Whether you have one child or nineteen, these parenting tips from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will help to create a loving, family environment.
- Teach your children to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, and memorize God’s word together as a family. As part of their homeschool curriculum, Michelle and the kids gather at the kitchen table for what they call "Memory Lane." They review the Bible verses and character qualities that they have memorized, complete with hand motions.
- Teach them to have a servant’s heart, leading by your example. Love your neighbor as yourself. The Duggars are constantly looking for ways to serve others, whether it be by raking leaves for a widow, baking cookies for the local fire department, or distributing soccer balls to the children of El Salvador.
- Read the Proverb of the day that corresponds with the day of the month, and discuss it as a family. Jim Bob and Michelle do this with their kids each morning, before "quick cleaning" the house and starting school.
- Diligently keep up with each child’s attitudes and actions, and ask what is going on in their heart. Pray with them one-on-one, letting them lead in prayer and then you closing the prayer time together. With nineteen children, Jim Bob and Michelle take advantage of every opportunity to spend time alone with each of their kids. For the younger ones, these conversations may take place while working on phonics or running errands. Heart-to-heart talks with the older ones often occur late night, after the rest of the family has gone to bed. Even though that means less sleep for mom and dad, Jim Bob and Michelle don't mind at all. "I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," Michelle explained to us during an interview. "No sleep can be any better than getting to have that time with your kids."
- Ask God to help you conquer anger because it can destroy your relationship with your children. The Duggars keep each other accountable for their actions and attitudes. Jim Bob has given his kids permission to tap him on the shoulder and say, "Daddy, I think you're getting angry."
- Praise your children ten times more than you correct them. According to Jim Bob, when parents give up their right to a spotless home, then they are free to focus on the positive and praise their children for the things they have done right. Instead of reprimanding a well-meaning child for splashing water all over the kitchen counter, praise them for washing the dishes. When a little one spills milk on the floor while fixing breakfast, praise them for their initiative. After all, practice makes perfect.