Sealed with a controversy: Public debates whether parents should kiss their children on the lipsFARGO — In the past few months, the media and blogosphere have been abuzz with stories of parent-child affection.
By: LaurelLee Loftsgard , The Dickinson Press
FARGO — In the past few months, the media and blogosphere have been abuzz with stories of parent-child affection.
From celebrities mouth-feeding their babies or a Time magazine cover featuring a photo of a mother breast-feeding a 3-year-old, it’s been quite a year in the world of the public’s opinion on parenting.
But one less extreme display of affection has been around for many years, and is still questionable in some families: Should parents kiss their children on the lips?
Ashley Johnson, a mother of twin boys who turn 3 next month, thinks kissing her children on the lips is the natural thing to do.
“I don’t think it’s any different from breast-feeding them,” she says. “You love your children and kissing them is a natural way to show them that love because a kiss is something shared between those closest to you.”
Parents kissing their children on the lips is a touchy subject that brings up a wide variety of opinions.
Popular parenting blogs, such as LilSugar.com and “The Stir” on CafeMom.com, have featured photos of celebrities puckering up with their little ones. Readers fired back with a wide variety of comments. Some seem nonplussed, while others advocate for the loving practice. Another group appears shocked and offended by the display.
Shannon Terry, a sociology instructor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead shares why parents and children kissing has become such a social stigma.
“I think it’s because it’s seen as a prelude to sexual behavior in a way,” Terry says. “And just from movies and the media, I think has really tied it to sex instead of just affection.”
Celebrities who have been photographed puckering up with their kids include Heidi Klum, Harry Connick Jr. and Gwen Stefani. But with each photo of these stars giving their child a kiss on the lips, there’s a controversial story attached on whether or not it’s right for them to do so.
Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child and educational psychologist at UCLA, told “The Stir” blog that she sees the downside of kissing your kids on the lips all too frequently.
“The answer is in your question,” Reznick told the blog when asked for the perfect age. “If you start kissing your kids on the lips, when do you stop? It gets very confusing.”