parent opinion

'I don't think David Beckham kissing his daughter on the lips is weird. I do the same.'

As I sat poolside watching my eldest daughter have her swimming lesson, my youngest daughter Milla decided it was affection o’clock and proceeded to cover me in kisses. Well, technically she just kissed me on my lips albeit about five times in a row. For me, personally, I love when she does this, when her mind decides it is time to show mum some love without me even asking. I truly treasure it because I do not know how long it will last and simply put, it makes me happy.

It appears though not everyone feels the same way.

Just this week, David Beckham was criticised for posting a photo of him kissing his seven-year-old daughter Harper.

In the comments, many followers shared their disapproval, with some even calling the kiss “creepy”.

“How can you kiss this little girl on her lips,” one follower commented.

Although it wasn’t on the same level, I’ve experienced this outrage before too.

Once, when Milla kissed me and then moved on to share her kisses with my husband sitting next to me, I glanced around and noticed a woman sitting further down the bench seat looking at me, with what only can be described as a ‘disgusted’ expression on her face. It was as if me, a mother, kissing my four-year-old daughter on the lips made me some sort of criminal.

kissing children on lips
Shona and her daughter. Image: Supplied.

I do not know what her issue was with it - was it the kiss on the lips itself? The fact that it was more than one? Or the fact that we weren’t somewhere private? Whatever the answer, it doesn’t really matter because I really just don’t understand.

How can kissing your own child on the lips be an issue?

The irony in this situation is that I am normally not an affectionate person. In fact, I’d say I am the opposite of affectionate. The only real exception are my two girls who seem to override my affection filter. A consequence of having this filter though makes me very aware of affection happening around me and often I find myself, like the woman that sat next to me, with an appalled expression as a couple are over the top with their PDAs. However, I can’t say I have ever felt this way about a parent and a child sharing a few pecks on the lips.

Gisele Bündchen's husband, Tom Brady, also kisses his son on the lips.

Video by Tom vs Time

Before I had a chance to look away from the judgement being shot from her eye daggers, the woman then chose to do something that just left me literally with my mouth gaping open. She shook her head. This time in response to my daughter kissing her dad. Yep, apparently my four year old kissing her own father who she loves is not OK.

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Looking back at this reaction, I now of course have the post-event remorse of not saying or doing something kick arse at the time, but at that moment I was just so astounded that we were being judged about a daughter kissing her parents on the lips that I couldn’t do anything.

The fact is, I still don’t really understand how this can be viewed as anything but cute or beautiful and no matter what age my children are I doubt I will ever change my perspective, despite judgement from others.

A few years ago psychologist Dr Charlotte Reznick caused quite the stir by arguing that a parent kissing their child on the lips was wrong at any age. She stated, “If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop? As a child gets to four or five or six and their sexual awareness develops, the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them.”

When I read this I could definitely see the reason for the massive outrage in response to her point of view. There is clearly a sexualisation of kissing made by Dr Reznick that really shouldn’t be. The act of a kiss, like a hug or a touch can have many meanings, sometimes it is sexual yes, but other times it is a greeting or a farewell, or it is an act of parental or family love. Like most things in life it is all dependent on the circumstances, and making sweeping statements that judge parents unfairly on kissing their own children just doesn’t seem right.

david and harper beckham
Beckham also shared this photo with Harper last year. Image: Instagram.

Like me, many others have also experienced this judgement, often it is celebrities that have been at the forefront of this debate when posting images of themselves kissing their children to social media, like David Beckham, Tom Brady and Hilary Duff.

The debate on whether a parents should kiss their child on the lips will be forever ongoing. People bring with them their own experiences, values and perspectives about what they view as right or wrong. And although this is totally acceptable, I think that judgement should be made in a more mature and respectful way. So in future I will keep my couple OTT PDA reactions inside and I hope that in turn the swimming pool lady will do the same because I will keep kissing my children on the lips for as long as they want me to.

What do you think about parents kissing their children on the lips? Are you team for or against? Let us know in the comments.

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