The Kids Are Basically Raising Each Other

If you've ever watched an episode of TLC's 19 Kids & Counting , you've heard Michelle Duggar call out, "Where's your buddy?" As far as I can tell, being a kid in that family is a lot like being on a huge school field trip — whether you're going to the grocery store or exploring the Lincoln Memorial, you have to have a buddy. And it makes sense. As someone with 19 children, Michelle and Jim Bob are very obviously outnumbered. How could they possibly keep track of that many kids without losing one or two of them along the way? As young parents, they figured out a solution to this issue pretty quickly: The ever so famous buddy system.

But in the Duggar household, the buddy system is more than grabbing a brother or sister to make sure neither of you gets lost coming back from the bathroom. Nope, as a Duggar kid, your buddy is with you for life, through vacations, chores, and just about everything else. Sometimes, it comes off like Michelle's trusting her oldest daughters to raise her little ones without her... and yeah, at times, they probably are. But apparently, the buddy system works, because they have yet to lose a single child yet.

It started when Josh was eight years old

According to Michelle, the buddy system sprang up from a need to be everywhere at once to help her children — a need that was obviously impossible to fulfill, especially when she realized how difficult it was to get so many young kids ready and out of the house at once.

"We realized it works much better if we're trying to hurry to have one of the older ones help the little guys buckle their seatbelts," Michelle explained to TLC. "I have noticed the ones that were teamed up and worked together a lot have such a sweetness in their relationship."

The kids all love it (apparently)

It's a good thing I'm not a Duggar, because I would never be able to put up with the responsibility of caring for my younger siblings while my mom is off on a book tour or something. But Michelle promises her kids don't see the buddy system as a burden. Instead, they love forming that special sibling bond that can only take root when Mom and Dad are reality stars.

From the same post on TLC, Michelle wrote:

When Josie was born, Jackson came to me after things calmed down with the hospital birth and said, “Mama, Josie – she’s going to be on my buddy team, isn’t she?” I hadn’t thought about it yet. “Well, it’s our turn to get another buddy,” he said. “And she’s got a dimple just like me. That means she’s on our team.” He said, “I’ll make sure that if you need anything for Josie, I’ll get it. You just tell me whatever she needs and I’ll go get it for you.”

Can Jackson be my son instead? Seriously, that's precious.

They work together on chores, or "jurisdictions," too

When the Duggars aren't out and about, they refer to their color-coded chore charts, and their buddy teams are responsible for getting done whatever the chart tells them to do.

"All pink are Jan and her team. All blue are Jill and her team," Michelle told Parenting.com. "There is a schedule from morning until bedtime so that they know what to expect — what their goals are, what they are aiming for, what they try to get done."

Chores from morning until bedtime? That sounds miserable. How does this woman manage to raise 19 kids who all love the idea of helping out their parents? It might be the lack of a TV in their house.

Images: TLC (4)