A heavily tattooed, muscley dad was slammed by online trolls for kissing his 5-year-old son on the lips. Some said it wasn’t “manly,” but the dad had a different take on the situation, leading him to hit back at his haters. Was he right? Or, should we police how parents show their children love? You decide.
Tom Leeds, a UK dad from Yorkshire who posts on TikTok as @tom_leeds, became the target of online criticism after he was seen showing his 5-year-old son Roman affection in a video, according to the NY Post. The problem for some social media users was that Tom had kissed Roman on the lips — a gesture of love that some found inappropriate and unacceptable — and they wasted no time letting the dad know it. However, Tom wasn’t about to take their criticisms lying down.
The kissing controversy began after Tom posted a video in which he was innocently discussing the color of his eyes after receiving a compliment on his steely blues. In the clip, the father called over his son, who shares the same pretty peepers. After encouraging Roman to show off his own baby blues, the dad told his boy, “Give me a kiss,” and young Roman complied with the request as the two shared a quick peck on the lips.
The quick smooch didn’t last but a mere second. However, that was long enough for some viewers to apparently become concerned and begin criticizing the affectionate father for kissing his 5-year-old son on the lips. As the online trolls exited their caves and crawled over to their keyboards, Leeds was accused of everything from confusing Roman to making him “more susceptible to cavities.”
“Just gorgeous both, but don’t kiss him on the lips,” one naysayer wrote, and that was the comment Tom Leeds decided to use when he made a follow-up video in which he hit back at his critics, letting them know that he didn’t care what they had to say. According to Tom, he was going to love his child and show him affection with kisses for as long as Roman would allow him to do so.
After giving a summation of the situation that the commenter found “worrying,” Tom declared, “I find it worrying that it bothers you.” He then explained, “I will kiss my son, my five-year-old child, on the lips for as long as I deem necessary and as long as he lets me, right, ’cause I love him to bits, and he’s my best pal, and one day he won’t want me to and he probably won’t want much to do with me. So for now, I’ll carry on as I am.”
While most of the comments were supportive of the affectionate father, Tom continued to address the concerns of others in a series of follow-up videos. He even addressed the one that suggested the dad was making his son “more susceptible to cavities if you have them and kiss them” due to allegedly transferring bacteria from the parent’s mouth to the child’s.
Even Roman had a comeback for that bizarre comment, playfully telling viewers, “Don’t be silly,” as he puckered up and gave his dear dad another controversial kiss, Daily Mail reported.
Other commenters did express more legitimate concerns, saying that “not all humans have the right intentions” and warning the dad not to make such displays of affection “acceptable” because strangers could take advantage of this alleged vulnerability. But, Tom had his own take on that “logic” too, which he shared in yet another video.
In short, Tom said it was as simple as teaching Roman that he has “a mommy and a daddy and kissing them is normal,” while kissing “dodgy” people from “down the road” is “a bit weird.” After all, there are a lot of things children do with their parents, including getting in a car with them and living in their house, that simply wouldn’t be acceptable with a stranger, Tom explained.
Of course, for every troll that voiced disapproval, there were many other viewers who rushed to offer the father their support, saying those who saw a problem were the ones with “issues” that “we need to watch out for.” In fact, many commenters encouraged Tom to continue showing his child that he loves him, which is all they saw the kiss as, calling his “bond” with his boy “natural” and reassuring the dad that he was “doing a great job.” Some even suggested the kisses would make Roman “a more gentle” boy and “loving” man one day.
But, perhaps it’s those who shared their own experience who made the best point. “My daughter is 11, she kisses me on the lips. If I was about to turn my head she would think she’d done something wrong,” one such commenter wrote, focusing on the child’s response to the kissing instead of the parent’s desire to kiss. And, in my opinion, that’s what really matters.
As a mother of two, one of my children was a kisser while the other was not. Guess what? I kissed the kisser until she no longer wanted my kisses, and I showed my non-kisser affection and love in ways that she preferred. That’s what a good parent does. They follow the child’s lead and their love language. And, from what I can see, Roman enjoys giving his dad a kiss. So, personally, I think a stranger chiming in and stripping him of that would be the real catastrophe, not the dad who showed his son love with a peck on the lips.