American psychologist and author of several parenting books Charlotte Reznick has reportedly advised parents that kissing children on the lips is “too sexual.” Speaking to the unfailingly respectable publication The Sun, Reznick allegedly explained that children are likely to be confused by the “stimulation” of kissing and the fact that their parents (and perhaps also their pets, dollies, and the entire cast of Friends) also kiss.
Although it’s possible Reznick has been misquoted for effect, I’m going to stamp out that boring ambiguity by shouting Right on, Reznick! Just the other day as I was dutifully wiping my two-year old’s crotch with a cold, wet wipe and avoiding eye contact, I was thinking how disgusting it is that parents have gotten away with this blatantly inappropriate form of physical contact for so long. What’s next – letting them eat from boobs? Blech. Bring me an air sickness bag and a copy of The Stranger, stat.
For too long, the modern parent has relied on physical affection to express its love to children. Sure, babies who are denied physical affection won’t survive, but limits, people, limits. You can’t click on a news source without seeing the latest child abuse case flashing before your eyes, and since parents are rightly concerned about protecting their little ones from inappropriate contact, what better way to guide them in their potentially paranoid journey than to make them aware that they might be the real abusers.
If you want proof that kissing goes on to produce sexually messed up adults, just look at how many adults end up having sexual relationships. Some of those sexual relationships result in more children, who get kissed by their parents, and the vicious and sordid cycle continues.
Enough is enough. It’s time we implemented some more stone cold restraint in our parenting techniques to ensure our kids are the least-stimulated and unconfused people possible. I know from my previous work as a therapist that the patients whose parents stayed well away from touching and kissing them turned out solid and had super relationships.
Here’s some top tips for imbuing some Victorian-style sensibility into your offspring (hint: refer to them as offspring as often as possible, as pet names like “darling,” “honey” or “dear” can make them feel exploited, and they might even adopt them as stripper names later in life):
1. Affection Sub: If your child reaches out for a hug or a kiss, step back and hand them a stick. Instruct them that they may pretend the stick is a friend (or use it as a weapon) but that it is in no way meant as a sexual gesture. If no stick is available, a rock or chunk of plaster will suffice.
2. Ice baths: As children begin to grow they’ll find warm water too relaxing and potentially arousing. Nip this in the bud with a good old fashioned ice bath. (Hint: a towel which is air-dried for days will be crunchy and rough, which can be helpful in keeping things even more uncomfortable post-bath),
3. Bland foods: Many parents make the mistake of introducing spicy and complex foods to their children. But this can stimulate their taste buds, creating confusion in the brain. They’ll be especially thrown as they see you dining on the same foods. “Why are my parents eating pad thai too?” they’ll ask themselves, before going on to become underground BDSM workers.
4. Thwart, Thwart, Thwart: Children are inappropriately curious creatures who will probably look to you for guidance, and ask questions about sex even before they reach adulthood. Although shameful, remember that you’re in control. Take charge by distracting your kids when they ask questions about sex, boundaries and inappropriate behaviour. If the stick and/or the rock don’t work, try doughnuts. That’s what my mother did, and to this day I use food to cope with all sorts of things. Simple!
I sure hope this has been helpful; parenting is a minefield and not one which should be navigated lightly or without expert guidance. Just remember: if your instinct tells you it’s OK, it’s probably wrong.