Parenting Dilemma - When to Stop Kissing Your Child on the Lips

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao
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The parenting dilemma on when parents should stop kissing their children on lips has reared up its head again. Quarterback Tom Brady made quite a few people uncomfortable, when a video of him kissing his 11-year-old son on the lips surfaced. The clip which is a part of the Facebook docu-series called “Tom vs. Time,” shows Tom kissing his son on lips twice. The second kiss lasts near to five seconds.


This parenting dilemma is very new for us Indian parents

Many celebrities like Hilary Duff and David Beckham, have previously faced ire from people for kissing their children on lips.

While many people believe that this is a normal part of the parent-child relationship, others point out that parents might end up confusing children undergoing development of sexual awareness.

In India, this debate has an entirely different aspect. Most of us might be the first generation of parents ever to kiss their children on lips. Coming from a culture with reserved notions on display of affection, a hug or a kiss on the cheek is what the most children still get. Most of us also refrain from publicly kissing our spouses or partners. So, the sexualisation of a simple act such as pecking your kid by the viewers, itself sounds horrific.

When do you stop with the kissing on the lips?

Frankly, I am much in awe of Brady’s preteen boy, who comes in to give his daddy a kiss on lips, without any reservation. Pre-teens run away at the mere mention of hugs. Parents are usually to keep a distance of at least fifty metres, both in public and private when they address these creatures, who are neither children nor adults, out of love. Children think they have grown up, while to the parent’s sentiment, their child is still that cuddly little being who would floor you with its cuteness. How can a parent resist showering affection on one’s own child?


In my opinion, this point comes when your child asks you to stop. Usually, when a child starts associating kiss and hugs with romance, that is when they start discouraging their parents. For some children, this point comes in as early as three or four years, or as late as teenage.

As long as the terms of showing affection are clear between you and your child, it is okay. There is always going to be someone who will find it inappropriate.

I am not proud to say that the duration of the parent-child kiss in case of Brady did make me a little uncomfortable. But here I am a mere viewer. And this inhibition is my problem.

The rapid growth years blind side many parents, who fail to realise when their child grew up. Hence, it is difficult for parents to know, when to go easy on tight hugs and pecks on the lips. But don’t look at others for an opinion, it is better to trust your own instincts and the opinion of your child.

Picture Credit: mediaresources.idiva

Also Read : 6 Parenting Mistakes That Should Be Avoided

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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