Kissing your kids on the lips means nothing but pure love, closure, compassion, and support. And it comes so naturally that you wouldn't even be able to explain it to those who don't get it.
All parents know that this is nothing weird or wrong. It's just love, the unconditional love for that little person you've created, floating to the surface whenever both your child and you feel like it.
But at some point, questions will start rushing into your mind: is there anything wrong? Is kissing your kids OK?
The Picture of David Beckham & Harper Was A Proper Start
The discussion about sharing kisses on the lips with your kids started back in 2018 when David Beckham posted on Instagram. A heart-warming picture of him kissing his then seven-year-old daughter, Harper.
The Internet went on fire right on, and the sides that his Instagram followers took were different. Some of them thought that the peck on the lips was cute and sweet. Others were harsh, even disgusted.
"You people are sick for defending this. The truth will come out… this may have been acceptable in the 1990s, but times have changed, and we won't stand for it any longer. Children's innocence must be preserved."
Many commented that kissing your kids on the lips is wrong because kids and parents shouldn't 'make out'.
What Experts Answered About Kissing On The Lips
On the other side, back in 2010, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child psychologist from UCLA, warned parents that kissing their kids on the lips could look a little confusing to them:
"If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop?"
"It gets very confusing."
Some other experts strongly disagreed with Dr. Reznick.
Dr. Fiona Martin from the Sydney Child Psychology Center reacted to her statements:
"It's absurd really to think a parent kissing their child could be referred to as too sexual. It is normal and healthy to be affectionate to your children. It's communicating to your child that you love them."
Clinical psychologist Heather Irvine-Rundle also agrees with Dr. Martin:
"It doesn't take into account relationships that are safe and trusting. There is nothing sexual about kissing a baby on the mouth."
It All Revolves Around Perspective And Experience
Why kissing on lips constantly causes so many reactions? Is there something wrong with it?
According to the parenting expert and founder of Tools of Growth, Roma Khetarpal, the answer lies in your personal experiences. People who grew up with parents who showed visible displays of affection frequently will see it as nothing new. Those who didn't might find it a bit strange and react.
"It's prevalent in some cultures and not in others; that is the biggest tell-all. It comes down to what your family dynamic is — just like any other cultural habit."
When it comes to kissing, she didn't forget to add that people, in general, may vary in their cultural habits.
Some families think that kissing on the neck is inappropriate. In other European cultures, kissing on the lips and cheeks is normal. It's a pretty common thing, even between children and adults.
Sara Dimmerman, a psychologist, added that lip-kissing is out of bounds for anyone who is not a romantic partner.
"My association with lip kissing is related to close intimacy between romantic partners. As a result, I feel uncomfortable when other adults kiss me on the lips and typically turn my head so that their lips meet my cheek whenever possible. Although there may be families or cultures within which lip kissing between parents and children is considered acceptable, I believe that since most people feel more comfortable being kissed on the cheek by people other than their romantic partners, that I prefer to model this to my children."
Learning About Boundaries
Raising kids requires good strategy and overthinking the details.
Khetarpal said that teaching your kids boundaries, and more importantly respecting their boundaries may be the key in this story. She also recommended asking yourself: is it age-appropriate, and do they want to be kissed at all?
There would be a point in time when you will realize that your kids are all grown up. They won't need you to help them in the bathroom with their shower or to help them change. A parent's job would be to respect this change and offer some distance.
"All we can do is draw some sensible boundaries,"
"What's the big deal?"
Irvine-Rundle had a response for Reznick's opinion that kissing your kids on the lips might confuse them about who they're allowed to kiss:
"You look at toddlers who breastfeed. They don't walk up to strangers and ask to be breastfed by them,"
"It's about being close to a person and wanting to connect with them."
Still wondering what would be the right answer? It depends on you. If you feel like you need to kiss your kids on the lips, then you do you. If not, feel free to hug your kids and show them love and affection whenever you want to.
They grow up so fast, cherishing every moment is the most important thing a parent could do.