There Is Absolutely Nothing “Disgusting” About Kissing Your Child on the Lips

Living in a time of 24-hour news cycles and social media coverage means we end up casting endless judgments, debating a ridiculous amount of minutiae, and asking questions that don’t really need to be asked — and parenthood is especially rife with this nonsense.

As an online writer for nearly nine years, I had thought I’d seen it all. But I was floored when I saw article after article yesterday asking if it’s okay to kiss your children on the lips. What the ever-loving … HOW ARE WE EVEN ASKING THIS QUESTION?

The “debate” was ignited back in July 2016 after Victoria Beckham posted an adorable photo to Instagram in honor of her daughter Harper’s birthday. In it, she is seen kissing Harper on the lips in a pool, with the caption “kisses from mummy.”

Many of Beckham’s followers weighed in to say it’s strange and even “disgusting” to kiss your children on the lips. The post now has over 650K “likes” and over 12,000 comments debating whether kissing your children on the lips is appropriate or not.

Here are just a few of her critics:

“Un, just to let u know it’s nice but Ur not supposed to kiss Ur children on the lips…I’m not trying to be rude but it’s true” — @beah_bri

“it’s gorgeous when your mom gives you kisses but not on your lips tho. I see that I’m not the only one who doesn’t get it…my mom gives me kisses but on my forehead which I find more valuable but it’s my right to find this disgusting. Have a lovely day.” — @I_2000_

“it’s definitely the head tilt. Makes it look like a romantic move kiss.” — @Mrsiunsetlove

Next, it was Hilary Duff who made headlines last December for a photo of her kissing her son Luca on the lips in Disneyland.

After enduring comments like “Poor kid #barf #stopchildabuse,” Duff hit back at the critics, saying:

“For anyone commenting that a kiss on the lips with my four year old is ‘inappropriate’ go ahead and click a quick unfollow with your warped minds and judgment.”

Then the Beckhams were back in the Internet hot seat when Victoria’s husband David posted a sweet photo on June 1 of him kissing daughter Harper.

While the photo has over 1.8 million “likes,” the comments were again mixed — with some calling it a beautiful (and totally normal) act of love, and others saying it’s completely inappropriate.

“You people are sick for defending this. The truth will come out… this may have been acceptable in the 1990s but times have changed and we won’t stand for it any longer. Children’s innocence must be preserved” —@swedeinaus

Just last week, Olivia Wilde came under intense social scrutiny for sharing a kissable moment with her son at bathtime.

While many showed support for Wilde’s method of maternal affection, many others found the tender moment inappropriate. One commenter wrote, “That’s how kids get lip herpes. From adult lip kisses.” Another commenter said, “… when my my mom kissed me ‘more accidently’ on the lips it felt weird to me. Even though I was innocent, I knew that only the adults did that and that made me feel uncomfortable.”

Is this what we have come to? This is where we are as a society? Debating whether parents should kiss their children on the lips? I, for one, can think of nothing more appropriate than lip smooches with my children and anyone who has an issue with that is clearly sexualizing the act in much the same way as those who oppose public breastfeeding sexualize breasts.

Yet here I am, reading articles and watching news segments questioning the behavior. The BBC went so far as to consult “social etiquette expert” Liz Brewer, who had this to say:

“Normally with a member of your family you don’t kiss on the lips unless it’s your husband. I would be uncomfortable doing that and I think most people would be. If she feels it’s appropriate, so be it. I wouldn’t say it sets a particularly good example.”

I care not for your “expertise” on social etiquette, Ms. Brewer. And I especially don’t care for your generalization that “most people would be” uncomfortable kissing their children on the lips.

There is something terribly wrong with a society that questions something so natural between a parent and child. I’m shocked by all these weak-willed articles along the lines of, Is kissing your child on the lips OK? Of course showing your child love is OK! Why are intelligent news outlets even posing the question?

Image Source: Monica Bielanko
Image Source: Monica Bielanko

The love I feel for my children far exceeds the love I have felt for anyone in my life and a loving kiss on their sweet lips is a beautiful way to convey that emotion to them. I probably kiss each of my children on the lips at least twice a day — once when I’m dropping them off at daycare and again as I’m tucking them into bed. And sometimes I get really crazy and randomly demand one of my children come up and give me a smooch on the lips when they’re being extra cute.

Ironically, many historians believe kissing on the lips is a learned behavior that evolved from “kiss feeding,” the process where mothers in some cultures feed their babies by passing chewed-up food into their mouths. Obviously, kissing has evolved in different cultures to mean different things but I find it interesting that the hotly debated act of kissing children on the lips may have actually evolved from the natural parental act of a mother feeding her children.

I feel deeply saddened to live in a society that is so puritanically jacked that it sexualizes circumstances that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Shame on everyone. Truly. If you prefer not to kiss on the lips, that’s one thing, but to view it as a disgusting act only demonstrates that your sexual barometer is totally broken and you are the one with the problem.

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