kids

"I feel horribly uncomfortable when parents kiss school-age kids on the lips."

Recentley, a series of images of a mum kissing her teenage son on the lips made my brain melt.

The images, published by The Daily Mail, showed a 42-year-old midwife puckering up in various poses to her 16-year-old son.

The redheaded son is shown leaning forward into her affectionate kisses, which reportedly “only last a second or two, unless Jordan is in a more jovial mood, in which case he draws it out longer and adds a ‘mwah’ sound.”

(You can see the original images here.)

parents lip-kissing
‘There’s also the issue of whether lip-kissing your kids is teaching them odd boundaries.’ Photo: iStock

If it took you a second to compose yourself after reading that account, you’re not alone. The article was sent to me by a friend with a two-word remark: “I’m… uncomfortable.”

The commentators on the article were more straightforward. “Totally disgusting,” wrote one.

“[K]issing small child on the lips you can easily transport bacteria,” said another.

“My family were kissers too and I always found it repulsive being made to kiss them on the lips,” a Mamamia reader weighed in on another post we published on lip-kissing.

Another commented: “Mouth kissing IS sexual. What is wrong with the cheek smooch?”

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lip kissing parents
“The instinctual part of my brain is shrieking: Nope, nope, NOPE.” Photo: iStock

I’m normally a fairly each-to-their-own kind of person, and the logical part of my brain says: Look, if Jordan and Cheryl are happy with their arrangement, they should do whatever floats their boat.

But the instinctual part of my brain is shrieking: Nope, nope, NOPE.

Because looking back on my own teen years, I (and most other school-age kids) would have rather been grounded for the entire duration of Schoolies than be spotted by classmates puckering up to Mum.

Dr Charlotte Reznick says parents should stop kissing their kids on the lips. (Photo: Twitter)

There’s also the issue of whether lip-kissing your teen kids is teaching them odd boundaries. At least one expert has seized on this idea, pointing out that lip-kissing is just baffling to kids.

“It’s just too confusing,” claims Dr Charlotte Reznick, author of The Power of your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success.

“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?”

She added that a teenage boy is particularly susceptible to confusion around the meaning of a lip kiss.

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“A teenage boy is more aware of his sexuality than a child, so I wouldn’t recommend a mother kissing him on the lips,” she says.

“People don’t like to hear this but the lips are an erogenous zone and feel-good chemicals that are associated with sexual arousal – including serotonin and oxytocin – are released through lip-kissing.”

parents lip-kissing
“It’s just too confusing,” Dr Reznick says. Photo: iStock

In Jordan’s case, he’s totally fine with it: “I will carry on kissing Mum when I’m an adult,” he tells The Daily Mail.

Apparently he even has a girlfriend called Daisy who is “unbothered by her boyfriend’s habit” despite the fact that “Cheryl and Jordan also hold hands in public – even at the school gates.”

So they’ve found an an arrangement that works for them all. Good for them.

But Jordan is just one kid. And I think I speak for 99.9% of Australian young people when I say:

Dear parents, don’t kiss your school-age children on the lips.

Can we agree on that?

What do you think about lip-kissing between parents and kids?