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Kissing children on the mouth is totally normal for many parents. An act of love and tenderness with which they express their affection in a natural and spontaneous way. For others, however, it is totally unthinkable, inappropriate, and even intolerable. Therefore, in Guiainfantil.com we are going to explore the different positions about kissing the little ones in the house.
Beyond the cultural differences that may exist between families and the controversy that may arise from one way or another of seeing things we are going to treat this question from the point of view of child psychology, where we also find different positions. Some totally against such as Charlotte Reznick and others like the one defended by the psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack who seems to see no problem in the act of kissing children on the lips.
But then, is it okay or wrong to kiss our children on the mouth? To answer this question we are going to go by parts. The first is that there is no scientific study that supports from psychology that kissing children on the lips can cause any trauma or other problems in the emotional development of children. So that seems more of a personal matter, a decision that each father and mother must make based on their own criteria, but let's see what psychology does say and endorse.
If there is an affective manifestation par excellence between parents and children, that is the kiss. Along with hugs and caresses, kisses are behaviors that we instinctively perform from the moment we first hold our babies. Is about a type of non-verbal language with which we communicate and we transmit emotions: love, security, tranquility, protection ...
We instinctively kiss on the cheeks, forehead, nose, hands, feet and also on the lips, an area that is particularly sensitive to the touch, which produces a more intense and, why not say, more pleasant sensation.
But these manifestations of affection, which are not exclusive to the human being - we observe them in other primates - are transformed as our children grow. We do not kiss or hug as much or in the same way a baby of a few months as a preteen of 10 years. The manifestations of affection change according to age because affective needs do too. At first babies need to feel constant contact with their mother and regular caregiver as well as being fed or groomed.
Affective needs are one of the basic needs of childhood, just as important as those for food, hygiene and rest.
Kisses, like caresses and hugs, lullabies or tickling the feet are necessary to strengthen the emotional bonds between parents and children. But not only that, also generate many other benefits both for the one who gives them and for the one who receives them, in this case our children.
Kisses cause our body to react by secreting endorphins, chemicals produced by the brain, which provide us with a feeling of well-being and happiness. In case of having low levels of these substances, we can observe symptoms of depression and anxiety because they are in charge of stimulating the areas of the brain that generate pleasure in our body. In addition, endorphins reduce cortisol levels and therefore stress, blood pressure, physical and emotional pain. Have you noticed that after your children's falls, if you kiss and hug them, it seems that the pain they feel is less intense? That is what I produce from endorphins.
The risks of kissing children on the mouth have to do with the risk of transmitting diseases. Certainly, in the mouth we have hundreds of bacteria and the risk that we run when kissing anyone on the lips is precisely the contagion of some disease, one of the most common and infectious is precisely tooth decay. It is for this reason that pediatric dentists recommend not kissing the little ones on the mouth, and this same argument is used by pediatricians to warn us of possible contagion of colds, colds, flu and others.
Beyond these medical evidence, all the other potential risks that we can hear about kissing children on the mouth are not scientifically endorsed, therefore they are only hypotheses, customs, and personal opinions of professionals or lay people.
In my opinion I recommend that you kiss your sons and daughters a lot, that you hug them as much as you want and can, that you make them feel loved, protected and important. That you do what is ethically and morally comfortable for you, that you do not feel coerced by anything or anyone in your role as mother or father if there is no scientific evidence that shows that what you do is wrong. And in this case it seems that lightly kissing on children's lips does not cause any trauma or imbalance in the emotional or social development of the little ones.
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