Kissing your kid on the lips: Cute or creepy?
Well, this subject has for years stirred up a searing debate on parenting.
On one side of the motion, kissing is a simple, sweet gesture to show affection to the “innocent” juniors and strengthen the parent-child bond.
On the opposite side of the debate, lip-kissing isn’t appropriate, and any parent practicing it is doing parenting wrong?
But which side of the debate is right?
Well, this blog post will critically examine lip-kissing kids from both perspectives. We’ll even provide a helpful guide on handling this sensitive subject in a way that shows respect and love to you and your child.
Is Kissing Your Kids On The Lips Okay?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a clear answer to this common question, which is probably the reason this lip-kissing debate hasn’t ended decades down the line.
Lip-kissing your child can be okay or unacceptable. It largely depends on two factors;
- Familial culture
- Societal norms
We all agree that every child deserves to be loved. In fact, the feeling of being loved unconditionally is an essential part of any child’s emotional and psychological well-being.
However, how we express our affection to our little ones varies depending on the family we’re in and how we were raised.
In some families, a hug is enough way of showing love to kids. Others endorse a peck on the cheek or forehead and nothing more. However, in families with a more liberal attitude towards expressing physical affection, a kiss on the lip is okay.
Similar to family norms, some cultures have no problem with parents expressing affection to kids through kissing. However, some have a more reserved attitude towards the same and often see lip-kissing as inappropriate.
But ultimately, whether or not kissing lip-kissing kids is okay depends on your personal preference, beliefs, and community values.
Expert Opinions On Kissing Kids On The Lips
In a heated debate like the one on lip-kissing, it’s always good to hear what the experts say.
So, what do psychologists and doctors say about giving children a peck on the lips?
Doctors – particularly dentists – agree that parents kissing their kids on the lips is generally risky!
You can read that again!
According to these professionals, an adult mouth may host microbes not harmful to the grown-up but greatly aggressive when transferred to the little ones.
But that’s from a health angle!
From the moral lens, these experts seem to differ!
For instance, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician, says that even though lip kissing can transfer microbes from parents to kids, it’s still okay as long as it’s done appropriately and that parents have their dental health checked from time to time to avoid risking the health of their little ones.
She even self-proclaims to be a big fan of smooching babies, clearly showing her moral view on the controversial practice.
Like Dr. Swanson, Dr. Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist, views lip kissing as acceptable. However, she cautions parents that they must consider cultural and family values and respect the personal boundaries of their little ones.
Dr. Walfish also asks parents to be mindful of their motivation for lip-kissing, saying that it should be done out of genuine love and affection and nothing else.
But then, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child psychologist, has a totally different view on the matter. According to this US doctor, lip kissing can confuse kids and should be avoided altogether.
According to Dr. Reznick, kissing kids on the lips may blur the boundary between a parent-kid relationship and a romantic one, stressing that it should not be practiced.
Dr. Reznick even warned parents against lip kissing because the act is “too sexual”, claims that were later slammed as “outrageous” by Dr. Heather Irvine-Rundle, a clinical psychologist, who added that lip kissing isn’t an inherently sexual act.
So as you can see, not even the experts have a consensus on this issue, leaving the subject open to further debate.
But generally, whether it’s okay or not to kiss kids on the lips is okay as long as;
- It’s made as a genuine way of expressing affection
- It doesn’t contrast family or cultural values
- It’s comfortable for the parties involved
- Appropriate measures are taken to avoid transferring microbes to the juniors.
But then, as a parent, you must be discerning enough to know when it’s time to stop lip-kissing your child.
Signs That It’s Time To Stop Lip-Kissing Your Child
While showing affection to your child should never end, you should know when it’s time to switch to a different way of doing it.
If you’ve been using a kiss on the lips to express love to your child, considering these factors will help you know when it’s time to stop it and find another way of doing it.
Age Of The Child
As kids grow, there are lots of changes that happen within their bodies, and that includes their preferences for physical affection.
How your child will react to a peck on the lips when they are 2 or 3 isn’t necessarily the same way they’ll respond to it in adolescence.
As children approach adolescence, their views on social norms and boundaries change, and every parent needs to keep that in mind.
Child’s Comfort Level
Some kids will begin to show reluctance towards kissing right from a tender age.
When you notice that your kid is exhibiting a different attitude towards it, it’s a tell-tale sign that they’ve set their own boundaries that need to be respected.
In that case, it’s best to opt for a way that doesn’t go against the standards they’ve set for themselves.
Remember that love and affection should be expressed in a way that shows respect and love for those involved!
Your Comfort Level
Like the child, stop your child on the lips if you no longer find it comfortable as the parent. It’s normal to find it bizarre to lip-kiss your child after reaching a certain age.
As long as kissing your child raises some questions within you or no longer feels authentic and natural, it may no longer be appropriate. In such a case, find an alternative way to express physical affection.
3 Alternatives To Lip Kissing
If lip kissing no longer seems appropriate, you can opt for other ways of showing affection to your kids.
Some of the most effective ways include:
Hugs and Cuddles
Hugs and cuddles provide a strong sense of warmth and connection, making them a great alternative to lip kissing.
A medical blog shows that hugs and cuddles release the “feel good” hormone, which is good news for your overall health.
But for hugs, we’ve got varieties. Some kids prefer a side hug, while others like a full-body embrace. Know what your child prefers and offer it to them!
Sometimes words are enough to pierce through our kids’ tender hearts and make them feel loved.
Some kids will find simple verbal affirmations like “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” too powerful and will make them feel loved and supported.
How about turning to these fun and playful ways to express love to your kids?
Kids already exhibiting discomfort in lip-kissing wil find high fives to celebrate their accomplishments to be better!
Kissing a child can be okay, depending on a few factors. But as a parent, knowing the right time to bid goodbye to the practice is essential.
If it no longer feels comfortable and authentic for either you or your child, that’s a sign that you need to put the practice to an end. Thankfully, we’ve got other effective ways of expressing love and affection to our children.