In case you didn’t know the entire foundation of the Duggar brand, “us girls” have a lot of siblings! And each one is totally different. Some are bookworms and some like animals, two traits that definitely lie on opposite ends of a spectrum and define an entire person’s personality.
In case you didn’t know, relationships with siblings can be pretty difficult. Once, Jill found out that somebody ate all her Jolly Ranchers and left behind the wrappers.
At this point, I really struggle to believe that the intended audience for this book is teenagers. Seriously, the best example of sibling conflict you can come up with happened years ago and involved stealing candy? These anecdotes are perhaps better equipped for speaking to a group of elementary school students.
We also learn that Jessa and Jana didn’t always get along. Jessa would kick Jana’s top bunk mattress like a real asshole. Jana found Jessa annoying, and Michelle told her that she should just be extra nice to Jessa and maybe things would change. Jana gave Jessa her favorite jewelry box, and things changed. She learned that Jessa just really wanted attention. Again, a story for young children.
For some reason, the girls also talk about a tenant Jim Bob evicted for not paying rent. The man apparently vandalized the home, including drilling holes in the roof “just out of meanness.” I think they must mean the ceiling? Anyway, the family prayed for the man to stop being an alcoholic controlled by anger, and they brought him a gift of bread and honey butter. This story is not at all relevant to sibling relationships, but there you go.
So, how does conflict resolution work in the Duggar home? Well, it’s common knowledge in the Duggar home that you never bring a grievance to mom or dad without first policing the other children involved. You’re supposed to “talk sweet” to your siblings and help them restore their relationship with God.
One way the family bonds? Practical jokes. Jim Bob once pretended to steal the Bates’ family van. The family was calling 911 when Jim Bob and Grandma Duggar pulled back in, cackling away. This is supposed to be presented in such a way to show us that Jim Bob realized the error of his ways, but they really don’t reflect deeply on why this was a shitty thing to do. Nor do they reflect on why they feel the need to do practical jokes during major milestone events, like weddings, to attract attention to themselves.
Did you guys know that siblings can be annoying? One time, a younger sibling wanted the same ice cream as an older one. The older sibling told the younger sibling to stop copying, so mom took the unnamed sibling aside and told them that this was a devastating remark. So dramatic.
Next, we get some insight into driving, the Duggar way. At 14, you can get a learner’s permit in Arkansas. Jim Bob slaps all the children into the driver’s seat of the 15-passenger van right away so they can drive the family to church. Sometimes a family friend will express a very valid fear about driving in a vehicle with a 14-year-old in the front seat. The Duggar family will tell them this is not a nice thing to say and pump up their siblings instead.
Next: Chapter 4