Parenting Predicament: Kissing and Your Preschooler

My parenting skills were put to the test last night in a bit of an unexpected way. My very smart four year old (and I do not say this to brag, I say it because he is actually very smart) caused me to second-guess myself after a small incident. Did I handle it correctly? I would love your input.

I was tucking my son in for bed last night like I do every night. We were lying on his bed doing our nightly routine of him telling me his full name, his address, his phone number, what city and state he lives in and doing his basic addition facts. As we would do this he would lean in for a smooch every now and then. I thought very little about it because we are a very affectionate family. We hug and kiss a lot.

It was only after I had finished pulling up my son’s blankets, making sure that he had all of his blankies and his animals tucked in beside him, that my son asked for one more smooch. As I leaned down to give him one last kiss, he grabbed me from behind my head with his little hand and tried to hold me in the kiss for quite some time. I pulled away and quickly said to him, “Honey, little boys and their mommies don’t kiss like that.” I then asked him why he had wanted to kiss me differently than he normally does.

He said to me, and it was quite sweet, “But Mommy, I just wanted to kiss you like Daddy kisses you.” Then I understood. He has seen his dad and I kiss like that on numerous occasions. Of course, my husband and I don’t have make-out sessions in front of our kids, but we do kiss a lot and sometimes our lips linger, for lack of a better description. My four-year old, seeing this, thought he would give it a shot with me. Because after all, his daddy gets to kiss Mommy like that, why shouldn’t he? I am not in the least bit worried about him trying to kiss me like his daddy does, after all, he watches Daddy do it, so it must be okay. He will never learn unless we talk about it, and that is exactly what we did.

It was after him telling me this that I had to launch into an explanation. This is where I was a bit unsure and a bit unprepared on how to best phrase this. I quietly explained that a mommy and a daddy could kiss each other for a long time on the lips. That this is one way that a mommy and daddy show how much they love each other. I continued in my explanation by stating that a mommy doesn’t give long kisses to her little boy, that she shows she loves him by giving quick little kisses on the lips or the cheeks, but that a mommy should never kiss her child the same the mommy kisses Daddy.

My son seemed very intrigued by this explanation and asked me several questions about kissing in general. He totally accepted my explanation about kissing, much to my relief. However, I walked away truly wondering if I did indeed handle the situation correctly. Was my explanation correct, should I have phrased it differently?

It left me wondering, as I was telling my husband this story, just how do you explain to a preschooler about the different types of kissing?

Any words of wisdom? What have all of you done, or has it never come up in your home? I would love for everyone to share.

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