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Story highlights

People debate whether kissing your kids on the lips is appropriate

Victoria Beckham is latest celebrity to be target of online mommy shaming

CNN —  

Should you kiss your children on the lips?

That’s the debate Victoria Beckham unintentionally started when she posted a photo of her and her daughter Harper giving each other a kiss.

“Kisses from mummy,” she wrote for the girl’s 5th birthday on Instagram, promptly setting off a string of comments that, in various ways, called the photo inappropriate.

“This is disgusting,” one user wrote. Another said that her parents brought her up to believe it was “wrong” but that everyone has a different opinion.

But is it really bad? At this point, most of the negativity can only be found if you dig through the 8,000-plus comments. Many people – moms, children, grandparents – read about the controversy and wanted to show their support for Beckham.

“How can people sexualize a woman kissing the baby she gave birth to?” a user asked. Others chimed in saying that they are in their 20s, and still kiss their moms on the lips. One of the most insightful comments read: “Horrible things are happening in the world and people are crying over this?!”

The support didn’t end there. Many moms around the world are posting photos of themselves kissing their kids on the lips, too.

Dr. Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, said she finds the criticism of the photo to be ironic since our culture promotes the over-sexualization of everything. She sees no problem with the photo and emphasizes how important it is to be warm and affectionate as a parent.

“A good guide is to let your child set the tone,” Saltz said. When children are young, they may want those kisses on the lips, but their attitudes may change as they become teenagers, so follow their lead.

Saltz’s biggest takeaway, however, is more about the mommy shaming that’s happened since Beckham posted the photo.

“Moms already have plenty of guilt of their own to deal with,” Saltz said. “The ‘mom police’ is not very useful.”

She said part of the reason people debate the parenting skills of celebrities is that some feel insecure about their own parenting, so they criticize others who do things differently.

Beckham is only the latest target of the Internet’s mommy shamers. Reality star Kristin Cavallari recently caught some flak for a photo she shared on Instagram that prompted several “your kids are too thin” comments.

Cavallari shot back with, “Yep, I starve my children,” adding that she blocked all the negative commenters. Supermodel and Chrissy Teigen also jumped to her defense (and the defense of all parents, really).

The verdict? These moms were just showing off how much they love their kids! We and the millions of moms on the Internet look forward to more of these sweet moments.