I have little doubt that the following information is new to everybody. I first heard about this particular debate a few days ago while perusing forums. The question was posed as, “Do you feel it’s wrong to kiss your kids on the lips?” Wow. Man, but there were some angry commentsout there. In fact, angry doesn’t even begin to touch the tone of some of the responses to that question.
You may be surprised, however, at what actually spurred the volatile responses.
The following is an excerpt from a post I found at “The Stir (A CafeMom Blog)”. The link to the actual article is here.
Dr. Charlotte Reznick, author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success, a child and educational psychologist, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA, says she sees the downside of kissing your kids on the lips all too frequently.
“The answer is in your question,” Reznick said when asked for the perfect age. “If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop? It gets very confusing.”
She gives the example of a 6-year-old girl kissed on the lips by her father. It’s completely innocent on both sides, but when the girl goes to school and tries to kiss her classmates on the lips — equally innocently — she’s placed in the role of “sexual harasser.”
“As a child gets to 4 or 5 or 6 and their sexual awareness comes about (and some kids have an awareness earlier — as when we notice they start masturbating at 2 or 3 sometimes — they just discover their private parts and it feels good), the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them,” Reznick explains.
“Even if that never occurs to a child, itÂ´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.”
As I said, I first came upon this information in a forum I visit frequently. And I mentioned that there were some angry responses to the question. But angry at what? Shockingly, the viewpoints ranged from “discomfort” at seeing a parent kiss their child on the lips to “disgust” at seeing this kind of affection. The overwhelming majority of responders supported the article and expressed their disbelief that some parents find it appropriate to show fondness for their children in this manner.
Okay. I take offense to this. Greatly.
Let me clarify. Obviously there is a great big world out there full of people with diverse thoughts and beliefs. Thank goodness for that. And there are people who believe that physical affection is not something to be overtly displayed, and that kissing is something that should be reserved between lovers. Okay. By the same token, there are also people who see no issue with kissing anyone you love and that the intention behind the kiss can and should vary greatly.
I fall into that camp. I kiss both my kids on the lips. I kiss my mom and dad on the lips. I have a certain hunky cousin that always greets with a smack on the kisser. I also kiss my husband. And every one of those kisses share one thing: the love behind it.
But my own personal opinion is just that: mine. And I firmly believe that we have the right to determine what is “appropriate” for our family. A kiss on the cheek shows no less love than a kiss on the lips, as long as the intent behind it is such. It’s a choice.
What really offends me in this specific scenario is the widely held disgust, on that specific forum (and others I’ve since read), that parents would find it acceptable to kiss their children on the mouths and somehow managed to turn the practice into something “dirty” and “abusive.”
I find it “dirty” that so many people jump to that conclusion. There is a very wide gap between showing affection and abuse. The fact that so many people bridged that gap and likened the two is a little disturbing to me. Obviously, abuse of children of any kind is abhorrent and despicable. I would never deign to defend anything of that nature. And, unfortunately, there are enough sick people in existence that it becomes a public responsibility to defend those who can’t defend themselves. I understand that completely. What I’m talking about is of an entirely different caliber.
The affection I show my children is nothing if not pure and respectful. And quite honestly, there is nothing that makes my cup runneth over faster than a big, fat, juicy kiss from the innocent lips of my children. Again, what bothers me is not that people may not agree with my choice. They are entitled. They are not, however, entitled to liken my choices to that of an abuser.
I would like to point out that Dr. Reznick, in the interview provided above, does not take her opinion to that base level. Her concern on the matter is more in regards to the “confusion” that kissing may cause your children. But her opinion most certainly has sparked an entirely different type of debate. It leaves me to wonder that perhaps my family and our chosen mode of affection is in the minority. Although, I’m not entirely sure how any parent who has witnessed firsthand the warm and plump lips on a child in the morning can resist them. I know I can’t.