The world is painfully aware that Joy-Anna Duggar isn’t giving her kids their best start in life.
From education to socialization and beyond, they are missing opportunities because their family is in a cult.
Many fans worry that Joy-Anna is walking in her parents’ footsteps in too many ways.
Is she planning on her kids “growing up” to be child brides and grooms, too?
Joy-Anna is actually addressing the extremely touchy subject.
Here’s how it came up.
It started with a seemingly sweet glimpse of Joy’s time outside with three-year-old Gideon and one-year-old Evelyn.
Enjoying the autumnal weather, the 24-year-old mom is seen holding hands with her little ones.
Gideon is playfully wearing a cowboy hat and boots in the shoot.
The entire look says “November,” but Joy-Anna had more to say.
“G R A T I T U D E,” Joy-Anna wrote in her Instagram caption.
That word, she wrote: “Turns what we have into enough.”
She added: “It’s hard to believe that I only have 15 more Autumn seasons with Gideon and 17 with Evelyn before they’re grown.”
“It puts things into perspective,” Joy-Anna noted.
“And,” she continued, it “helps me cherish the good and the hard days I have with them.”
Joy-Anna added: “Gideon insisted I take a picture of just him with his cowboy hat!”
At face value, that is a very sweet photo.
However, as is so often the case with the Duggar family, even the seemingly precious moments have bittersweet elements.
Despite their general lack of world experience, the Duggars are forced to grow up very quickly.
Joy-Anna herself only turned 24 days ago.
She is already a married mother of two at an age when the vast majority of her same-age peers are at meeting more age appropriate milestones.
Barely 24-year-olds should be finishing college, launching careers, apartment hunting, and more as they continue to grow as very, very young adults.
Joy-Anna was a teenage bride, marrying in 2017 at just 19.
This, and similar experiences by so many of her siblings — some of whom became betrothed as minors — sends chills down people’s spines.
And, as always, it is impossible to honestly and accurately view Duggar kids without thinking of the inescapable lives already planned for them.
Clearly, this was on the mind of one bold commenter, who could not help but ask about Joy-Anna’s countdown in the captions.
The commenter wrote: “Married off by 18?”
Joy-Anna saw and actually responded.
In her reply, Joy-Anna wrote: “I said ‘Grown’ not ‘Married.'”
That is technically true.
But was this a sound clapback … or a cowardly evasion?
In the Duggar world, “grown” and “married” are often synonymous.
We do not merely refer to the family, church, and cult’s tradition of marrying off its members at extremely young ages.
(But that is very much a thing, done to help tie them to their extreme way of life and make it that much harder to escape if they should later want to)
See, the Duggars also don’t really see their children as “adults” until they are married.
We don’t just mean that in the way that some cultures “expect” marriage and see it as a milestone that earns respect.
We mean that the Duggar adults almost all live at home, must be chaperoned, and are generally banned from social media until marriage.
There are no real indications that Joy-Anna intends to spare her children from any of that.
So yes, Joy-Anna is right — she said “grown.”
But in less than two decades, she might see both of her children married off way too young. That’s how the toxic cycle continues.