Stop Kissing Your Kids on the Lips NOW (You Too Harry Connick Jr.)

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harry connick jr kiss daughterIt 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

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Cafe... Cafe Sheri

Hmm, I just not that freaked about it. I kiss my boys on the lips, except my oldest has started offering his forehead and his cheek, which is totally fine with me. I think kids, for the most part, will naturally let you know when they don't want lip kisses anymore. I'm not forcing them on anyone. :)

nonmember avatar SKL

This is crazy.  My dad kissed me on the lips when I was a wee tyke.  There wasn't a "time" to stop it.  I stopped naturally.  As did tickling and me asking my parents to wipe my butt.  Gimme a break.


I don't believe today's parents and kids don't have the same healthy instincts they have always had about this.  But if you have evidence otherwise, then I'd like to know why.  What has changed that has blocked humans' natural sense of right and wrong?  Could it be the distortion of natural, healthy gender roles in the past several decades?  The debasement of physical intimacy to "whatever feels good, whenever, and with whomever"?  The loss of a protective connection between parent and child, thanks to the attitude that "it's just tissue" (burdensome tissue at that) until after it's pooped out, and that fathers in particular have no right to care about whether the "tissue" lives or dies?  Is it sex education that encourages young people to try all kinds of things before they are old enough to understand the emotions that go with them?  Hmm.

EricaG87 EricaG87

Oh for heaven's sake.  My family all kisses on the lips - my mom, dad, brother, grandparent's, etc.  And you know what? There has never been one incidence of indecency or sexual abuse or anything of the sort in our family.  We are an affectionate, close group of people and when we say "hello" or "good bye" it's acompanied by a peck on the lips (or the cheek if it's cold season).  I've never had problems distinguishing wether or not I should be kissing school mates, strangers, acquaintances, etc.

KatieP. KatieP.

I'm just going to think of it as another example of physocoligist/socialogists and the like just being too PC

momof... momofamonkey83

I kiss my 6 year old son on the lips at times.  No big deal.  HOWEVER - I do see the point that the doc makes when saying they don't know the difference when they are in school.  You hear about little kids getting in trouble at school all the time for this, and it's not fair to them because they don't know the difference.  It's completely innocent, and we all know that, but the school districts don't see it that way and punish them for something that dont understand.  Doesn't mean I wont stop kissing my little man on the lips sometimes, but I WILL make it a point to explain to him when it is appropriate and when it's not.

nonmember avatar SKL

"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.""


The problem here is father-daughter affection?  Seems to me it's assininity in the schools.


Besides which, how many 6-year-old girls go up and kiss their classmates on the lips without a second thought?  2 years old, maybe.

MomIWant MomIWant

hahahaha - what a load of craziness - hahahaha! 

tazdvl tazdvl

I kiss my son on the cheek.....he is 19 and he was the one to start the cheek, can't remember how old he was. I kiss my girls on the lips, cheek and forehead and will continue to kiss on the lips until they want it stopped.

Freela Freela

Hmmmm... seems like the doctor quoted has some hang ups about kissing on the lips. Since I don't, and my kids don't, we will just keep right on smooching on the lips until the kids outgrow it on their own!

nonmember avatar Michelle

I think this is a load of CRAP. I kiss my kids on the lips and there is nothing wrong with it.

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