As a father, you wonder about these things. In many cultures, kissing and hugging is openly encouraged and very appropriate. Even men kiss to show their affection for relatives and close friends without anyone batting an eye. So where exactly is the line drawn? Between two adults, there is an understanding that both are grown and capable of making thoughtful and educated decisions. We guard our children much closer.
I’ve been a father for a several years now and have the unique experience of raising both sexes. After several years, you realize you treat each child slightly different with regards to affection. For example, with a son, you play a little tougher, you instill masculinity and a sense of playful adventure. With a daughter, you do things a little differently. Perhaps it’s the realization that soon she’ll be faced with boys and you want to set limits with her early on? Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s (at least for now) YOUR princess and you feel like you are her guardian and protector?
When you sit back and think about it, it’s fascinating to question exactly why you do what you do. Which got me thinking, when a friend who’s expecting a daughter soon, asked me “Do you ever kiss your daughter on the lips?”.
The internal back and forth over the question of whether that’s appropriate surprised me. It seemed so clear cut. After asking for some opinions on the subject, I was pretty shocked to find that opinions over the question were just as conflicted. At the end of this post, I’ll note my own opinion and experience. Factoring in both Mexican and Navajo cultures, there’s some unique influences for my family.
So What Did You Think About Fathers Kissing Daughters On The Lips?
Here are some responses I got on the question. Rather than split them up, I kept them in the order they came in, to show how truly split people were. It was funny because breastfeeding in public was also brought up, which is another semi-controversial question.
IMO it is wrong to kiss your child on the lips. A nice hug and kiss on the cheek/forehead is an appropriate way to show affection.
Lips locks are not.
Yeah after about age 3-4 it becomes inappropriate. Just explain that that type of kiss is for mommy and daddy or something.
it’s a wishy washy subject to some
i know in my family, my dad kissed my sister and I on the lips up until age 10 or something, but not everytime…but it was always a peck.
i wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate as much as it is odd after a certain age. but then again, i see older fathers with their adult daughters giving them pecks on the lips at times.
if it’s not done in a harassment sort of perverted way, then i guess there’s nothing wrong with it
I honestly know a lot of fathers who kiss their daughters AND sons on the lips at even older ages, but I guess it’s more of a cultural thing. It it feels weird to you then you’d be better off just not doing it though.
I’m not that comfortable with it, but it’s strictly a cultural thing.
You know, it’s your kid. It’s what you’re personally comfortable with. Different people thing different things are appropriate. If you don’t think it’s a big deal, I wouldn’t worry about it. I see parents kiss their kids on the lips without batting an eyelash …. and you know, that’s cool. Whatever works for you.
Yeah, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this. My parents kissed me on the lips until I was about 6 or so. My dad stopped at that point because it is a bit strange to kiss your son on the lips past a certain age (but that’s completely relative and only my opinion).
My mom continues to kiss me on the lips and I’m in my 20s. She carried me for 9 months and supported me in every way imaginable for the following 18; if she doesn’t have the right to kiss me on the lips, no one does.
im not personally comfortable with it myself. i find it awkward when others do it in front of me. But i have no right to an opinion. I think cheeks are fine.
it’s totally a cultural thing. i’ve witnessed people kissing their children on their lips, and it actually appears to be pretty normal, though i can also see that it could be taken the wrong way.
I think it’s fine. Why would anyone be bothered by such a simple exchange of affection?
Who cares what other people think? It’s a personal sign of affection. No big deal about that. For a lot of people, it’s no different than hugging your kid.
I don’t have a problem with it, but my daughter is 2-almost 3. I kiss her on the lips all the time but its not like full on lip lock. Its a little peck, I don’t think thats inappropriate no matter the age.
I kiss my daughter on the lips. She’s 4. We’re a very affectionate family though. My grampa kissed me on the lips until he died last year. I’m 25. It’s about what you’re personally comfortable with. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Hell I hug my friends all the time.
I’m in the “fine until around 3-4 crew” on this one. Am I doing anything inapropriate by giving my 3 year old son a small kiss? No. But I think that if he was any older, it would be weird.
i never remember kissing any of my family on the lips. we always did the quick mutual peck on the corner of the mouth/start of the cheek section, followed by a hug thing.
i think its fine, my family doesnt do it, i usually kiss my mom on the cheek, and vice versa, but ive seen dads kiss daughters on the lips… just a quick peck, doesnt even look abnormal… but yeah, i agree its totally a cultural thing… but i dont think its inappropriate… unless they were making out or something lol
well a quick smooch on the lips or cheeck or forehead all means the same to me… when your kissing you child
As long as tongues stay in mouths, kissing on the lips is fine.
no, it’s fine. i cant think of one reason why it woldnt be.
At least in American society, kissing on the lips is practically a sexual act.
In places like France where you kiss a friend on one or two cheeks just to greet them, a kiss on the lips may not signify any sexual feeling. American society has been sexually uptight since its inception, and therefore things like this are not really appropriate in our society. I don’t think it is OK personally, however if another family has different values and there is a clear distinction between a father-daughter peck on the lips and a sexual kiss, then it’s none of my business. It’s still creepy to me either way.
As long as it’s asexual… I don’t understand how this is even a question.
I know some families that do, and some that don’t. Some families walk around naked. Some families associate nudity with sexuality. It depends on the individuals and on the culture.
I can’t recall a single time I’ve seen a teenage girl kiss her father on the lips in public…. Maybe 5 or 6 sure, that’s normal… but in general I think it’s awkard and I never really see it safe to assume it’s not that common, right?
And to further the problem is that people are so worried about what American prudes think that showing affection to a child becomes awkward. Sad.
IF it’s not sexual… THEN it’s not a problem.
Right? Can we all agree on that?
When people say “it’s a cultural thing” then they’re dragging some other country’s culture into the mix. In American culture it’s not sexual. In (some other coutry) it may always be considered sexual. If they move here then they would probably still see it as sexual even though in THIS culture it’s not.
This question is entirely relative, and cross-culturally and ethnically this is dealt with in different fashions. I personally don’t believe this is wrong, what so EVER. I believe you have an issue if you believe this is wrong, because YOU are sexualizing and creating taboos for something which is entirely natural.
After reading the first post I realize that I kiss my son on the lips every once in a while when I putting him to bed. I see nothing wrong with it as long as it isn’t sexual. If I had a daughter I’d treat her the same way.
If you aren’t comfortable with it, then don’t do it…. But I don’t see it as really being much different than giving your daughter a hug or a kiss on the cheek. Hell, even giving a hug would be wrong if you sexualized it….. So yeah, I’m sticking with it isn’t inappropriate unless you make it inappropriate.
I can’t even count the number of times I kiss my daughter on the lips per day. When I get home from work, when I put her to sleep, and many times in between. It’s not sexual at all and she’s just so cute I can’t imagine not doing it! I guess it all depends on your upbringing. There’s nothing weird about it to me but if she gets to an age where she doesn’t want to any more I obviously wouldn’t force it. Kinda like the breastfeeding thing. A frightening amount of people in America think there’s something wrong with a woman discreetly breastfeeding anywhere but her own home.
My wife and her friend were talking about breastfeeding and her friend said “It’s just so ……….. unnatural.”
Hey, breastfeed or don’t, it’s up to you. But saying it’s “unnatural” because of your own sexual hangups is pretty fucking retarded.
Not that kissing your child on the lips and breastfeeding in public are related. The way they make people feel is related in that people think it’s inappropriate. If a woman does it near you in a restaurant don’t look. I’ve never seen a woman do it where the boob was just slammed out on to the table in plain view. The vast majority of the time it’s hard to tell it’s even happening.
Notice I said vast majority.
This is nuts. This shouldnt even be a problem or an issue.
It depends what context its taken in.
For christ sakes its your own child. Kissing on the lips is fine.
It should only be a problem if you are a sick pedo or pervert.
But you guys are not and you are parents so it should never ever be a problem. Family Affection is the most wonderfulest thing. Why should your daughter or son grow up feeling like they cannot kiss you or hug your or be naked in front of you. Its your own flesh and blood.
i never kissed my parents… just a hug =\
My sister-in-law mentioned that she’d not only never kissed her parents, she’d never even seen them kiss each other.
Looking back, that should have been a warning sign……..she’s my ex-sister-in-law now
I’m 21 in a few days, kiss my grandma on the lips all the time
mom sometimes…. my parents kissed my sister all the time and shes fine… (17yo)
I don’t ever really remember kissing my dad on the lips at all as a child. As for my mom I did till I was about 5. But like everyone has been saying its a cultural issue and based on the comfortableness of the individuals.
The other day I saw one of my friends, who is 18, kiss her mom and dad on the lips. Honestly, it was awkward for me to watch, but that is how her family is and there is nothing wrong with it.
If you are comfortable with the kissing on the lips then its fine. If you aren’t comfortable with it then don’t do it. Try to find a way to explain it to her in a way she will understand.
I usually give my daughter and son kisses on the cheek. I try to stay away from lip kisses with either one of them, it makes me uncomfortable.
Wow, this is an interesting topic I’ve never thought of. I’ve got two kids, a boy (4) and a girl (1), and I kiss them on the lips from time to time – its not something you think about, you just give your kids a kiss. I suppose if one of them ever said anything about it being weird I would stop, but there’s absolutely nothing *sexual* about it so I don’t think they will.
Bottom line, respect the feelings of others.
i am not a parent and I feel that kissing my own daughter (have I had one) on the lips is wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with kissing your kid on this lips. Really, what’s the big deal? As long as its simply affectionate and not sexual it really shouldn’t be a big deal at all.
I’ve never noticed parents kissing their kids on the lips before, but after reading this, I see it a lot. (Since I am subconsciously thinking about it, I am noticing it more now). Nothing wrong with it at all.
Hell, I saw a 60 year old woman kiss her mom on the lips today. Who cares?
Like people have already said – it’s a cultural thing, but it doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable for me to see. When I was working retail a few years ago I saw a man kiss his son on the lips, his son was about 12 years old and it freaked me out. My mum hasn’t kissed me since I was about 10, and my dad since I was about 5, and neither of them ever went anywhere near my lips, so seeing someone do that seems damn weird.
Parental Kissing and Displays of Affection… It’s All About Culture
My children have two parents who are children of different races themselves. I’m half Mexican, their mom is half Navajo (both of us have a “white” father). On the Mexican side, kissing and hugging was normal. In a traditional get together for the holidays or otherwise, there would be almost a dozen kisses and hugs before you were even there for 15 minutes. We were a very affectionate family. On the other side, the Navajo side of the family I would come to learn was quite different. Very reserved, I never saw affection shown, especially in public.
Curious, I had looked into this and I found that in Native American cultures, affection and emotions as well, are usually held in reserve. However, being outside of both cultures save for seasonal get togethers, we still have always been very affectionate with our kids.
My Thoughts On The Kissing Question
I’m actually split on the subject. As babies, I really never gave it much thought, but as the children grew, I regarded the “lip kiss” to be more of something special shared between people in a relationship. I have caught myself giving a peck on the lips as my daughter runs to the school bus or elsewhere, but rarely. I imagine that as stated above, this was more of a way to set the tone of public displays of affection for my daughter as she grew older. I wanted her to be more guarded with regards to affection when it came boyfriend time, I suppose. Regardless though, I now find this habit bouncing around in my mind quite often. I’m a man that believes that hiding sex and affection (or guns, or drugs, for that matter) leads to children only wanting to experiment with it more when they find out about it on their own. So to realize why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing this long, did suprise me a bit.
What do you think? What are your experiences with your family? With your children?