How controversial is it to kiss your child on the lips?

Victoria Beckham kissing Harper Image copyright Instagram

This picture of Victoria Beckham kissing her daughter Harper on the lips has already been liked more than half a million times. But there has also been a backlash against it. Why?

No, it's not the matching sunglasses that people are discussing. It's a mother giving her five-year-old daughter a birthday kiss - on the lips. "Gorgeous picture," writes one person. "Beautiful picture! Shows the love between mother and daughter," posts another, echoing the sentiments of most people.

But a quick glance at the comments beneath Victoria Beckham's Instagram post indicates that not everyone sees it the same way. "It's nice but you're not supposed to kiss you're children on the lips. I'm not trying to be rude but it's true," comments one detractor. Another wrote: "Not a fan of kissing my kids on the lips..That's just me."

While these comments, and others like them, stop of short of full-on criticism of the fashion designer's actions, they express a vague sense of unease about the image - an unease that has, in turn, caused consternation among others.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

BBC Trending consulted the social etiquette expert, Liz Brewer. She believes that while kissing a son or daughter on the lips is an unusual practice it should still be a parent's choice as to whether they consider it appropriate or not.

"Normally with a member of your family you don't kiss on the lips unless it's your husband," she said. "With children, I wouldn't have thought it's a particularly good habit to get into but it's her child and she's at liberty to do what she thinks is best."

"I would be uncomfortable doing that and I think most people would be. If she feels it's appropriate, so be it. I wouldn't say it sets a particularly good example."

It's an issue which has caused discomfort before."I find it a bit icky," says one contributor on a Mumsnet discussion thread. "It's only weird if you use tongues," responds another.

This is not the first parent-child picture this year to stir controversy. This image of a father holding his sick son in the shower drew negative and positive reactions with some claiming it is inappropriate at best and at worst has undertones of paedophilia.

Image copyright Heather Whitten

Overwhelmingly, though, those leaving comments on the Beckhams' photo are positive about the fashion designer's actions.

As one well-wisher put it: "Beautiful, can't believe some people's negativity, my mum has always kissed me on the lips and I will kiss my daughter too."

Blog by Harry Low

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