To Kiss or Not to Kiss... Really?

 July 2016.  iPad, phone, Sky box, news channel - yep, all confirm that it is July 2016.  Definitely.

So can someone please explain to me why I see the following headline on the BBC website:

“How controversial is it to kiss your child on the lips?”

Excuse me?

“How controversial is it to kiss your child on the lips?”

I didn’t read it wrong.  In July 2016 the BBC is actually asking this question.  What.  The.  F*ck?

By now you will know that this storm of ‘controversy’ has been caused by a photograph of Victoria Beckham (warning: skip this sentence if you are easily offended) kissing - yes, KISSING - her daughter.   Her OWN daughter.  I know I know, shocking isn’t it?

Shocking that any person could pose this question, and even more shocking still that there are people - yes, real, living people with brains in their heads - that would consider a parent kissing their child on the lips to be unacceptable.

Sorry, did I miss a meeting?  When did this happen?  When did I have to start asking whether it is acceptable for me to give my daughter or son a kiss?  I thought we lived in, you know, the modern civilised world.

Maybe that’s the problem - the modern world.  A world where women and, increasingly, young girls are routinely sexualised.  A world where loving behaviour by a parent towards their child could be viewed suspiciously.  A world so damned paranoid, insecure and fearful that we are constantly forced to ask ourselves, ‘but what would people think?

What would people think if they see me kissing my children on the lips?  I don’t know, and furthermore I couldn’t give a toss.  All I care about is what it means to my children.  And it means that Daddy loves them very much, that Daddy will do everything he can to make sure that they never ever have to question just how special they are.  That they are safe, secure and loved dearly.

Until one day it means something else, like embarrassment in front of their mates, or that they are far too grown up to be kissing their old Dad.  Well, if and when that day comes we can talk.  That’s right, WE can talk, WE can review the situation, my children and I, because it is our business and nobody else’s.

Why is anybody questioning an expression of love that has been openly and warmly expressed throughout human history?  It is a natural instinct to show love to your child.

I understand that just because something is natural and instinctive it doesn’t make it right, that we exist within a wider society with cultural and social norms that are needed to ensure our safety and well-being and to help us to live together harmoniously.  As such it is the duty of a responsible society to question our instincts, how these instincts are expressed in our behaviour and the resulting impact upon wider society.

It is a natural instinct to fight but it isn’t acceptable to assault somebody - we have laws to protect against assault and combat sports to provide a controlled, socially acceptable outlet for this potentially destructive instinct.

It is natural to eat but that doesn’t mean it is socially acceptable to eat a pasty out of a Greggs bag whilst walking around wearing a vest; and (not wishing to put too fine a point on it) it is natural to take a dump but you don’t just drop your keks and do it in the street.

But a loving kiss with your own child, what is there to question?  What possible social cost can there be?  How is anybody served by questioning that?

Has society become so sexualised that grown adults cannot tell the difference between a kiss between parent and child and a kiss between unrelated adults?  Or have we become such a suspicious, paranoid society that we genuinely question parents’ motives in this way?

Actions cannot be considered separate from their context.  A kiss can be sexual but that doesn’t mean every kiss is sexual.  Is there anybody that seriously needs this to be pointed out to them?  What next, do we have to explain to people that a doctor examining a breast for lumps isn’t really trying to cop a feel?

And what are we teaching those that, presumably, the people questioning Victoria Beckham’s kiss are trying to protect: children?  That all adults, even their parents, should be viewed with suspicion?  That they shouldn’t let their parents kiss them in case they... In case they what?  How do you want to explain that to your children?

We all want to be loved.  No, we all need to be loved, and there is a sacred bond between parent and child, a love so important that its presence or absence in formative years can shape that child’s whole life for good or for bad.

To anybody that questions whether a parent should kiss their child on the lips I ask, ‘What kind of world do you want to live in?  How will this world be a better place if showing love for your children is something that can only be expressed behind closed doors and with the approval of others?’

You don’t need to tell me your answers, I don’t care.  I will be putting my children to bed tonight and I will be giving each of them a big kiss and telling them that I love them.

That’s all I care about.

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