Why is my child uncomfortable kissing relatives?

US psychologist says parents shouldn't kiss their children on the mouth

In addition: Are mutual boundaries (emotional as well as physical), both towards adults and children, perceived and respected? The family counselor cites the situation as a typical example: "Don't I get a kiss?" When grandma comes to visit. If the child is constantly encouraged to kiss relatives against their will - turn their head away, grimace - they will gradually lose the sense of self that they should rely on for the rest of their lives. “Children are born with many skills - what they lack is experience and how to deal with it. It therefore needs adults and parents who accompany it with empathy and appreciation, ”says the family counselor.

Thirdly, parents should ask themselves: How is the issue of sexuality dealt with in the family? The expert says: "If we talk about it openly, including the thoughts of the children about it, parents are well equipped to answer questions about kissing in a sexual context in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner."

With these observations it is easier for the parents to follow the development of the child and to protect his or her integrity. “So it can happen that, from a certain age onwards, as a mother / father of my child, it seems uncomfortable to me to kiss it on the lips. It can be formulated very clearly here: I no longer like it, it no longer feels good, ”says the consultant.

Child psychologist: "It's not sexually arousing"

Also Child psychologist Claudia Rupp thinks: "It is not sexually arousing or confusing to be 'kissed' on the mouth by parents if you are familiar with it from an early age and the parents only convey affection and NO sexual feeling or interest. Seen in this way, parents who naturally 'have a strange feeling' about kissing their - perhaps now bigger - children on the mouth should not do so. "

She emphasizes that many children come to the age where they no longer want to 'kiss the mouth / lips' on their own. Parents should react very sensitively and accepting to such signs of defense, which can be set very differently depending on the child's personality, temperament and age, advises the psychologist.

Differentiate between kiss and kiss

For children it is also important that parents differentiate linguistically between 'kissing' and 'kissing / cuddling' and clearly conveying to children that 'kissing' is okay with friends of the same age, between children and between children and adults, but 'kissing / Cuddling '- in the sense of French kissing - only for' grown-ups' - adults or young people who like each other very much.

In her practice, the child psychologist is repeatedly concerned with questions from parents on the subject of upbringing and dealing with boundaries. "Especially when it comes to physicality and nudity, it is very important for children that parents respect boundaries," she says. What counts as 'normal' is very different from one individual to another and culturally. Claudia Rupp says: “I often see one of my tasks as a psychologist and therapist in making parents aware of their children's feelings of shame and initial attempts to differentiate themselves, and not as a rejection of their children, but as a important development step, which like all others should be supported and promoted. "

For example, the 10-year-old son who goes to school country week and does not want to be blown by his parents in front of his friends should also be allowed to do so. On the other hand, according to the psychologist, it could also happen that the 17-year-old daughter, who is currently heartbroken, wants to cuddle up in bed with her mother and be held. Then of course she shouldn't be rejected - "even if she is otherwise so 'cool' and 'oh so grown-up' and doesn't like mom's advice or her 'farewell bussies'," says Rupp.