A TikTok user who goes by tom_leeds has attracted controversy for showing his young son affection by kissing him on the lips.
Leeds, who has 338k followers and over three million likes, has gone viral after kissing his son in a video about their shared unusual eye color. Viewers and commenters are split on whether a father kissing his son is inappropriate or just good parenting.
The Father-Son Video
In the video, Leeds responds to a comment asking if his ice-blue eyes result from a filter. He waves his hand in front of his face several times, demonstrating that no filter is in play.
“But I haven’t even got the nicest eyes in my own house,” Leeds says before calling over his son, Roman. Roman opens his eyes wide, demonstrating that he has an even paler blue coloration. Leeds then gives Roman a peck on the lips just before the video ends.
@tom_leeds Replying to @Malpihon thank you! they are real, no filters here. #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #xyzbca #xuhuong ♬ original sound – Tom
While the majority of the over 3k comments are compliments on the color of Leeds’ and Roman’s eyes, appearance, or relationship, some commenters took issue with the peck on the lips.
“Just gorgeous both, but don’t kiss him on the lips,” commented lillyarechiga446.
In a response, Leeds voiced his frustration with the comment. “I uploaded a video of me and my little boy. I kiss him on the lips. He’s five years old. And that is what she picks up on. That is what she finds worrying.”
“I find it worrying that it bothers you, right?” Leeds said after staring into the distance for a moment. “I will kiss my child, my five-year-old son, on the lips, for as long as I deem necessary and as long as he lets me. Cause I love him to bits, and he’s my best pal.”
“And one day, he won’t want me to, and he won’t want much to do with me. So, for now, I’ll carry on as I am.”
@tom_leeds Replying to @teresa02garcia ah jheez. #fyp #foryou #xyzbca #xuhuong #fypシ ♬ original sound – Tom
Is It Appropriate?
The question of whether it’s appropriate for parents to kiss their children on the lips has come up several times over the years, with celebrities such as Hilary Duff, the Beckhams, Jamie Oliver, Will Smith, and Harry Connick Jr causing controversy after posting pictures of them kissing their children.
Some psychologists believe the practice is inherently damaging. Dr. Charlotte Reznick, in a since-deleted interview with The Sun in 2015, was quoted as saying kissing a child on the lips could “confuse” a child as the lips are “an erogenous zone” and that kissing “can be stimulating.”
“If mommy kisses daddy on the mouth and vice versa, what does that mean, when I, a little girl or boy, kiss my parents on the mouth,” Reznick said, arguing that children might associate kissing with romantic or sexual interest.
Other child psychology professionals took issue with Reznick’s claims.
“That’s like saying breastfeeding is confusing,” Sally-Anne McCormack, a clinical psychologist, told The Sun in the same article. “Some people might have issues with it, but it isn’t any more sexual than giving a baby a back rub.”
Another psychologist said that Reznick’s claim is “outrageous.”
“It absolutely does not take into account a special relationship that parents have with their children and the non-sexual nature from which that particular behavior comes,” clinical psychologist Heather Irvine-Rundle, who practices in Sydney, Australia, told news.com.au.
“It also fails to take into account cultural issues as well. We know we come from a culture in which the idea of cheek-kissing and lip-kissing is something that’s kind of OK, but if you move to northern parts of the UK and particularly in parts of Scotland, that’s a really comfortable thing for people to do even into adulthood.
“It’s not sexual at all, and I think the fact that it’s something we’re happy to do in public means that there’s nothing sinister about it.”
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This article was produced by TPR Teaching. Source.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.