Butterfly Kisses: Do You Consider It Inappropriate For A Father To Kiss His Daughter On The Lips?

November 24th, 2007 | by MG | (Visited 65,287 times)

Kissing - When is it inappropriate?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?

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Comment by Maddy
Nov 24, 2007 1:55 PM

You know, as long as it’s not incestial, I don’t care. My parents kiss me on the cheek so I’m not used to the lip thing. Heck, sometimes I just go up, give them a hug, and give a peck on the cheek and say ‘goodnight’ or ‘I love you’. Nothing’s wrong with it. They’re family.

Comment by Ginnie
Nov 25, 2007 12:46 AM

I remember being kissed on the lips although I think I just naturally moved away from it during my teenage years when it became “gross” – since then I’ve always been a cheek person myself. I think as one person said above, there’s a time when it’s fine, but eventually people outgrow that..

Always interesting to hear both sides of it though. I wouldn’t say I stop and look for it, although I do notice it a lot more after these discussions. Funny how that works..

Comment by violacolor
Nov 28, 2007 4:21 AM

i m not use to do this. i dont wish it even if ‘innocent’.
its question of cultural way.

Comment by Pam
Nov 28, 2007 5:34 AM

Although it’s acceptable in some cultures, I wouldn’t exactly weep from the loss of that particular meme from any society. Personally I get enough germs from my preschoolers from them sticking their fingers directly in my mouth, nose, eyes, etc. I don’t need to be smooching them on the mouth, too.

Comment by paul
Dec 05, 2007 9:41 PM

Another factor to consider is hygiene. The virus that causes cold sores is transmitted by kissing, particularly with babies and small children. If you get cold sores, don’t kiss your babies on the lips, and you may avoid giving them that virus. I got it from my mom, and have succeeded in not transmitting it to my kids.

Comment by lolercoaster
Dec 10, 2007 1:11 AM

when i was little i kissed like everyone in the family on the lips even my dad. to this day i kiss my grandma and elderly ladies in my family mostly on the lips, and my mom sometimes to. this is kinda of a southern european thing a think, we are spanish.

Comment by Shane
Feb 17, 2008 11:20 PM

I think it is inappropriate for Fathers and daughters (certainly after age 4) to kiss on the lips.Of course it’s not sexual, but it’s just plain “creepy”. I mean,what Woman wants to kiss her Father on his (possibly shriveled up)lips? My significant other has 3 grown daughters and they kiss him on the lips and vice versa. I adore his girls, but it makes me uncomfortable, especially in the sense of spreading germs (not to be gross, but in reality: cold sores,viruses,various body fluids,anything contagious,etc.) of sort.These are grown women with husbands and active sex lives, so you know there is an exchange of “body fluids” orally at times…ugh! He knows it freaks me out, but says he’s always been a lip kisser. There’s not a thing I would change about him except THAT! I’m trying to encourage him to turn his head in a subtle way so the kisses land on his cheek.It’s just “nasty” to watch! FYI:My parents were very affectionate with hugs and kisses (on the cheeks) growing up, so my attitude about this is from a socially acceptable standpoint too, but mainly the HEALTH factors involved. Kiss on the cheek…it’s healthier!

Comment by Marie
Feb 24, 2008 7:13 AM

I come from a huge Italian family and all we ever do is hug and kiss one another. Everyone, all ages all the time. Yet; I can honestly say that there is no kissing each other on the lips. I don’t think it’s a black/white issue, more like a “Gray” area. If, in a culture, everyone gives lip kisses all the time to every member of the family, that’s just how it is. However; in my mind if you only kiss your kids on the lips, especially if you only kiss your opposite sex kids on the lips…my personal thought is it’s odd, if not odd…a bit creepy.

Comment by Greg
Feb 28, 2008 6:35 AM

Theres no issue with it. Its completely normal, people who think it isnt are just insecure and over the top drama queens / kings.

Comment by rose
Mar 23, 2008 9:31 PM

it is not right when the father a cold sore i think that just wrong it get them sick and the rested of the family sick

Comment by DC
May 06, 2008 1:26 PM

It personally bothers me to see a 42 yr old woman kiss her stepdad on the lips. Especially because, though it’s been reconciled, he sexually abused her as a little girl.

Comment by mom of 5
Jul 11, 2008 8:09 AM

This world has become so obsessed with the evils in the world, simple affection is viewed negativly. My two older children ages 15(girl) & 17(boy) have always been best friends since they were tiny. Even as teens they are very close. I got a call from the school because a teacher found it peculiar that my kids hug each other at school, or high five each other as they walk past each other. Just because they don’t fight and call each other names 100% of the time as some siblings do, they tried to find something bad in that! I was SO livid and went off on the principle. By the end of the conversation, she agreed with me, that the teacher was out of line. My kids DO fight, don’t get me wrong, but they get along more than fight. We have always been an affectionate family, and sadly enough, that is frowned upon. My oldest boy (17) still kisses me goodbye, when his friends razz him about it, he puffs out his chest and says “dude, thats my mom….you gotta problem with that?” Makes me smile everytime!

Comment by Ginnie
Jul 11, 2008 9:33 AM

Thanks for your comment and I wholeheartedly agree :)

My kids are also both very close and while they’re over 10 years younger than yours, I hope they grow up the same way. I think kids learn a lot by learning to be proud of the bonds they have with their parents. My mom kissed me and my dad hugged me in my teen years and while excessive baby-like displays were of course embarassing, I never minded my friends seeing how close I was with my parents.

Down the road when trouble came with drugs or other pressures, that trust became tangible because my friends could appreciate how important the trust I had with my parents was.

Comment by Maria
Nov 22, 2008 12:51 PM


I am married to a man who has a 5 year old son that we have 55% of the time. He constantly kisses him, he shows extreme affection like massaging his feet and head and he says it’s cultural. I just feel very uncomfortable seeing him do this!! Do you think this is appropiate he’s Italian and very affectionate toward his son? Even when he’s not here just a few days out of the week he looks at pics of him. My first husband was also Italian and he never was extremely affectionate with either our children (boy and girl). Please help me to understand this type of behavior. My husband says it’s cultural. However, I feel he need to draw the line. I know he loves his son immensly but he needs to draw the line in my opinion. Please enlighten me. Also he loves cuddling with him. Please help me to understand this type of behavior.

My first husband was also Italian and he never was like this with our son nor our daughter.

Comment by Daniel
Jan 08, 2009 1:34 AM

Meh, I’m not there to see it, and I’m not some relationship..expert or sometin’. He probably just loves his son that much. It’s never good to drift away from your loving parents, no?

Comment by Ari
Oct 13, 2009 11:26 AM

there’s nothing wrong with it at all. if you say you only have him for 55 % of the time , your husband is most likely trying to make as much of the time he has with him count , such as showing him as much as possible how much he loves him and just generally showing affection. If however you generally don’t like him doing it just mention it to him and explain that it make’s you feel uncomfortable. and could he tone it down a bit ^^

Comment by Mark
Feb 21, 2009 6:39 PM

I kiss my six year old twins (boys) on the lips, whereas my wife doesn’t. She doesn’t mind at all that I do, she just doesn’t feel comfortable with it. They both know that if they want to kiss mom, it has to be on the cheek, but for dad it can be on the lips. One of them simply pecks my mouth, but the other prefers to linger a bit and he kisses me for around 4 seconds. I don’t see anything wrong with this though, he will eventually grow out of it.

Comment by PJ
Mar 31, 2009 12:35 AM

I think it’s a perfectly normal, healthy way of showing affection. People try to attach sex to too many things these days. Massages are also normal – they’re not automatically sexual, they’re just a way of relaxing someone. Obviously if it was a full body massage, that would be VERY different, but other massages are fine.

Comment by frank
Jul 07, 2009 1:51 PM

I never thought about it until now. I kiss my 18 and 19 year old daughters on the lips, the cheek the top of the head or the hand. As long as they are cool with showing this “non-sexual” affection I will continue.
SO as I said I had never thought about thi sbefore and never will again :)

Comment by Kelvin
Jul 18, 2009 11:12 AM

I’m 25 now with 2 kids of my own. I have a 3yr old son and a 1yr old daughter. I always kiss my son on the cheek or forehead. As for my daughter I do the same, but on occasion I give her a quick peck on the lips. She loves it and giggles away.
When I was growing up I always kissed my mom on the cheek, but my dad I always hugged. I guess it’s just what you prefer. I really don’t have a problem with it. My wifes 2 daughters are 7 and 9. They always give me a kiss on the cheek or try to give me a peck on the lips.

Comment by Leah
Nov 04, 2009 3:34 PM

My new husband kisses his 15-year-old daughter on the lips. She used to sleep with him occasionally (like normally, not perverted). I was disgusted before he explained that when he grew up his family did that so it is normal to him and that his daughter has insecurity issues and finds comfort in her father.
I also discovered that his sister (he has just one and 6 brothers) kisses all of her brothers on the lips when she sees them. I confronted him and he replied that this is cultural to his family and he’s sorry if he made me jealous. So just talk about and find out why it happens.

Comment by Elizabeth
Nov 06, 2009 4:59 PM

Leah, no offense but I think your being too harsh on him. When I was young my father used to kiss me too. It’s not like he was attracted to me or anything, it was just his way of telling me he loved me. My mother did the same thing and I used to sleep with them at night also. There is nothing wrong with it at all, and in my opinion you should appologize to him.

Comment by rose
Jun 01, 2010 10:54 AM

I am married to a wonderful man who has a daughter from a previous relationship she just turned 5 and he kisses her on the lips daily. It disgusts me to no end, I think it is inappropiate and he should stop. Maybe I am being a little harsh and do not wish to have a bond with this child but I am giving an ultimadam: Only my kisses or no kisses.

Comment by Similar to Rose
Dec 11, 2010 8:01 AM

Rose, my situation is similar to yours. However, I don’t do ultimadums and I am much more confused as what to do. I am not yet married to a wonderful man who has a daughter from a previous marriage. The daughter is 8 years old and they have been kissing on the lips since she was an infant. I know it is largely due to their culture and at first it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t until he would ask me to give him a kiss right after asking her the same way that it made me feel strange. I think if I was the wife and we had raised her together, I wouldn’t feel awkward. But now I do…advice??

Comment by Mimi
Feb 12, 2011 9:35 PM

Wow. This is crazy. My family has always been very affectionate. I’m a teenager now and I still get kisses from both of my parents. It’s not meant as anything creepy or sexual at all! They’re my family. It’s a way of showing that we all love eachother. I can’t immagine not kissing my dad. I didn’t realize people didn’t do that.

Comment by PJ
Jan 21, 2012 10:10 PM

Judging from these comments and the fact the website seems to be American, I think it’s safe to say: Americans are bloody idiots. It’s NORMAL to kiss your daughter on the lips, whatever age she is. Yet you lots freak out about this whilst happily spanking your child’s BUTT several times a day. Freaks

Comment by Breanna
Aug 15, 2012 10:26 PM

To the comment above me, did you not just read all the people saying it’s cultural? Also, you were obviously raised to believe this is normal, and others were raised differently. THAT is normal.
As for me, I grew up believing that kissing people on the lips was reserved for couples. I never saw parents showing that type of affection to their kids in movies or in public, and my parents didn’t do it, either. Therefore, I see kissing someone’s lips as a purely romantic or sexual act. I suppose I am now a “bloody idiot” in your eyes, PJ.

Nov 02, 2012 9:48 AM

Have none of u ever read about Japan? There they not only do sexy kissing with their parents but the parents engage them in sexual intercourse from toddler age on. same way in New Guena and Puetro Rica. excuse the bad spelling. and many other Asian countries. It is perfectly ok to give your children long kisses on the lips.

Comment by Kojo
Aug 12, 2014 6:43 AM

This very well can be a cultural issue but as long as its not sexually motivated I see no problem with it. I kiss my 8yo daughter all the time on the lips, simple peck goodbye, have a nice day, see you later, love you kind of pecks. Whats wrong with that?


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