David Beckham posted a selfie with him and his daughter kissing on the lips the other day and everyone went wild. This topic always seems to elicit polarizing responses from people; it doesn’t seem to go under the radar. Why is that? Some people think a kiss on the lips is sexual, therefore not appropriate to do with family and friends, and other people find a kiss merely just another way of showing affection and love to another person. Some people may place sexual labels onto actions that do not have a sexual meaning to the parties involved. The meaning rests on what we give it. Because of its subjective nature, everyone may have varying feelings and thoughts on kissing their kids. But, here is what’s not subjective, cold, hard science!
There are some serious mental and physical health benefits to kissing. Just plain old kissing. Non-romantic kissing. First off, the pleasure center in the brain that holds all those “feel good” chemicals are activated. When we kiss (anyone…) our brain release oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Oxytocin is the chemical responsible for helping build and maintain bonds and attachments. This is the SAME chemical released when a mother breastfeeds her baby. These chemicals are essential in helping create a healthy relationship between parent and child.
In addition to those “feel good” chemicals of affection, bonding, and closeness, kissing also lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone our brain releases. When this chemical is lowered, people are better able to manage stress and anxiety, which has a huge impact on a person’s mental health, development, and self-worth. Not to mention, kissing also helps to decrease blood pressure.
Feelings, thoughts, and meaning about kissing anyone other than your sexual partner have to do with how you yourself were raised and your overall comfortability with it. Some families are uber affectionate with an abundance of both physical and verbal acts of love; while other families not so much. Studies say it is both healthy and beneficial to show acts of love to your growing and developing child to help with self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence; but ultimately you need to decide what you feel comfortable with. Instead of knocking people (and celebrities) for how they chose to show their family love, focus on how you chose to show your child love and how you can continue to show love because that is what really matters.
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