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I Kiss My Kid on the Lips—So What?

As I turned to walk away from my son, I heard him say, "Give me a kiss, Mommy." I turned back around to see his lips pressed out, his chin up and eyes closed as he awaited the feel of my lips upon his. I bent down and placed my lips against his, releasing a loud mush sound. "Those are the best kisses ever," I said. Walking away, I smiled big and wide.

I was surprised to learn that many people feel kissing our children on the lips is inappropriate; they tend to believe that lip kissing should be reserved for our romantic partners. Curious to understand better, I picked up my phone and began calling my closest friends to find out if they dared to press their lips against the lips of their children, and why or why not.

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My best friend of 30 years—who now has two grown sons and a toddler grandson—said she kissed her boys on the lips until they were young teens. "I stopped," she said, "when my sons' friends started making comments about how hot their mom was." (She was a young mother.) "I realized my boys were no longer little."

Surprisingly, not one mom I spoke with, even those who don't kiss on the lips, suggested that it was sexually inappropriate. Moms just seem to either prefer it or they don't, and most of the ones I polled preferred it.

A lifetime of lip kissing, particularly in the midst of a stormy encounter, has kept me close to (my late mom).

My son's father also kisses our son on the lips (or he did last I checked), and I've seen other dads kiss their sons too. But a father kissing his daughter on the lips was frowned upon by many of the dads I interviewed. They apparently felt that it might have sexual implications, and they didn't want any problems in that arena.

The truth is, physical affection is scientifically proven to have a large impact on the emotional health and well-being of babies and children. Feeling connected and loved by their parents creates a sense of safety and belonging within children. This doesn't have to mean lip kissing; there are tons of ways to show affection that meet the need for comfort and that create life-lasting bonds.

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I lost my mother nearly 17 years ago to a heart attack. My last memory of her entails a visit to my house. She was in a huff because of something that had been charged on her Macy's card. She fussed at me wildly. But when she got up to leave, we hugged and kissed on the lips—like we always did. I did not know that would be the last time I would see her alive. But a lifetime of lip kissing, particularly in the midst of a stormy encounter, has kept me close to her.

Image via Twenty20/winserli

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