Psychologist Warns Parents To Stop Kissing Their Children On The Lips

By maks in Life Style On 11th February 2024

While this gesture is often seen as a pure expression of love and affection by many parents, it has sparked debate and even criticism, especially when public figures are involved.

For instance, soccer icon David Beckham has found himself at the center of this controversy more than once. 

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Despite the innocence of his actions, Beckham has faced backlash for sharing photos on Instagram where he's seen kissing his daughter, Harper, on the lips. 

In 2022, after posting endearing snapshots from a father-daughter outing, he received comments urging him to stop the practice, with remarks like "please do not kiss your daughter on the lips" and "she is a big girl now time for you to stop kissing her on the lips."

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Beckham, however, has openly discussed his approach to parental affection. 

During a Facebook Live session in 2017, he explained: "I’m very affectionate with the kids. It’s how I was brought up, and Victoria, and it’s how we are with our children."

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"We want to show our kids love, and you know, we’re very affectionate with them." 

He also mentioned that he doesn't limit this expression of love to Harper but extends it to all his children until they reach adulthood. 

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Credit: Instagram / @davidbeckham

Beckham acknowledged that while his eldest son, Brooklyn, who was 18 at the time, might find it odd, it remains a part of how they express affection in their family.

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However, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child and educational psychologist and author of "The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success," offers a different perspective. 

In an interview with CafeMom, when asked about the appropriate time to stop kissing one's child on the lips, she hinted at the inherent ambiguity in the practice by saying:

"The answer is in your question." 

Dr. Reznick expressed concerns about the potential for confusion as children grow and become more aware of sexual dynamics. 

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She shared an anecdote about a six-year-old girl who, accustomed to being kissed on the lips by her father, might replicate this behavior with classmates, inadvertently finding herself labeled as a "sexual harasser."

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Credit: The Good Brigade / Getty

Dr. Reznick elaborated on her stance by explaining:

"As a child gets to four or five or six and their sexual awareness comes about [...] the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them." 

She added: "Even if that never occurs to a child, it's just too confusing! If mommy kisses daddy on the mouth and vice versa, what does that mean when I, a little girl or boy, kiss my parent on the mouth?"

"If I had to answer when to stop kissing your kids on the lips, it would be now."

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This viewpoint opens up a complex dialogue about expressions of affection within families, the development of sexual awareness in children, and societal perceptions of such interactions. 

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Credit: RichLegg / Getty

Dr. Reznick's comments suggest a cautious approach, aiming to avoid potential confusion or misinterpretation as children grow and navigate their understanding of personal boundaries and affection.

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What do you think about Dr. Reznick's advice? Is there a clear line that should be drawn when it comes to parental affection, or is the context of each family's dynamics key to understanding what's appropriate? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.