harry connick jr. It was a sweet picture of Harry Connick Jr. leaning in to give his 8-year-old daughter a smooch, but something made me look again.

Looks like ol' Harry's going in for a mouth-to-mouth smacker.

I'm not going to accuse Harry of anything un-toward. I know a fair amount of parents who do this (guilty as charged at times) and it's 100 percent innocent. He just looks like a caring dad in this picture, not a lech.

But Charlotte is 8 ... which begged the question: When are they too old for the kiss on the lips?

Turns out they're ALWAYS too old.

Whoops!

Dr. Charlotte Reznick, author of The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success, a child and educational psychologist, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA (and often The Stir advisor), says she sees the downside of kissing your kids on the lips all too frequently.

"The answer is in your question," Reznick said when asked for the perfect age. "If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop? It gets very confusing."

She gives the example of a 6-year-old girl kissed on the lips by her father. It's completely innocent on both sides, but when the girl goes to school and tries to kiss her classmates on the lips -- equally innocently -- she's placed in the role of "sexual harasser."

"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 explains.

"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? 

"If I had to answer when to stop kissing your kids on the lips, it would be now."

Taking it out of the realm of a parent's sexual thoughts -- really, Harry, you can kiss us any time -- she makes some excellent points. And I'm willing to bet it's making a lot of parents rethink their at-home habits.

Do you kiss your kids on the lips?

 

Image via Splash News