Psychologist Warns Parents To Stop Kissing Their Kids On The Lips

When you have kids, it’s only natural that you want to shower them with love and affection. Giving regular hugs, kisses, and cuddles is one of the best ways to ensure they feel loved, cared for, and supported, and that’s a good thing. Being starved of that physical closeness growing up can lead to major issues as those children become adults, after all. However, one psychologist has warned parents to stop kissing their kids on the lips, claiming that it’s inappropriate and confusing.

Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child psychologist and author of “The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success,” tells CafeMom that it’s never appropriate for parents to kiss their kids on the lips or even be overly physically affectionate.

“If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop? It gets very confusing,” Reznick said. She relayed an anecdote of a 6-year-old girl who gets kissed on the lips by her father but then goes to school and tries to kiss her classmate on the lips and is dubbed a “sexual harasser.”

If this all seems a bit dramatic, Dr. Reznick doesn’t think so. She worries that parents kissing kids on the lips could leave the children with sexual feelings that could upset and confound them. Not only that, but it means they’re never able to develop healthy boundaries, which we all know are important in life.

“As a child gets to 4 or 5 or 6 and their sexual awareness comes about (and some kids have an awareness earlier — as when we notice they start masturbating at 2 or 3 sometimes — they just discover their private parts and it feels good), the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them,” Reznick claims. “Even if that never occurs to a child, it´s just too confusing! If mommy kisses daddy on the mouth and vice versa, what does that mean when I, a little girl or boy, kiss my parent on the mouth?”

However, not all child psychologists are on the same page about this. In fact, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer insists it’s totally normal and that there’s nothing wrong with it at all. “It’s important that parents keep and maintain boundaries with their children, certainly, but in terms of expressing affection, this feels within the realm of normal,” he says.

We’re inclined to go with the latter opinion.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill
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