There are plenty of concerning things about the Browns' lives on Sister Wives that the average audience member wouldn't be accustomed to — for example, just how do they afford four McMansions in Nevada? Perhaps the most unfamiliar thing about the Browns' unusual lifestyle choice, however, is just how many children they have. Like the Duggars before them, the Browns are working in the high teens of offspring (17, to be exact), but unlike the Duggars, the Brown children have... mother-aunts? And if you're at all curious about their parents' polygamist lifestyle, then certainly you've wondered: Will their 17 kids grow up to be polygamists, too?
How were Kody and the Sister Wives Raised?
Surprisingly, the Brown parents were raised in about half polygamy, half monogamy households. Kody himself was raised by monogamous Mormon parents and converted to fundamental Mormonism in his 20s — a faith that rewards taking multiple wives. Meri, Kody's first (and only legal) wife was raised in a polygamist family and knew that when she married Kody, she was marrying him with the intention of having sister wives in the future. The next one to come along was Janelle, who knew Meri first, and then met Kody when she was 22 and knew she wanted to marry into their family, even though she was raised in the mainstream Mormon church in a monogamous family. Christine, Kody's third wife, came from a polygamist family like Meri and always knew she wanted that for herself, as well. On an Oprah appearance in 2010, she said, "I never wanted to just be married to a man... I honestly wanted sister wives more than a husband. I wanted the whole family."
Meri, Janelle, and Christine all married Kody within a four-year span of each other, but last wife, Robyn, came along 16 years later after leaving an 8-year monogamous marriage and deciding she wanted a plural marriage.
Growing Up in Polygamy
The Brown parents weren't much older than their eldest children are now when they got married, so they're beginning to wonder what lifestyle their children will choose. In Season 4 of the show, we saw that while one of Kody's brother's has also chosen to practice polygamy, one brother is still deciding, and the third, Curtis, and his wife have no interest in anything but monogamy, and Kody doesn't pressure him otherwise.
The Browns practice the polygamous Mormon fundamentalist faith, and used to belong to the Apostolic United Brethren sect, which in addition to plural marriage, has influenced their children with many strict beliefs. Kissing and even hand-holding before marriage is frowned upon, getting ears pierced is a compromise, and drinking alcohol is out of the question — though the Browns seem to have a looser stance on that. Most of these conservative beliefs seem to go over fine with the Brown teenagers, with small allowances — they don't seem to think kissing is going to damn them to anywhere — but it's the belief in polygamy that's been weighing on everyone most as the children grow up. Kody has said, "I’ve told my children that they can choose their faith but it will break my heart if they chose another."
In AUB, young people are supposed to "court" rather than "date," which basically means seeing each other with intentions to marry. So do the Brown children intend to marry plural?
The Next Generation
The short answer is: no. Meri's daughter Mariah is the only one of the Brown children who has explicitly stated that she hopes to have sister wives in her future. Some of the teenagers, like Aspen — who we most recently saw as a college student in a sorority, considering her career and dating options — haven't totally ruled it out, considering it dependant on who they fall in love with, but are pretty much leaning toward, "At this point, no."
And then there are the majority of the older gang who are already prepared to give their parents polygamist lifestyle the big, fat, "NO WAY," though no one seems to have any complaints about their own upbringing. Logan has said, “From my point of view I had a great childhood and polygamy can be good … But I have no spiritual testimony of it or logical explanation to do it.”
In the most recent episode, 17-year-old Maddie stepped out into the monogamy dating world, and she's feeling fine. Frankly, the all seem to have pretty good heads on their shoulders and are sure to each make the decision that is right for them.