Some time ago Victoria Beckham posted a pic of her kissing her daughter Brooklyn on the lips and wishing her happy birthday. It caused a heated discussion in the comments on whether it’s acceptable or not. Doctors say children must feel loved and safe in the family environment. But kissing on the lips is not the best idea to express parental love.
We tried to figure out, why this a way of expressing love is so hotly discussed and what opinion children’s psychologists have.
It can shift the kid’s understanding of personal boundaries.
The lips and the mouth are the personal boundaries of a kid’s body, as psychologist Charlotte Reznick explains. When you kiss a child on the lips, you show them that their body border is open and that someone can intrude into their territory with no problem.
This also includes tight swaddling, force-feeding, and aggressive tickling. Thus, invasive parents can increase the risk of their child developing a “victim syndrome” with the inability to say “no” and manage their own personal boundaries.
Doctors, and especially dentists, warn that there are a huge number of microbes in our mouths that may not infect adults, but can be transmitted to children and harm them greatly. And since the child has a weaker immune system, Charlotte Reznick clarifies, some dangerous infections can enter their body through saliva.
The child may start kissing other people on the lips as an expression of sympathy.
The child may start behaving the same way you taught them at home, but outside the family circle — kissing other children or adults on the lips as a way to express sympathy. The psychologist points out that, even if it was an innocent gesture on the part of the parents, children learn things by mimicry. So they might try to repeat the same gesture with others, without realizing the intimate implication of this gesture. This is why she recommends only kissing the child on the cheeks or on the forehead.