Oh goodness, do I have thoughts on this. It isn’t new to me at all; my Facebook page is full of young moms who share this stuff (it’s been going around for years) and it drives me nuts.
First of all, we all show affection at different times when maybe we don’t totally want to. You give a friend or spouse or family member a hug because they’re feeling down, or they’re leaving for a six month trip to Japan, or you want to show you’re glad to see them, even if they need a shower or a breath mint or you don’t feel like getting out if your comfy chair. This is part of the give and take of personal relationships; you’d feel insulted if they didn’t offer your preferred form of affection or support when you need it.
Children need to be taught this, or we’re going to raise a generation who think their comfort is the only thing that matters, even in personal relationships and within their family.
On top of that, in as much as you do have a choice as to how close your relationship with Grandma or Great Uncle Joe should be, kids are in no way qualified to make that call. Kids have no idea that Grandma is 96 and this might be their last chance to hug her, or remember that Great Uncle Joe loaned their family the money to send them to summer camp. They don’t know that the reason they only see Aunt Jenny once a year is that she lives across the country and she saves all year to come home for the holidays because it means so much to her, and that’s why her presents aren’t cool.
As an adult you can decide if these things matter to you (they should) but kids shouldn’t be counted on to recognize the full context of situations. Now, obviously if part of the context is if there is something dangerous or creepy going on, but either way it’s a parents place to make the call and to override the kid’s judgement, in either direction, when it’s uninformed.
Letting kids make the decision themselves is setting them up to make decisions they’ll regret, hurting people they care about, and teaching them that making even those they love comfortable doesn’t matter. And we all know that’s only acceptable if it’s someone who voted for Trump.