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David Beckham has reignited a debate about the “appropriateness” of kissing his 10-year-old daughter on the lips with a recent Instagram photo.
On Friday, the football star, 46, who has faced criticism on a number of occasions for kissing his daughter, posted photos from a recent walk the pair shared.
“Daddy & Princess Leia had a lovely walk this morning,” Beckham captioned two photos of himself and daughter Harper, including one in which the father-daughter duo can be seen giving each other a peck on the lips.
Despite wearing a somewhat humourous expression in the photo, which suggests that Beckham was aware what the response to the kiss would be, many individuals took to the comments to share their discomfort with the athlete’s affection.
“Why do you kiss your daughter on the lips? It’s weird and inappropriate,” one person commented, while another said: “Although this is very sweet, please do not kiss your daughter on the lips.”
Someone else said: “Enough with the kissing on the lips already!!”
According to another critic, Beckham should “show [his] love” by “kissing on the forehead, cheek, etc” but not on the lips because his daughter is “not a baby anymore and kisses on the lips are unacceptable”.
In response to the criticism of Beckham’s parenting, many came to the father of four’s defense, with some noting that they frequently kiss their own family members on the lips.
“40-plus years old and I still kiss my mom on the lips AND I kiss my 11 and 14 year old sons on the lips. People need to worry about themselves and not stupid sh*t,” one person commented.
Another said: “Beautiful. Wait for the ‘don’t kiss your child on the lips’ complete weirdo comments.”
This is not the first time that Beckham has found himself embroiled in controversy over his choice to kiss his daughter on the lips.
In 2017, Beckham addressed the backlash over a photo of him kissing his then-five year old daughter during a Facebook Live conversation, where he noted that he was “actually criticised for kissing my daughter on the lips the other day,” before adding: “I kiss all my kids on the lips.”
“Brooklyn, maybe not. Brooklyn’s 18, he might find that a little bit strange. But I’m very affectionate with the kids. It’s how I was brought up and [wife Victoria Beckham], and it’s how we are with our children,” he said at the time. “We want to show our kids love and we protect them, look after them, and support them, and we’re very affectionate with them.”
Despite the explanation, in June 2019, Beckham was labelled “creepy” by Piers Morgan, after he was again seen kissing then-seven-year-old Harper during a family boat trip in Miami.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Morgan called the former England captain “creepy” and “weird” for showing the affection to his young child.
“It’s very sweet but why would a father kiss his daughter on the lips?” Morgan asked. “Don’t get it - creepy. Weird. Then you post that for the world - you posted that for the world, why?
“Weird, Weird, weird, it’s just weird.”
The criticism hasn’t deterred Beckham, however, as the athlete has continued to kiss his daughter on the lips in public.
According to most child development experts, the behaviour is not something that should be labelled “inappropriate,” as Ollwyn Moran, neurological developmental therapist and CEO of Cognikids, previously told The Independent: “Showing love and affection to your child is so important. There are numerous scientific studies that highlight the importance of this.
“Furthermore, what concerns me most is what is in the minds of those people that call out this natural behaviour. Why sexualise it?”
Child psychologist Dr Fiona Martin has also agreed, as she previously said the display of parenting is “beautiful” and that “anything that promotes emotional connectivity is good”.
“It’s certainly not inappropriate to kiss your child,” she added.
In addition to Harper, the Beckhams also share sons Brooklyn, 22, Romeo, 19, and Cruz, 16.