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Modern Parenthood

Jessa Duggar courtship: Big Brother has nothing on Big Parent surveillance

Jessa Duggar – star of TLC reality series “19 Kids & Counting” – and her beau are under strict rules from her parents. When can parents let go and trust their character training has prepared their kids well enough?

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Ben Seewald, 18 had to endure a parental security screening of Biblical proportions in order to date reality star Jessa Duggar, 20, the third daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, which delivers the tired old message that parents’ arms are long enough to box with God over matters of the heart.

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Correspondent

Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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The Duggar’s strong Christian beliefs have led them and America, by virtue of their reality star status on their TLC reality series “19 Kids & Counting,” to turn dating into an NSA-worthy invasive undertaking.

For starters it’s hard to get past the fact that Jessa is age 20 which is generally a point at which young women have been thinking for themselves for quite a while and hopefully are able to make these kinds of choices by drawing on what her parents have instilled in her.

I would be interested to know if girls who want to date their sons go through the exact same process. I have known parents who screen female prospects just as carefully, like the old queen in The Princess and the Pea.

Also, the Duggar parents are taking a page from the NSA playbook by monitoring all electronic and phone conversations between the couple.

“It has been interesting to watch their interactions because they share very similar beliefs,” Mom Michelle added.

As the mother of four boys, ages nine, 14, 18, and 19, I have had plenty of girls I didn’t care for “go after” one of my sons. I didn’t like it and spoke with the boys, but if it happened once they were 18, I let them decide what to do.

At some point, we must let go and trust both our parenting track record and our own child.

When my husband and I met I was slightly older than Jessa and it was my husband’s parents who didn’t approve of me. They thought his former girlfriend was “the one” for them. Happily, she wasn’t the one for my husband.

I was raised a strict Roman Catholic and didn’t date until I was 17. Then I met my husband and all bets were off. We moved in together and married all inside of three months.

Everyone was aghast on both sides of the family, but my in-laws were inconsolable. They initially refused to come to our wedding. They thought I must be pregnant. I wasn’t.

When they did at last make it to the wedding, they came in black and left before the reception.

My father-in-law refused to kiss the bride and left us with the ominous words, “Hell can be fun for three months!”

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