As many of you recall, a firestorm of controversy was unleashed last November when Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame recorded a robocall urging people in Fayetteville, Ark., to vote in favor of repealing an antidiscrimination law protecting the rights of LGBT people.
In response to the efforts of Michelle and other members of?her large clan to roll back the tide of progress, a petition was set up at Change.org to urge TLC to cancel the hit series. The petitioners far surpassed their goal of 100,000 signatures. However, a petition in support of the Duggars garnered even more signatures. As a result, 19 Kids and Counting?is still on the air. And on a sad side note, the Duggars’ efforts to have the antidiscrimination law stricken from the books were met with success.
Perhaps, it is not surprising that the Duggars have managed to maintain their TV show and their political clout. Despite all the great strides that have been made recently in the area of LGBT rights, widespread homophobia and transphobia are still a major issue. That being said though, one wonders what the Duggars’ many supporters would think if they knew more about their childrearing practices.
Have you ever wondered why the Duggar children always seem so well behaved, so angelic? Well, it is because they are trained-rather like dogs-from the time they are in the cradle. It all begins with something known as “blanket training”.
When the child is only a few months old, he is placed on a blanket spread out on a floor. If he crawls off the pallet, he is immediately swatted with an instrument, such as a ruler or a twig, and then put back on the blanket. The procedure is repeated as many times as necessary until he learns to stay put. As well as having his natural curiosity quashed, the baby learns to unquestioningly obey his parents and not inconvenience them.
If you are wondering where the Duggars got this bright idea, look no further than Michael and Debi Pearl, the authors of the manual “To Train Up a Child”, which is promoted on the Duggars’ website. Despite the fact that the Pearls have zero background in psychology or child development, their book is a big hit in some fundamentalist Christian circles. Besides blanket training, the Pearls advocate other austere disciplinary methods, such as beating children with belts and paddles, withholding food as a punishment, and hosing down children when they have toilet training accidents. Tragically, some of the methods espoused in the book have been linked to the deaths of several children.
Although in this day and age there are still many parents who abide by the maxim of “spare the rod and spoil the child”, most of these same parents would be as horrified as the rest of us by the thought of hitting an infant. The Duggars have retained their popularity by donning a wholesome veneer and concealing or downplaying the darker elements of their lifestyle. Let’s hope that with further exposure of these elements, the power of the Duggars can be mitigated.