Opinion Brief

Is kissing your kid on the lips creepy?

A stepmom stirs up debate when she complains about her husband's habit of giving his little girl a lip-to-lip kiss

Is it wrong for parents to kiss their kids on the lips? This uncomfortable debate, now preoccupying parent blogs, was triggered by an exchange on the syndicated advice column Dear Margo (penned by Ann Landers' daughter, Margo Howard). An advice-seeker who identified herself only as "Want My Husband's Lips for Myself" complained that her spouse kissed his 5-year-old daughter (from a previous marriage) on the lips, something she considers a "sexual gesture and very inappropriate," but which her husband insists is harmless and natural. Is lip-to-lip parental affection creepy?

The wife is the creepy one: We'll have to side with the father in question here, say the editors of the blog Mother Talkers at Opposing Views. There is nothing "odd in the slightest" or "sexual" about a mom or dad kissing their children on the lips. It's a perfectly natural way for "affectionate families" to express themselves.
"Kissing your kids on the lips — OK or creepy?"

It can be sweet up to a point: Kissing a tiny tot on the lips is one thing, says Monique Batson at the Beaumont Enterprise. "I kiss my younger children on the lips" all the time — but not my 10-year-old. "Once he hit a certain age," I started finding it "unsettling," so I started giving him a peck on the cheek or forehead. At the same time, I'll always regret the day I started rejecting my grandmother's lip kisses. "I thought I was too old or too cool," but it hurt her feelings.
"Should parents kiss their kids on the lips?"

As long as the child is comfortable, it is fine: It's worth noting that the advice-seeker is not the girl's biological parent, says Sandy Maple at Strollerderby. Perhaps she feels threatened by her new husband's love for his daughter. She should just be patient — "somewhere around the age of 5, my own girl began turning her cheek when I leaned in for a smack." It's important to respect your children's wishes if and when they do the same.
"Should dads kiss their daughters on the lips?"

Recommended

6 luxurious homes with great bedrooms
House
Feature

6 luxurious homes with great bedrooms

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more
A front door.
Feature

The Check-In: New rules for visiting the UK, securing your house while on vacation, and more

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest
Supplements.
Feature

The Week contest: Anti-aging quest

Did Dry January accomplish anything?
Drinking glasses.
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

Did Dry January accomplish anything?

Most Popular

The next pandemic?
A hen.
Briefing

The next pandemic?

The U.S. economy is shifting toward disinflation. Here's why that's welcome.
Discount pricing
Not getting worse

The U.S. economy is shifting toward disinflation. Here's why that's welcome.

Ohio town at risk of deadly chemical explosion following train derailment
A train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Choo-Choo Trouble

Ohio town at risk of deadly chemical explosion following train derailment