Young children kissing each other - what's appropriate?

(36 Posts)
WellitsAllGoneNow Fri 02-May-14 19:57:51

Do you think it's ok for a 5 yo boy and girl to kiss each other? And to talk about who they are in love with and who they are going to marry?

I see this as fairly innocent (although I don't much like it when adults join in or encourage the talk with "But I thought you were going to marry so and so" kind of comments).

But my DH doesn't like it at all and thinks they shouldn't be kissing. He was brought up in an environment where children were emulating adult sexual behaviours (with each other) from a very early age and he didn't realise how inappropriate this was until he was grown up. He wants to protect our DC from the same.

It's causing a rift.

QTPie Sat 03-May-14 09:42:58

Kissing, cuddling and affection are not bad - in fact they are lovely - but it is about respect for others (respecting that they don't want it and respecting what is not appropriate) and about self respect (being clear when you don't want it and what is not appropriate). Otherwise let children be children and explore affection and relationships with your support.

Raskova Sat 03-May-14 09:24:08

Garlic, these pics are very cute and I have lots of her with her 'best friend'.

What I don't like is that she's kissing loads of boys on the lips and their parents are talking about them being her boyfriend. It's ok if one or two but all of them...

DD is extremely cuddly. I love it and would never discourage it. I just think about the she this becomes inappropriate. I mean if she was 16 and kissing all these boys... shock

christinarossetti Sat 03-May-14 03:13:45

OP, if your dh grew up in a home where older children were enacting sexual behaviour learnt from adults with younger children (or doing this with each other within earshot or sight of younger children), I would say there was an element of abuse.

Understandably, this is colouring his perspective. I don't know if he's had any formal help with this, but it might be an idea if he's interesting to help him sort out his feelings about his own childhood and current family situation.

Fwiw, your take on things sounds very grounded.

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:56:40

Phew. Thanks, Turgid.

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:56:11

I'm very sorry DH's view has been contaminated by his own childhood experiences, Well. I feel a little worried, though, that his view may transfer to your children if they're asked to restrain their natural exuberance for fear of precocious sexuality. I've got nowhere near enough information here to comment any further. Some PPs have suggested avenues that would be appropriate to get a wider perspective on this. All the best.

turgiday Sat 03-May-14 02:54:41

They are cute as long as neither kid was forced to kiss the other kid. But kids do kiss other kids. As long as they are both happy with that, I dont see the issue.

GarlicMaybeNot Sat 03-May-14 02:50:45

Either I'm right out of the loop these days, or there are some odd posts here. Are these pictures not cute, then? confused

Won't care what they get up to

Very odd assertion that parents of boys won't get what they get up to confused.

I am already teaching my boys about respecting personal space and "no means no" etc and as they get older this will be reinforced constantly. I don't want my sons treating their girl friends with anything than the utmost respect.

Perpetuating the myth of the predatory male and the helpless female is ridiculous and does nothing to teach either gender how to behave appropriately.

turgiday Sat 03-May-14 02:25:16

I don't think there is an issue with this at all.

But I also hate it when other adults encourage children to see an opposite sex friend as a girlfriend or boyfriend.

It sounds like your DH would benefit from counselling. Having children often brings things up again for adults who have been sexually abused.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 03-May-14 02:14:46

When my daughter was five, she'd come home from school talking about her "boyfriend" so one day I asked her what made him her boyfriend - "He's my friend, and he's a boy." Perfect five-year-old logic.
I think that, in most cases, even when children use 'grown-up' words or behaviour they don't understand them in the same way.

Ah I used to play 'kissy cats' with the boys at school when I was this age. Never any harm in it or anything.

I would defo speak to your DP, how do you think he'll feel when your children start having partners, or will this not bother him?

WellitsAllGoneNow Sat 03-May-14 01:18:58

Boomerwang I wish DH could be so sure that it's never 'real' but unfortunately his own childhood has shown him otherwise - no adults involved.

Boomerwang Sat 03-May-14 00:17:45

It's pretending. It's not real. Let kids be kids for as long as possible and let them stay innocent within the confines of the home. As long as an adult isn't involved (save for parents and very close family where kissing and hugging is concerned) then there really shouldn't be a problem. When children approach puberty they themselves will stop as they become more self conscious.

QTPie Fri 02-May-14 23:48:03

I am a believer of open love/affection. I am very affectionate with DS (4) - kisses and cuddles - and he is affectionate (to me, daddy, friends (including male), most people) in turn. There is absolutely nothing sexual about it. I think that if you make affection taboo, then that may cause complications later. However there should be boundaries: most importantly you should get someone's consent for any type of affection and there are things that are inappropriate.

There are plenty of open, affectionate adults out there (where there is nothing sexual in that affection).

The whole boyfriend/girlfriend/marriage thing is also innocent, I think. Yes, they are pretending at adult relationships, but isn't that what growing up is about? Just like kids pretend to be doctors or firemen or Spider-Man or teachers or pirates. Learning and developing through make believe. Also learning about relationships (friendships) early on and within a supportive environment (parents around) which can teach them to deal with rejection (since "boyfriends/girlfriends" only last for a few weeks at that age).

Smartiepants79 Fri 02-May-14 22:51:13

I don't mind children hugging each other and a kiss on the cheek.
I do that with my adult friends. They are just that, friends. No one is suggesting I marry them!
It's this aspect that changes the nature of the relationship I feel. I want her to view all her friends in the same way. She is only 3!

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 22:18:47

It's something my mum only started doing in last 5/7 odd years. It's weird as fuck.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 22:17:44

It's funny you mention that. I kissDD on the lips and think it's ok because she's teeny but when my mum tries to kiss me on the lips I tell her how it's sick and wrong...

MerryMarigold Fri 02-May-14 22:09:34

I'm a bit on the fence with this one. It's not a big deal, but still not really ok. I would quietly discourage it without making a big fuss. My dses (8 and 5) have tried to kiss me before on the lips and moving head (I think they got it from Frozen) and I said that was not for children and mums to kiss like that, but only for when they are big like (teenage friend) and they can do that with their girlfriend. Seemed to be fine with them and they stopped. If it's a kiss on the cheek it's fine, but again, not something special for that person - they can kiss anyone they love on the cheek.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:59:57

Bathroom drama, tut tut.

Anyone who's anyone knows the link between pasta and kissing wink

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 02-May-14 21:54:56

DS2 (4.5) kisses his friends. They're all boys. He made a wee friend in soft play (another boy) the other day and they hugged and kissed to say goodbye. It's just kisses on the cheek.

BathroomDrama Fri 02-May-14 21:53:27

Raskova - I've just spent 5 minutes trying to work out the link between kissing and pasta grin

Unless there is any other reason for you to be concerned, children kissing isn't a big deal - it's not like they're kissing like adults.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:46:26

Ermmmm, wrong thread.

LettertoHerms Fri 02-May-14 21:45:57

Little kids do tend toward this with each other, it's a normal part of development, usually with no regard to gender. The "girlfriend/boyfriend" talk is more worrying to me, as that's learned.

In the preschool classroom, we stress mostly how it's not ok to grab or hug someone else without their permission, and gently discourage kissing in the same way, or "we don't kiss our friends at school", it's also perfectly fine to stress that you only kiss people in your own family, at this age that is appropriate, and they'll draw their own conclusions about kissing when they reach an appropriate age.

Raskova Fri 02-May-14 21:45:46

DD won't even eat pasta now hmm

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