When you have just one or two children, it’s easy to carve out some private time with each one individually, whether it’s a girls’ day out with a daughter or a nightly storytime with a son.
But when you have a household of 19 kids – okay, 18, since one is on his own now – it’s not so easy to give each one the attention they crave. Still, you have to try, and you have to give Michelle Duggar credit for trying.
On her blog on the family’s website, she explains that their chosen lifestyle has always been part of their strategy for bonding with their 10 sons and 9 daughters. Since both Michelle and husband Jim Bob are home most of the day, and the children are homeschooled, it’s not like the children miss seeing their parents.
“I think we probably spend more time together than the average family that may have two or three children because we’re home day in and day out,” she says.
But how do Michelle and Jim Bob give each child their time? As she says, “we make it quality quick.”
By that, she means taking moments out of the day to check in with the children for a few minutes with questions like, “What’s going on in your life? Is there anything that you want to tell Mom? Is there anything on your heart that you want me to pray for you about? Is there any secret that you haven’t shared with Mom and Dad that you really want to share with us? And are there any temptations or struggles that you’ve had that you want to share with Mom and Dad so that we can pray with you about those things?”
She adds, “We just go straight to the heart and try to let them know they have a safe place to share and they don’t have to bear a burden on their own – that Mom and Daddy were once their age, too, and we know how it is.”
So given their large family and limited hours in the day, they seem to have found a communication method that works for them. Still, you have to wonder if the young Duggars don’t occasionally want a little bit more than a 10-minute check-in session (which, judging from those questions, sounds more like a confessional).
Heart-to-hearts are great, but sometimes it’s nice just to go out with Mom or Dad for a couple of hours without any siblings tagging along and just enjoy being in each other’s company. A casual chat over a dish of ice cream can be just as much of a bonding opportunity than an intense prayer session.
Having a large family means making certain sacrifices – and extended one-on-one time is one of them.
What do you think? Do the Duggars give their children enough individual attention?
[Photo: via TLC]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
And don’t miss a post! Follow Shana on Twitter!
Don’t miss the latest from Famecrawler – like our Facebook page!
More on Babble: