Flikr: Leonid Mamchenkov

OPINION: what's so wrong with kissing kids on the lips?

NO MATTER what you do as a parent, there will be someone somewhere telling you what you are doing is wrong.

Or some experts telling you what you are doing is inappropriate.

An article I read this week really takes the cake - that kissing your children on the lips is wrong.

Worse than that, they say it is wrong because it is "sexual" behaviour.

The article quoted a child psychologist and sexologist which said it was because the mouth is an "erogenous zone" and kissing children on the lips can "cause confusion".

They said children might start trying to kiss other children or fail to report sexual abuse because they may think it was okay for adults to kiss them that way.

I am horrified about what they may say about breastfeeding - heaven forbid that children see breasts as anything other than a sexual part of the body.

I think this kind of talk is irresponsible, making mountains out of molehills and turning something innocent and natural into a problem it is not.

I kiss both my boys on the lips. I imagine I won't be doing this when they are 12 and 14, but at the moment they are 2 and 4, so I see nothing wrong with that.

Just as one day they won't want to hold my hand, or want to watch me go to the toilet anymore, I am sure they will decide they don't want to give me a peck on the lips anymore.

But I think that is for them to decide, when they are ready to decide.

Surely this is the best way to raise them to be in touch with their own emotions and feelings of personal space?

Experts say you should never make your children hug people they don't want to, as it teaches them to go against their instincts - this is something I really believe in.

I don't even make my children hug me when I leave if they don't want to.

But surely the same can be said of encouraging them not to be affectionate. Doesn't this just teach them that to hide or go against their good feelings?

Isn't that how boys are raised to be men that have trouble showing emotions and affection?

My boys have a little mate, who is also 2, who loves to kiss and cuddle - he gives them away freely to all the people he loves.

Master H, 4, thinks this is wonderful and when they get together, he loves to reciprocate and asks for kisses and cuddles all the time.

They kiss on the lips - because that's what they know.

They do that with their parents and they see Mummy and Daddy do it as well - to them it is completely natural and normal.

Who cares that young children kiss each other on the lips?

Instead of stopping children expressing themselves in the way they are most comfortable, isn't it more important to teach them about respecting other people's feelings? To recognise that some people may not like to be hugged or kiss and that is what is not appropriate.

Kissing is not dangerous behaviour. It's not risque or a gateway to deviate behaviour.

It's an expression of love. And there's nothing wrong with that.


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