Affection between family members can be shown in different ways. Depending on how people were raised, where they were raised, their culture, etc. Some families are very outwardly affectionate, constantly giving each other hugs and kisses. While others may not show that kind of affection at all. But when it comes to what kinds of physical affection, parents kissing their very young children on the lips doesn’t seem as weird as it sounds. It’s actually pretty commonly noticed. But is that actually doing the kids more harm than good?
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Dr. Charlotte Reznick, the author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success, explained in her book why parents kissing their children on the lips might not actually be as harmless as it seems. She explained that because the mouth is an “erogenous zone,” kissing your children on the lips “can be stimulating.” This can then cause confusion. If children associate kissing as a more intimate romantic or sexual gesture between parents, they might wonder why their parents kiss them too. Reznick said the child might think, “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.”
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However, this claim was refuted by another psychologist, who said that lip kissing is harmless. Clinical child psychologist Sally Anne McCormack told the Sun, “There is 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.”
So Is Giving Lip Kisses to Your Children Good or Bad?
Rachel Quenzer for the Everyday Mom Life discussed the topic and offered a solution that seems to be fitting for all families that show different types of affections. In referencing Roma Kheterpal, parenting expert and founder of Tools of Growth, a good way to approach whether this sign of affection is appropriate or not is to see it as a time when you stop doing things for your children, such as, “wiping their butts, bathing them and dressing them.”
And although I don’t have kids, I think this solution makes plenty of sense. If that’s how you show affection to your kids, maybe in the same way that they start wanting privacy when using the restroom. Maybe fist bumps could start replacing those kisses.