While reflecting on her childhood, Jill, 32, said she grew up in a “culture” in which she was treated like “a persistent teenager” during the Wednesday, January 10, episode of “The Unplanned Podcast.”
Her husband, Derick Dillard, explained that she was raised with a sense of “perpetual adolescence” and was discouraged from moving forward with her life.
“You mature quickly, but then you kind of like stay in this … in this idea of, yeah, just perpetually under your parents authority and all that,” Jill explained. “There’s not really this point where you break away.”
The mother of three also pointed out that Jim Bob, 58, and Michelle, 57, created a dynamic that worked like a “family business,” so the kids felt like they didn’t have “control” over their decisions.
Jill has been open when it comes to her complicated relationship with her family, and she detailed the dynamic in her September 2023 memoir, Counting the Cost. During the promotional process for the book, Jill recalled what ultimately caused her estrangement from her parents during an interview with “Ask Dr. Julie Hanks” in November 2023.
“As we paved our own path, it became very difficult for me because I realized I could not please my parents and do what I feel like we’re being called to do,” she said at the time. “I think whenever it got really toxic is whenever I was almost forced to choose and I wouldn’t have chosen that. I wanted to please everyone.”
Jill has previously said she would like to work through her issues with Jim Bob and Michelle, and she is seemingly putting effort into mending their relationship. She and Derick, 34, even celebrated Christmas with her family in December 2023.
However, the former TLC personality has continued dropping bombshells about her unconventional childhood since releasing the book. Also during the “Unplanned Podcast,” Jill revealed that her parents expected her and her older siblings to take responsibility for their other children at a young age.
“We had a buddy system. An older child would be paired with a younger sibling, or two or three,” she said. “That way nobody slipped through the cracks. There was always somebody making sure this one got lunch and this one got their diaper changed.”
After Derick noted that did not change a diaper until he was 26, Jill said that she was “probably 6” when she was tasked with the chore for the first time. “I got my first buddy when I was about 6,” she added.
Jill then insisted that the responsibilities for “buddies” changed depending on everyone’s ages, adding that there were “different levels” to the system.
She went on to explain that Michelle was a very active mother and would “keep the itty bitty babies with her in her room.”
“Even during the night, like if we woke up with a kid they would help,” she said about Michelle and Jim Bob. After she said that her mother has a “nurturing personality,” Jill stated that Michelle was “very involved like up through the night and everything with the kids.”
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