Children benefit from parents' affection, so what's the problem?
Why is it that for some people kissing kids on the lips is horrible, bad and inappropriate, but giving them a backrub, hugging them, bathing them, sleeping with them in a bed, hugging them and just general cuddling with them is okay?
Parenting is difficult, and good parents constantly wonder if they're doing right by their children, if they're raising them in the most loving and best way possible.
And just when they feel they can have a small moment of relief, that they haven't screwed up their kid too badly (maybe only limited therapy will be needed when they're adults) someone comes around to point out how something they're doing is the absolute worst thing anyone could ever do to a child, and the parent has to question if they really do know what they're doing.
Kissing your child on the lips is one of those topics.
Dr. Charlotte Reznick, author of The Power Of Your Child's Imagination: How To Transform Stress And Anxiety Into Joy And Success says, "The kiss on the lips can be stimulating ... 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 parents on the mouth? If I had to answer when to stop kissing your kids on the lips, it would be now."
Parents are discouraged from kissing their kids on the mouth because the mouth is an erogenous zone and kissing children can "cause confusion."
Writer and mother, Sabrina Rogers-Anderson has this response,"Let me get this straight: when my two year old leans in for a slobbery kiss I'm supposed to push her angelic little face away and explain to her that's she's being inappropriate? Should I follow this up with telling her that her skirt is too short and I don't want her listening to that slutty Rihanna's music anymore?"
Dr. Paul Hokemeyer told Yahoo Parenting, "It's important that parents keep and maintain boundaries with their children, certainly, but in terms of expressing affection this feels within the realm of normal."
In different cultures, not only do parents kiss their children on the lips, people kiss their friends on the lips.
Dr. Psych Mom, Samantha Rodman says, "I bet that having a positive physical experience with a parent actually sets a child up to be comfortable giving and receiving physical affection, and is stored as a positive subconscious feeling about physical love in relationships."
Isn't kissing on the lips confusing for children? No. According to clinical psychologist and mother of four, Sally-Anne McCormack, "There's absolutely no way that kissing a young child on the lips is confusing for them in any way. That's like saying breastfeeding is confusing. Some people might have issues with it, but it isn't any more sexual than giving a baby a back rub."
While some people never stop kissing their children on the lips, no matter how old they get (like Bill Belichick kissing his 30 year-old daughter at the Super Bowl), others get the hint when their tween or teenager ends it. "Your child will probably want to stop on their own at some point because they'll see that other people don't generally do it," says McCormack.
Affection is very important for children, and some actions like kissing a baby on their lips, are simply sweet and innocent.
Too often in modern society, things are sexualized and demonized. Affection can just be a way of physically showing someone that you love them — not some kind of creepy, inappropriate action.