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?

Duggar Family via Facebook
Jessa Duggar, 20, and Ben Seewald, 18, begin dating after meeting at church.

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.

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!”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Jessa Duggar courtship: Big Brother has nothing on Big Parent surveillance
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today