Is it weird for parents and kids to kiss on the lips? That’s the heated discussion going down on Reddit right now and it’s opening up a larger, important conversation about consent.
The thread kicked off when a father posted his quandary to the platform. He’s a single dad whose 5-year-old daughter has been trying to kiss him on the mouth, and he’s not sure what to do.
“Example: yesterday, we went out to eat for St. Patrick’s Day. We were at our table, and she kept climbing on my lap and trying to kiss me. I kept turning my face to let her kiss my cheek, but, she kept turning my face towards her to try kissing my lips,” he wrote. “Some people think it’s perfectly normal, while others say it’s not. I have such mixed feelings. I personally felt uncomfortable when she did it, but I think it’s because I was afraid of how others in the restaurant would react.”
Parents flooded the conversation with answers, many pointing out that this could be the perfect chance for the Reddit dad to teach his daughter about consent.
“It’s a great opportunity to talk about personal boundaries,” one person wrote. “It doesn’t have to be deep, just a quick explanation that dad prefers cheek kisses not lip kisses.” To which the Reddit dad responded: “Very true. Which I’m sure will help her down the road when she starts dating. Thank you.”
Another user suggested a gentle way to explain personal space to the young child. “I don’t think you necessarily have to tell her it’s bad or makes you uncomfortable. You can just explain to her that when it comes to consent, if somebody doesn’t like something the other is doing, that’s just that,” the person wrote. “No further discussion needed since we’re talking about physical boundaries.”
For the record, there were plenty of Reddit users who said that they kiss their parents on the lips or their kids kiss them on the lips. But the overwhelming opinion was that the dad should move forward with whatever feels right to him.
“Do what makes you comfortable and if you aren’t comfortable with her kissing you, you need to tell her,” a user wrote. “She is five and learning to respect personal boundaries is important. Personally, I don’t have a problem with kissing my kids on the lips, and they are 8,9, and 10. But I would hope if I had a problem with it, they would respect my boundaries.”
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