Should You Kiss Your Kids On The Lips?

It's a controversial topic.

People blog about it, academics hypothesize about it and celebrities often get vilified for it (take the recent examples of Hilary Duff and David Beckham, for instance).

So is it a major faux pas or simply a sign of affection?

It depends on who you ask.

Some commenters slammed the practice as "creepy" and "just wrong", particularly in Becks’ case. Becks took it in his stride and said he had "grown up in an affectionate family".

"I kiss all my kids on the lips," he said. "Brooklyn maybe not. Brooklyn is 18, so he might find that a little strange."

Personally, I think it’s a whole lot of hubaloo.

I have a toddler and routinely kiss her on the lips. I have a whole lot of friends who have kids of the same vintage, who also wouldn’t think twice about a peck on the lips.

It’s an innocent sign of affection.

READ MORE: David Beckham Under Fire After Kissing Daughter

I wonder if those Instagram shamers know anything about the origins of the kiss, a symbol in our modern times of an intimate and romantic love, the connotations associated with the kiss vary far and wide.

Has the kiss on the lips always been a symbol of romance? (Image: Getty)

Depending on the culture and context the kiss could be an indication of affection, a greeting, a more intimate love, or even a formal or symbolic ritual. What we know for certain is: people have not been associating the kiss with sex since the beginning of time or across cultures.

Let’s have a look at the kiss historically.

Believe it or not, romantic kissing in Western culture is a fairly recent development. The 5th century BCE Greek historian Herodotus first mentioned kissing as a greeting between Persians of the same rank. Some historians date the ‘romantic’ iteration of the concept back to the Middle Ages, when kissing became a social gesture, but only within upper classes where it was perceived as a sign of refinement.

The greatest love stories in literature are curiously devoid of the kiss. From Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Bronte’s Wuthering Heights -- never was even a chaste kiss on the lips expressed between protagonists Lizzy and Mr Darcy or Catherine and Heathcliff.

Which leads one to wonder is the kiss a bi-product of the 21st century -- celebrated and glamorised through popular culture? Particularly through movies and music.

READ MORE: Surprise! Men And Women Can't Agree If Kissing Is Considered Cheating

We have prescribed the kiss on the lips with a specific meaning -- and we’re now projecting this understanding onto innocent and loving relationships between parents and children.

We’re applying our blinkered understanding and judging.

One of the comments on Becks’ post was that kissing a child is 'unhygienic'.

What? My toddler once dropped a lollypop on the street in Darlinghurst and then swiftly (I couldn’t get a movement in edge-wise) re-collected it and stuck it back into her mouth.

Said situations are common with kids. Kids are raw, unknowing, happy and authentic.

Their understanding of the world is unfiltered. Pure.

They don’t judge.

A kiss is a symbol only imbued with the meaning we decide upon. (Image: Getty)

So before you go about sledging Becks for a smooch with his toddler, a sign of affection between a father and his daughter, you might want to challenge yourself: why are you casting this arbitrary conclusion?

It says more about you than him.

He’s just a hot football player with a great relationship with his kids. Who are you?