Victoria Beckham posts Instagram of her kissing Harper on the lips sparking controversy
- Victoria Beckham shared a photo on Instagram of her kissing Harper
- Has sparked controversy online with people saying it was odd
- Kathryn Knight thinks they’re wrong and kisses her daughter all the time
Kathryn Knight for the Daily Mail
18:46 EST, 13 July 2016
06:25 EST, 14 July 2016
Each morning my ritual is the same: when I get my three-year-old daughter Connie out of bed, I give her a big cuddle and a giant, smacking kiss on the lips. Sometimes two or three.
It’s a scene that unfolds several times throughout the day. She’ll give me kisses back, too.
And, to me, it’s the most natural thing in the world, as it is to Victoria Beckham, with whom I found myself for once unusually aligned when she posted the picture showing her kissing her daughter Harper on the lips as they cuddled up in a swimming pool to mark her fifth birthday.
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Victoria Beckham posted the photo to Instagram, captioning it ‘Happy Birthday Baby Girl, we all love you so much’
‘Happy Birthday Baby Girl, we all love you so much,’ she sweetly wrote underneath.
While not generally a fan of the usually rather frosty, buttoned-up Mrs B, what struck me most about this snap was how unaffected she seemed.
Gone was the usual self-conscious fashion pout, replaced with a simple expression of maternal affection.
I assumed that the normal reaction would be: ‘Aaah!’ But then, I hadn’t reckoned with the poisonous and judgmental world of social media, which was soon filled to bursting with people making it clear they saw this innocent photograph quite differently.
Far from being a simple happy snap, posted to mark a joyful occasion, many of them suggested it was ‘weird’ and ‘odd’, because by kissing her in this way Victoria was ‘sexualising’ her daughter.
‘It is strange to kiss your parents on the lips,’ said one, in one of the kinder comments.
‘Urgh,’ wrote someone else, while to give things a bizarre twist, yet another commentator claimed that kissing your children on the lips gives them cold sores.
Victoria Beckham with her children Harper and Brooklyn. The Instagram photo was posted to mark a joyful occasion, yet many of them suggested it was ‘weird’ and ‘odd’, because by kissing her in this way Victoria was ‘sexualising’ her daughter
And inevitably the Mumsnetters – never ones to knowingly hold back from an online scrum – waded in, with a dedicated thread on the parenting website in which users questioned Victoria’s decision.
‘I think it is weird,’ wrote one, adding for good measure, ‘do you sleep in the same bed as them as well?’
To which I can only say that, to me, the only weird thing here is this extraordinary over-reaction.
Since when did a gorgeous expression of mother-daughter affection become the subject of such vile judgment?
Kathryn Knight says that, to her, the only weird thing about the photos is this extraordinary over-reaction its received
I like kissing Connie elsewhere too – on her tummy, on her chubby cheeks and sometimes on her lovely peachy bottom (God knows what the social media shamers would make of that one). My mother once said that if kisses could be measured in pennies I’d have dealt out millions worth in Connie’s fledgling years. But it’s in keeping with the way she brought me up: I used to kiss my mum Gwennie on the lips, too, until I approached my teens.
That puts me and my mum in the ‘inappropriate’ camp, according to child psychologist Dr Charlotte Reznick, who last year suggested it was wrong for a parent to kiss a child on the lips at any age.
‘If you start kissing your child on the lips, when do you stop?’ she asked. ‘As a child gets to four or five or six and their sexual awareness develops, the kiss on the lips can be stimulating to them.’ She suggested children ‘thrive’ on being touched on their forehead, cheeks or hands.
To which I say: what utter nonsense. The only people sexualising our children are psychologists like Dr Reznick, over-analysing instinctive human gestures and emotions and dragging them into the gutter.
As a good friend and lip-kisser of her three-year-old boy said to me: ‘He just wants a nice Mummy kiss on the lips. Am I going to tell him a psychologist says it’s not right?’
By contrast, her five-year-old daughter prefers a peck on the cheek. And that’s the point – each to their own.
Ultimately, it’s not a right or wrong thing, it’s what feels right in your family. Some are what I would call very ‘huggy’, others aren’t.
I’d put the Beckhams in the former camp: scroll through their family snaps and they are clearly a physically affectionate bunch, at ease with hugs and hand-holding.
That’s why Victoria’s picture doesn’t strike me as particularly stagey or posed. It seemed, instead, in keeping with her family’s general behaviour, just as my kisses with Connie – some on her lips, some not – are in ours.
David Beckham strokes Harper’s hair. As the Beckhams seem to be a physically affectionate family, Kathryn can see nothing wrong with the photo of Harper and Victoria kissing
No doubt Harper – and Connie – will call time on the lip-smackers at some point, just as I did. In the meantime, I will continue to shower my daughter with them, comforted by the fact that a layer of sanity remains: one Mumsnet user posted to say that she found what Victoria had done ‘totally normal’.
And lip-kissing mums posted their photos to support Victoria. ‘Nothing wrong with showing your child you love them. I don’t care what people think,’ wrote one.
Hear hear. Nonetheless, I remain saddened that anyone would see anything more in lip-kisses between mother and child than simple, joyful affection.
That they do says far more about them than it does about us.
SORRY, BUT I DO THINK IT’S CREEPY BY ANGELA EPSTEIN
Victoria Beckham and I have something in common — not, alas, our lifestyles or wardrobes, but the fact that we both have three sons and a daughter.
When Harper was born five years ago, I really understood the designer’s elation about that long-awaited baby girl after three boys.
But when I saw the snap of Victoria kissing Harper on the lips, I couldn’t help but recoil. I found the image slightly creepy, stomach-churning even. Because kissing on the lips should be off-limits for any child beyond babyhood.
I would be horrified at the thought of my husband or me kissing our children on lips. Don’t get me wrong. I am a hands-on and very affectionate mother, and there’s nothing wrong with a peck on the cheek or top of the head. Meanwhile, our older three, Sam, 23, Max, 21 and Aaron, 17, have perfected ‘duck and dive’ tactics to avoid me as I seek a hug.
A naturally affectionate child at 12, Sophie still enjoys appropriate kisses and cuddles.
So, why is kissing on the lips different? Before you label me Victorian, look at the biology. Lips are drenched in nerve endings, which is why kissing adults on the mouth is the gateway to intimacy.
It’s just not contact that’s acceptable between an adult and a child.
For the same reason, I balk at women who breastfeed children beyond ten months or so.
As they become toddlers, children are increasingly curious about their physical world. Parents should not confuse them with kisses that should be restricted to adults.
Cosy kisses and warm cuddles are one of the wonderful payoffs of parenting. But kissing on the lips is simply not the same thing.
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