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Is it right or wrong to kiss your children on the mouth? Therapists reveal how it affects your child

Posted July 19

A few days ago Victoria Beckham published a picture of her kissing her daughter on the mouth with a loving message that said "Happy Birthday baby girl … We all love you so much ... Kisses from mummy X," and it has thrown the world into a massive controversial conversation.

Both people in general as well as specialists have chimed in with either studies or their personal experiences. Although there is no consensus on this practice, these findings shed some light to the dilemma.

It's bad

Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a psychologist at the University of California UCLA said a 'peck' on the lips from parents can cause confusion.

"If you start to kiss your kids on the mouth when they are young, when do you stop? It’s extremely confusing," Reznick said.

Children grow up and stop being babies. When they reach 5 or 6 years old they become aware of their bodies and sexuality. Reznick said they can actually become stimulated by a kiss on the lips.

For a child, this kiss is extremely confusing. They see their father and mother kissing on the mouth, and then Mom and Dad come and do the same with them. It’s enough to confuse any young mind about the roles, feelings, emotions and feelings.

Stopping at the appropriate time seems to be the solution, but not all children develop and mature at the same time, which makes one specific age hard to pinpoint.

In my case, I come from a family that is not very physically affectionate. We love each other, but do not say or show it with kisses and hugs. This has always been something that bothered me from an early age and decided that when I had a family of my own, I would hug and kiss them all the time.

When my daughters were born I adopted the habit of kissing my daughters on the lips. It was something very tender to me. But almost instinctively, I stopped when both were about 18 months; stopping this practice felt as natural as it did to start it. It just felt right.

It's good

Dr. Fiona Martin from Sydney Child Psychology Centre is in total disagreement with the previous position.

She thinks it’s absurd that parents kissing their children on the lips can be considered sexual. "It is normal and healthy to show affection for your children. You are communicating to your children that you love them," Martin explained to a local newspaper of Australia.

She also claims that there is no documentation to prove that kissing your children on the mouth creates any problems later on.

Similarly, Dr. Heather Irvine-Rundle, suggests that Dr. Reznick’s conclusion is outrageous. "It does not take into account relationships that are safe and trusting. There is nothing sexual about kissing a baby on the mouth."

Irvine-Rundle adds that Reznick’s reasoning that kissing them on the mouth will confuse children about who they are allowed to kiss is laughable.

How old?

Perhaps what bothered those who reacted to the Beckham’s photo was not the kiss but her daughter’s age.

The facts show that some parents kiss their children on the lips throughout their whole lives. To many, even thinking about this makes them sick to their stomach, while others consider this completely natural.

So as far as we can tell, we don’t have any proof on either end of the argument as to what is best for children. Just personal opinion.

Mariel Reimann is the Content Director at KSL Latino. She's studied law at the National University of Cordoba, currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. Email: mreimann@ksl.com.

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