by TLC. Either way, as far as Jill saw it, it was time to go. In a joint statement, the couple said cryptically that they "faced many pressures and some unexpected challenges which forced us to step away from the show in an effort to gain more control over our own lives," per Entertainment Tonight. The family still hasn't come together, either. In 2020, Jill revealed that she hasn't seen her parents in two years, per People.

Sticking to gender norms

By now, you've probably figured out that the Duggars are big on gender norms. That's because as fundamentalist Baptists, they try to adhere to a strict and literal reading of the Bible. So, it follows that they like to keep their kids of different genders separate from each other. It goes without saying that in a house of 19 kids, some of them — okay, all of them — are going to have to share their bedrooms. Jim Bob and Michelle let the kids share rooms because, well, they had to, but they didn't let the boys bunk with the girls. In fact, Jim Bob and Michelle didn't want their boys hanging out with their girls one on one. They wanted them as separate as possible, per Cheat Sheet.

Fast forward a few years, and fans were shocked to discover that Jessa has thrown that strictly adhered to rule of her childhood straight out the window. In a 2021 YouTube video, Jessa revealed that all three of her children — two boys and a girl — share a room. No word yet on what Jim Bob and Michelle think of the sleeping arrangements.

What about school and TV?

Jill Duggar has always done things her own way, whether it's wearing pants, using birth control methods, or getting her nose pierced. She's done listening to Mom and Dad. It's no surprise then that she's also raising her children differently than her parents raised her. Along with all the sartorial rules she had to follow as a child, Jill also wasn't allowed to attend public school (so that she could be homeschooled) and was not allowed to watch TV — because it might corrupt her impressionable young mind.

Jill wanted to do things a bit differently with her own kids, though. Her son, Israel, goes to a normal public school, unlike most of his cousins. And you guessed it — she also lets her kids watch TV. While many of her siblings' kids are homeschooled, the TV-watching policy has spread to some of her sisters. Joy-Anna reportedly invites her siblings over to watch TV and encourages them to bring their kids along, per Cafe Mom.

The unchaperoned dates

Another cardinal Duggar family rule that has been infringed upon in recent years is Jim Bob and Michelle's insistence that their kids only date with a chaperone in attendance. Kids will be kids, as they say, so it's no surprise that at least one of the Duggar children found a way around the boundary. Fans were surprised to learn that Josiah Duggar and his now-wife, Lauren, we're hanging out (gasp!) unchaperoned well before they said, "I do."

In 2018, Josiah caused a stir when he appeared to go on vacation with Lauren to the Silver Dollar City amusement park in Missouri without a parent or older sibling in attendance, per Us Weekly. We imagine that he was able to get away with it because the Missouri amusement park seems like just about the most wholesome place in the world, so he probably wasn't getting into any trouble, with or without a parent present. His little sister, Joy-Anna, took a page out of his book when she herself admitted that she used to have secret (and forbidden) phone calls with her now-husband, Austin, before they were married.

Amy Duggar didn't wait for marriage

We saved the biggest Duggar rule infringement for last. Amy Duggar shocked the world — or at least Duggar family fans — when she admitted she was sexually active well before she married her husband, Dillon. She'd slept with other men before she met Dillon, but she didn't actually have sex with Dillon until they got married, which was a decision they both made together. "That was our decision," she told People in 2016. "We had fun, but we didn't stay over and we decided early on not to move in together. There were boundaries. A thin line of boundaries."

While we can only assume Jim Bob and Michelle were horrified at the news, Amy didn't seem to be bothered in the least. "I think that if I was a virgin on my wedding night and had never been kissed, I would end up rocking in the corner!" she told the outlet. "That is so much emotion all at once." Despite not being fully – ummm – acquainted at the time of their wedding, Amy and Dillon couldn't be happier these days, so it looks like she did something right.