A recent Instagram snap of Victoria Beckham kissing her daughter has reignited the row originally begun by Dr Charlotte Reznick last year about whether it is inappropriate to kiss your child on the lips. I was enraged by this back then and continue to be now.
I’m not a helicopter parent, or an attachment parent. In fact, I consider myself quite strong in my views that children should be encouraged to be as independent as possible. I do my utmost not to smother my son in any way. However, I love him with a fierceness that makes resisting kissing him, on the lips and all over frankly, virtually impossible.
Before Dr Reznick’s article I had never once considered the moral implication of kissing him on the lips and why would I? It’s something that comes completely and utterly natural to us. When I first heard of this so-called debate I had to actually pause to consider whether I did it or not, it was that much of a non-issue. But once again an apparent “expert” has brought such a lovely, innocent thing under the microscope.
My son is three. At what point, according to some, has he become too old to kiss on the lips? Is it okay to kiss babies on the lips but not five year olds? And why is this the business of anyone else besides the parents and child? Too much of our parenting is under scrutiny these days as it is but this is probably the most extreme topic I’ve seen dissected so far.
This is especially poignant to me. I’ve written before about my fears regarding bonding and attachment during Caterpillar’s early months of life and my questions about whether I loved him enough thanks to my emotional state being damaged by PND. I recovered and that love grew, and continues to grow every single day, and if I want to celebrate this fact by being affection with him then I absolutely will. I spent too long in pain not to.
This “debate” is simply an example of sensationalism and hypersensitivity at its worst. It deeply saddens me that we now live in a society so damaged by the genuinely abhorrent crimes that do take place, we have instead cast a dark shadow on one of the simplest acts of love you can show a child. There are no words for the horror of real child abuse and I believe muddying the waters with this rubbish actually detracts from the real issue, and the wonderful work being done to try to prevent crimes against children.
I don’t kiss my own parents on the lips now so obviously at some point during later childhood or adolescence the act of kissing on the lips naturally faded out. So natural in fact that neither I nor them can remember how or when this stopped. Why? Because it is a non-issue.
At the moment my son is still really affectionate and I’m going to revel in that for as long as possible because, as with all little boys, there is going to come a time when he no longer wants kisses and cuddles from his parents. In the meantime I will continue to kiss my son on the lips until he tells me not to.
If it doesn’t feel right for you to do this then don’t. As with all parenting issues, you must only do what feels right and natural to you. But please refrain from judging others and don’t project your own issues onto those around you.