The conservative Christian parents keep an open mind when it comes to their 12 kids

By Emily Strohm and Emily Zauzmer
Updated June 17, 2015 01:15 PM
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Toby and Brenda Willis are writing their own rules when it comes to raising their 12 children.

While the reality stars say their conservative Christian beliefs – they don’t believe in premarital sex and don’t drink alcohol – play a big role in the Willis household, they do like to keep an open mind when it comes to their parenting style.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Don’t do this! Don’t do this!’ It was more like, “Try this! Try this!’ We were always being encouraged to do more things,” says oldest daughter Jessica, 23. “But our parents were right there to kind of catch us if it was a bridge too far.”

And the family follows the same philosophy for dating.

“When it comes to relationships, it’s not like, “You cannot do this, and you have to do back by this time, and you have to be a certain age,” adds Jessica.

“Every person is different. I think the two main things are being really open and honest and having good communication with my parents.”

But for Brenda and Toby, the key to raising their kids is simple: “We try to just kind of stay true to what the Bible says and live that in a very loving, nonjudgmental way without pushing that on anyone else,” says Brenda.

RELATED VIDEO: Go Behind the Scenes at the Willis Family’s PEOPLE Photo Shoot

For more on the Willis family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday