Dear Dr. Bill,
I recently discovered that my 5-year-old daughter was kissing another neighbor girl during a play-date in our home. I calmly talked to my daughter and explained why this was not appropriate. She cried, said she was sorry and seemed to understand that what she was doing was wrong.
But afterwards, I felt sick that my daughter’s innocence has been compromised. Should I be concerned about any gender confusion that may be related to this incident?
Given the confusion about sexuality and gender in our culture, a lot of parents are worried about what their kids are being exposed to at school or through the media. It’s no wonder you’re concerned about your daughter’s kiss.
I wouldn’t panic over this incident—most likely it’s simply childish experimentation, and not something to worry about.
If your daughter and her friend were simply mimicking a kiss on the lips then I would ask them where they saw other people doing that. Was it on TV? Did they see older kids doing that somewhere? Tell your daughter that that type kiss is for mommies and daddies and for people in families.
If it was the kind of kiss that is like a bedtime smooch, you might say something like this: “You can kiss your friends on the cheek when you say hello and goodbye and your family on the lips when we want to say I love you. Kisses are special for those situations.
I wouldn’t make a big deal out of this incident…that could actually do more harm than good. However, it might be wise to talk to the other girl’s mother about what happened and then monitor the girl’s behavior when he is with your daughter.
Thanks for writing, Jennifer. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.
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