Parenting 911: Jill and Kyle

Parenting 911: Jill and Kyle
Dr. Phil talks to parents who wonder if their 4-year-old daughter's obsession with kissing is normal.
Perplexed parents write:

Dear Dr. Phil,

Our 4-year-old daughter is obsessed with boys and kissing. She has a Barbie and a Ken, and she spends hours having them kiss and lay together. She also loves watching Aladdin and other Disney movies. During a kissing scene, she brightens up like she's going to implode. If there is no kissing, she is not interested. She asks at least three times a day how old she has to be before she can
kiss boys. We found her standing in a closet pretending she's being hugged by a piece of clothing. As parents, we are both concerned about this behavior. Our question to you Dr. Phil is this: Is a 4-year-old little girl's obsession with boys and kissing normal? Or does it mean she'll be promiscuous as a teenager?

Worried parents,
Jill and Kyle in New Jersey
"Is this a precursor to later on being boy crazy to a degree that we may not want, or is this normal?" Jill questions.

"Were you boy crazy?" Dr. Phil asks.

Hesitantly, she replies with a laugh, "Yes."

Kyle and Jill also have more serious concerns, like if their daughter was molested. "I just see the way that she acts and I'm wondering where she's learning this," Kyle says.

"I see absolutely no signs whatsoever of any type of molestation or inappropriate touching on her behalf," Dr. Phil assures the couple. "There would be warning signs of that. You would see signs of guilt. You would see some withdrawal. You would see a wanting to actually distance herself from anything that had anything to do with kissing or nudity. It would be the last thing in the world that she wanted to talk about or deal with ... Always be sensitive to it. Always watch for it. But I don't see any glaring signs of that." He says that Abby's kissing is also not a precursor to promiscuity.
Addressing the couple's concern if Abby's habit is "normal," Dr. Phil says, "Something is abnormal if it's disruptive to your life or creates results that you don't want ... If this is the biggest problem you have with her, you have hit a home run!"

Jill and Kyle were also worried because they caught Abby kissing a sweater in her closet. "She is very creative. She is really very innovative," Dr. Phil points out. "She was embarrassed when you caught her, which means she's already developing this sense of privacy."

Dr. Phil advises the couple not to react to their daughter's habit. If it persists, they should take the opportunity to explain that kissing is an expression of love and trust. "Relax. You've got gorgeous kids and you are obviously doing a good job with them," he says.