Remember when Victoria Beckham posted a photo of her kissing her baby daughter Harper on the lips for her birthday? It sparked a heated debate on whether this should be acceptable or not.
Experts say children need to feel loved and protected in the family.
However, kissing on the lips turns out not to be the most advisable way to express parental care.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to kissing your child…
As psychologist Charlotte Reznick points out, the lips should be the personal boundaries of a child’s body. When you kiss your little one on the lips you signal to them that their body border is open and that it is alright for someone to trespass on their territory.
And this also includes too much tickling, force-feeding, and tight swaddling. This type of invasive parenting can increase a child’s risk of developing a “victim syndrome“. When this happens, a child starts developing an inability to say “no” and keep their personal boundaries safe.
Medical experts, and dentists, in particular, warn that there are many microbes in our mouths that may not be harmful to adults, but can be transmitted to little kids and harm them badly. And since children don’t have strong immune systems, Reznick warns that some highly harmful infections can enter their body through saliva.
Also, the child may start thinking it is acceptable to start kissing other people as an expression of sympathy.
The child may start practicing what you’ve shown him/her to be acceptable behavior, but outside of the family. They might start kissing other people on the lips as a way to show sympathy.
According to Reznick, even if the parents believe that this is just an innocent gesture of love, children learn and act by mimicry. They might repeat the same gesture with other people, without realizing the harm they could be causing to themselves. And this is why the psychologist recommends only kissing children on the forehead and cheeks.