Positive redirection is a popular technique that parents, teachers, and almost anyone else involved with caring for a child is aware of these days. Positive redirection is a method where the child’s caretaker uses positive words instead of negative words and redirects children away from undesirable behavior and provides a suitable alternative.
For example, if your child has a marker and is about to draw all over the walls, you would not say “No, you can’t draw on the walls. You have to draw on paper.” Instead, you would simply say, “bring the marker over here and draw me a pretty picture.”
The thinking behind this strategy is that you don’t bombard the children with negative words and make them feel hurt. Instead you keep the comments positive and provide a creative outlet for their energy. Everyone feels good about the situation and your walls remain intact!
Overall, it appears to be a good method. The children are taught in a positive environment and given opportunities to channel their energy into less destructive, and parent-approved activities. But some people are questioning whether or not we are missing opportunities to teach our kids valuable lessons when we are too focused on remaining positive and distracting our children from issues rather that facing them head on.
In an insightful article that goes against the grain of positive redirection, author Janet Lansbury brings up 5 reasons why this method may not always be the best solution and why parents and caretakers might be better off dealing with issues when they arise.
Here is a brief synopsis of the 5 reasons Lansbury gives for abandoning positive redirection:

  1. Phoniness: Give your kids an honest response. Don’t act happy and upbeat if you are really annoyed.
  2. Learning from conflict: Children need to know how to resolve conflicts. If we act positive and redirect away from any conflict, then they have no chance of learning how to handle it.
  3. No guidance:Redirection simply distracts children. Instead we should embrace these moments of conflict as teaching moments where we can provide limits and guidance for our kids. 
  4. Discourages attention and awareness: Just because your kid has a short attention span doesn’t mean it should be continually exploited. Attention to details and awareness are great skills to have. We should be fostering that even if it means discipline becomes a bit more difficult.
  5. Respect: Kids deserve our respect as much as other adults do. Rather than simply distracting them, have enough respect for their ability to learn and grow to be honest with them.

Lansbury’s full article is interesting to read. I highly suggest checking it out if you have the time.
There are many techniques for disciplining young children and each parent needs to decide what works best for them. Even if there is value in the positive redirection method, it is still worth considering if it is always the right approach, or maybe there are times when being direct and confronting your child might better help foster their growth and development.