Kisses on the mouths of children as a gesture of affection, experts believe

In recent times, social networks have been “turned on” over the theme kisses in the mouth between parents and children and more and more we continue to talk about it. Many parents make this gesture to their children without asking themselves many questions, as well as more and more pictures and videos that immortalize these moments. Moreover, some today define it as a kind of “fashion” to show off on social networks, in fact, there are many famous faces from the entertainment world (actors, singers, etc.) who seem to strongly support this custom.

But is it okay to kiss babies on the mouth as a manifestation of affection? Experts claim that up to 3 years of a child’s life, this is an action that can be considered acceptable, but that after this age it is risky because it creates confusion in the child.

In most cases, it is an innocent and natural gesture that has nothing “perverted” about it. However, the debate remains open with many conflicting opinions, and many experts express their doubts about this habit.

As well as show your affection for the child by openly saying “I love you” when in reality you should say “I love you”. These are very spontaneous and innocent gestures and words for a parent, but behind these actions lies a certain degree of significance that must be taken into account for the well-being of the child.

According to developing psychotherapists, adults are responsible for offering contact and tenderness to their children, but without ever resorting to gestures that can be a source of tension or intense sensations. Also because parents’ contact with their children is the first education they receivethe importance of respecting the boundaries of the body. In other words, the intimacy a parent has with their child should be emotional, not loving. And of course, this also applies to the other adult characters that are present in the child’s life (grandparents, uncles, etc.).

The topic is much debated today, and since many are the ones thinking about the possible consequences of these devoted gestures, the experts explain some reasons why and when it is good to avoid them for the child.

(Pexels Elina Fairytale)

Expert opinion

Many mothers and fathers are used to kissing their babies on the mouth from birth, while others prefer a more tender kiss on the cheek. For each of these, there is no need to point the finger, but to analyze and try to understand what are the possible risks “hidden” behind some, seemingly, harmless devoted gesture.

According to many experts, the kiss on the mouth of the children should be an action to avoid after 3 years of age, as it may have an impact on the child’s development. Many psychotherapists and educators have mentioned some reasons to explain why kisses on the mouth should be avoided:

1) The newborn’s detachment from the mother

From 12 to 14 months children struggle with the transition from being a newborn to an infant, and this means that after the first year of life, a gradual separation begins for the child, which promotes the development of the awareness that there is a difference between him and the mother. It is an important and very delicate moment where there is weaning from the breast to the transition to solid food and the baby crawls out into the world. Here, many psychologists explain that kissing in the mouth of the child, especially on the part of the mother, may not allow him this type of passage, which is already problematic in itself (from a psychological point of view we are talking about a libidinal shift, which must go from the mother’s body to all that the world is outside). The mother should pamper the child’s need to break away from her without holding him back.

2) The mouth as an erogenous zone

It is important to understand that the mouth is an erogenous zone and therefore kissing in this area creates confusion in the child and can be a harmful gesture.

3) The clarity of the roles and the Oedipus complex

Around the age of 3-4, the child is walking through the famous “Oedipus complex”, where the parent of the same sex is seen as a rival. During this period, many male children actually tell their father that their mother is their boyfriend, or vice versa, the girls say that about their father. And kisses in the mouth can only nourish this climate of ambiguity, even if it is in an unconscious and unconscious way. The child needs clarity about parenting roles.

4) The importance of modesty and before adolescence

The phase of the Oedipus complex ends around the beginning of primary school, a time when the child discovers privacy and the importance of modesty. Later, towards the end of primary school, the child will start bathing himself, and if the kiss in the mouth continues with the parents, he may complain about it. It would therefore be advisable for parents to maintain this sense of the modesty of the child, a fundamental aspect to be respected.

5) The parents

Often, the request for a kiss on the mouth begins with parents, in most cases from mothers, and experts explain that over time it is tiring to give up this practice, which has now become a habit. The parent must learn to give up the act of kissing the mouth of his child and let him grow, understand that at a certain age he will have to relate to his peers and also go through the stages of falling in love.

In summary, the parents’ kiss on the mouth up to the age of 3-4 can be considered a devoted gesture, but beyond that age the child enters the phase of oedipal development, where, from a psychological point of view, relationships go from a purely emotional dimension to one erotic sphere. This creates confusion and any climate of embarrassment.

Without taking into account that a child accustomed to kissing on the mouth perceives this gesture as a completely natural thing and could repeat it with his friends and schoolmates. Moreover, there is alsohealth aspect: with a kiss in the mouth, bacteria and germs can be transmitted. It is therefore very easy in these cases to transmit the flu, colds and viruses, such as cold sores, to the child. Finally, there have been more severe cases where mononucleosis (also known as kissing disease) through a kiss was transmitted through saliva.

The child must feel well-liked and loved by his parents, but he must also be able to build his own identity as a unique individual.

kiss children
(Pexels Vlada Karpovich)

The different meanings of the kiss

According to experts, the kiss on the mouth in our culture is similar to something that goes beyond the pure affective gesture, but this eroticizes the act of love.

For this reason, it is therefore helpful to clarify the issue so that confused family reunification can be avoided and thus bring back well-defined roles to ensure a healthy psychological development of the child.

Experts explain that physical contact and expression of affection for the child is fine, but there are plenty of ways to show it, even with kisses. It is therefore important to understand the importance of the kisses given to them because there are many alternatives and each kiss has its own meaning:

  • Kiss on the cheek: communicate to the child the affection we want;
  • Kiss on the forehead: makes him understand that we are his guide;
  • Kiss on the hands: makes him understand that he is precious to us;
  • Kiss on the nose: it is a nice and witty gesture;
  • Kiss on the head or on the neck: gives him a sense of protection.

Several psychotherapists therefore explain how important it is to interrupt the kiss in the mouth of children as soon as possible in order to avoid consequences for the psychological sphere and explain to them spontaneously and clearly what the roles are. After becoming a habit, a child could understand but keep trying to give the parents a kiss on the mouth, here it becomes the latter who will have to deviate and correct the action naturally.

Some psychotherapists suggest explaining to children that kissing on the lips is a specific message of love that should be reserved for a chosen partner, a type of kiss that has to do with a couple’s romantic relationship.


In our culture, kisses on the mouth indicate an exchange of intimate effusions and are rightly used in pairs.

Nowadays, however, the topic of mouth-kissing between parent-child is much debated, which for many is merely an expression of affection, while for others it is seen as an act of hidden problems.

Up to the age of 3-4 years of the child kissing on the mouth with the parents is considered a natural and genuine affectionate gesture, but beyond that age this should be avoided as the child enters a growth phase where affective sphere becomes erotic and can cause him a strong confusion. This is the phase of the Oedipus complex where the child feels in competition with the parent of the same sex.

Experts explain that it is important to give love to one’s children, but that there must also be a real distance that allows children to build their own individual space and approach the world and its peers.

Most experts therefore claim that kissing on the mouth, as well as saying “I love you” instead of “I love you” to your child, can be detrimental to the child’s growth and development. Furthermore, considering that it also gives rise to concern from a health point of view, as one can transmit bacteria, germs and viruses through a kiss of this kind.

Kissing your children on the mouth is not a crime, but when they reach a certain age, it is good that this gesture is eliminated.

Valeria Glaray

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