Why You Can’t Take Away ChoreMonster Points

Photo credit: Lotus Carroll via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

One of the most common feature requests or changes we have heard since ChoreMonster started, and that we continue to hear, is one that we will not change. I know, that sounds a little stubborn, if there are enough people asking for a feature change, we should listen and maybe make an adjustment, right?

The request sounds simple enough, and can usually be boiled down to the following:

“If my child does something wrong, how can I take their ChoreMonster points away?”

In the past, I’ve written about Using ChoreMonster As A Bribe and When Chores Are The Law. Both of those posts touch on a theme that I’m going to tackle today as well. The importance of positive reinforcement. That is a big part of what ChoreMonster is about.

We want your home to function better as a result of ChoreMonster. We want tensions over household chores minimized and happiness maximized. None of us pretend that discipline isn’t a part of every home as well, but one of the reasons you won’t see the option to negate ChoreMonster points is because it really wasn’t intended to be part of the discipline in homes.

On one hand, it’s simple. Don’t take stuff away from your kids they already earned.

I know some would fire back at this and state that as adults we have things taken that we’ve earned all the time (taxes, fines and tickets, etc.) That’s true, but I don’t think it applies to your kids and ChoreMonster.

If you want to ground your child for bad behavior, or impose any other discipline that you think is appropriate, go for it. It’s your right and responsibility as a parent to use your best judgement, just don’t drag ChoreMonster and what has been set up to represent positive reinforcement into the mix.

Because remember, at some point you approved that chore that your child completed and gave them the points. If you did so negligently without checking if the chore was done right, that’s on you. If you did so on accident, it’s also on you. If you just want to take away points because Junior is being a pain in the butt, find another place to do it.

I say these things not to draw a line in the sand but rather to let you know, or remind you, why you started using ChoreMonster to begin with. Why was it? I doubt it was so you could have another way to discipline your kids, there are enough of those options already available.

Enough of the tough talk, but I wanted to take some time to address this issue and hope you. As ChoreMonster users, understand where we are coming from on this issue.


23 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Take Away ChoreMonster Points”

  1. I think giving negative points should be possible as well. If they misbehave there should be a consequence. Giving them negative points is not taking away points they earned but making the path to earning rewards longer.

  2. I agree- I started ChoreMonster to teach my child about real life.

    First off, she is a kid. And should be treated as such. We do not ever take points away. But she does lose chances at points. If she was supposed to do something and it’s late I might erase it (like a daily activity so she will catch it on the next day, anyway, and she chose not to do it on the assigned day.)

    We used paper charts but WE as parents never enforced it as we have been able to ChoreMonster. We put small points for the things we want her to do daily that are easy and help her return to ChoreMonster and find it easy to check things off.
    I remember reading something on ChoreMonster when we signed up that said it was for positive reinforcement. I also use it to gel her form positive habits.
    She brushes her teeth like a champ now for a prize of 5 points. (To us this is about 5cents)

    There is no ipad use on mornings or weekends until her morning ChoreMonster scheduled/due items are done.

    It took us a month or so and its still evolving because she is always evolving.there is no yelling or crying, on either part. If she doesn’t do her chores- things don’t happen!

    Very successful for our family!

    Thank you!

  3. Doesn’t the blog state Chore Monster is not intended to be used as part of the discipline in the home? I don’t see how giving negative points is any different than taking points away. I use Chore Monster to teach my kids responsibility and if they want money they have to earn it. They know I work and I earn money for the work I do. It’s the same for their chores. If my bosses get mad at me, they can’t take my money away from me short of firing me. Regardless of how my kids are misbehaving, they still have to do their chores, and if they do the chores they get paid for them, regardless of whether they are being brats. I’m pretty creative and can come up with some pretty nasty things for them to have to clean around the house if they are behaving so badly. Like scrubbing the table and chair legs with tooth brushes. Then I’m getting something out of the punishment with clean chairs. But, when they quit whining and get the job done, I’ll give them some points for doing a good job. Believe me, a few extra nasty chores and they don’t want to do it anymore. Or I simply ground them or take the gadgets away. There are so many ways outside of Chore Monster to make them miserable when they are being a pain. But the chores get done and they always get paid for what they do no matter what. Because they’ve learned they can count on this, I get less fuss when it comes to helping me clean, and help is what I need. I’ve never had cooperation and help before now. If I started taking away and giving negative points like others seem to want to do, I’d be right back where I was. No help and no cooperation. Maybe negative reinforcement works for others, but with a child who is ADHD and behavioral problems, it does not.

  4. 1st: Taking away points is NOT DISCIPLINE, it’s the reality of teaching kids the REALITY that actions (or lack thereof) have consequences. What are you teaching kids… when they choose NOT to do their chores and nothing happens?

    2nd: Your decision to not allow for points to be taken away, forces parents to impose consequences that outside of the given reward system. So there is no cohesion to the whole system and now consequences can appear disproportionate to the reward.

    3rd: Understanding boundaries leads to harmony not tension. There isn’t a psychologist in the world that doesn’t believe this. How in the world did you come to the conclusion that consequences leads to tension? My boys understand consequences, they don’t like it, but they understand it.

    Finally: Let’s just stop all the “spin” and “rhetoric” and get down to the truth, you believe you know better how to raise kids than parents. It’s amazing to me that someone who creates an app to manage “Chores” has no idea what “Chores” are intended to teach our kids. Any parent not asking to take away points, probably doesn’t ask their kids to do chores.

  5. If you don’t like how the system is run (the free system), then find another system. Don’t insult the parents who use and like the system.

  6. David said “you believe you know better how to raise kids than parents” (WOW)… and “any parent not asking to fake away chores, probably don’t ask their kuds to go chores”…. (WOW again).
    If you don’t like the app, you have choices (why not delete the app, or better yet, create your own app?)

    Joe: thanks for this FREE app. It’s just what my family needed to make chores fun; my kids have starting asking for extra chores! There’s no need to change a thing; naysayers can go elsewhere!

  7. I agree with chore monster! I’d also like to add that my kids are excited to do chores because of chore monster, I think having the option to take away points they’ve earned as a discipline will cause tension and disinterest or problems with doing chores with a happy helpful heart. My kids learn about “reality” or “the real world,” as some have called it, when I give them allowance for the chores they’ve completed and they save it, spend it and donate it.

  8. I agree, I love chore monster and so do my kids. If I click something by accident (because the ipad is playing up and doesnt do as I have clicked) then we just add those points on to the reward and this was at the sugestion of my chiildren, so they understand that accidents happen sometimes.

  9. My daughter had misbehaved and was grounded from attending a trip she was hoping to go on. This had nothing to do with her chores. And it was handled independently of the app. She also didn’t do chores for a few days. The punishment is inherent. If you don’t do your chores, you don’t earn points and therefore don’t get to achieve the rewards. Taking away points doesn’t even make sense. If you agreed to assign point for an action and you agree to a reward for said action, isn’t it a bad example of going back on your word to take it away? Seems dishonest. I feel like there are far more effective tactics to teach children the lessons they need in life. Also, if the app creates a negative connotation I feel it undermines the inspiration to complete the chores in the first place. I believe as I child I would have thought, what’s the point in making my bed? Your just going to take the points away from me anyhow.

  10. I agree in principle on why chore monster points are not allowed to be removed or taken away, positive reinforcement is always better. My big problem is one that has to do with the very nature of humanity and our ability to create, innovate, change and MAKE MISTAKES!!! A fundamental principle of technology, something that is ingrained in the very silica of each chip, is the ability to make changes! If I have added points to the wrong child’s profile and I cannot make any changes, then at the end of the week Chore monster makes me look like the bad guy, then where is the positive reinforcement either for myself or my children? We are both punished because the system is flawed. Computers and technology are made to help humans, because we are human. We are not perfect. We know that technology is not and will never be perfect, but if we can make it better for us to make us better parents, shouldn’t we make the effort?

  11. Let’s not get crazy people. We all signed on this app to get our kids to start helping out around the house, do things we want, etc. That’s why it’s called Chore Monster, not Discipline Monster. If we all of a sudden decided to deduct points or withhold them when a positive action was performed, then we are cheating and have negated the whole purpose of using this app. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly did think about it though and I know where some of you are coming from. To take the points away and keep my misbehaving son from the goal would be sweet revenge. But then again, he’d probably quit being enthused about chores since I’ve turned the positive into a negative. He knows if he does the work he gets rewarded, but then to get him in trouble and deduct – as if he never did the work – is going in the opposite direction. Oh well, let’s relax, manipulate our kids to help us around the house and then get creative in the other departments of child raising. This one is for the chores!

  12. Totally agree. If you don’t like this app – use another one. Don’t use it and complain. Chore monster works great in our house as with other families. Not doing their chores means they don’t get enough points for the rewards on Saturdays. Simple. Time out. No TV. No play dates – these are consequences in our house. Chore monster is a constant positive. Not a means of punishment. If you don’t agree with it’s process – choose another app – simple.

  13. I see that some of the parents on here want to make sure their child has a negative experience with doing household jobs, but I’m sure those same parents have problems with other areas. Being a bully to your own child doesn’t fix anything. I’m guessing you’re the same parents who take their toys away and do other things that just negatively reflect on you. You are never going to have a happy household if you do this and if that’s fine with you, so be it. I’d honestly suggest that you take a Love & Logic parenting class. You guys seem like you really need it.

    As for the system, I’m happy to hear that you (Chore Monster) won’t be giving the option to take away points. To me, I use chore monster as any chore system is supposed to be used. He does household contributions daily and I thank him for it, regardless if he does it spot on, as long as he showed effort. I do not and never will give him allowance for things he is supposed to do. Then, I use Chore Monster for extra chores if he wants to earn points towards a material reward. I have never had a problem with him finishing his contributions and his ‘chores’ for points are things I would be okay doing if he doesn’t want to do them.

  14. I’m very sorry to hear that YOU do not understand what chores are. I’m sure you have a lot of behavior problems in your home. If you don’t like the free app, don’t use it. Though, please get some help for your dictator parenting issues. It seems most people here get how to parent (take away opportunities and privileges, not already earned items and rewards) and I’m sorry you’re lacking in that area. Parents are here to help their kids through life with learning opportunities. Taking away things doesn’t help with this. Does your boss take away already earned hours when you piss him off? No. You know why? It ISN’T reality. What you’re doing is just causing tension.

    And to your “you must not make your kids do chores” comment. My son does his household contributions without me even having to ask most of the time. He does extra stuff beyond his required list for the points on here. He earns them, so I’m not going to be taking them away.

  15. If you want to use the system for other consequences, just offer more chore opportunities than before…then take them away if your kids are messing up. Saying you are losing the privilege of doing certain chores as a punishment for a time can work fine if you are creative about creating chores that they really want to do.

  16. I see there is a lot of mixed reviews on the taking away of points. Since chore monster will not allow me to take points, I have made a few “rewards” that will effectively take the points for me. For example, if he says no to us he loses five points. Or if he gets a yellow in school he loses ten points. I do very much like the app other than not being allowed to make the decision to take points away myself. Thanks for creating a great app!

  17. Chore Monster wasn’t showing bonus points that I gave my son and so I tried to do it several times. Because Chore Monster seemed like it wasn’t working properly on my phone, I ended up giving him a lot of points. When I went to the computer, all the points, from the repeated submissions were there. So I entered a bogus reward to deduct the points back from his account. Problem solved. BTW, Chore Monster is still crashing every time I open it on my phone, even though the app has been updated, which is a bummer. It’s a little tedious to go to the computer to check off chores.

  18. Totally agree with the article. It will take five seconds for kids to figure out that the points they earned might not be permanent and then two things will happen. One, your child will cash in for the small rewards early before you can take away other points, and not learn to save for something big. Two, Chore Monster will not ‘work’ any more – if the points can be taken away they are meaningless.
    If you accidentally added points just tell your kid and balance it out with their next chore.

  19. PLEASE READ AND THINK ABOUT! I disagree and agree By: Paris Glover age 11

    I think that there should be a setting for disabling and enabling points removal.

    Thats the way to make everyone happy. For the parents who agree with the article, you get your way. Points removal………. disable. Parents who disagree and want points removal…………… enable! If some parents who disagree with the article might say ” But my child may configure with the setting and change it.” Well then there should be a password you have to enter in order to get into the setting and to change it. This is the fair way. Please consider.

  20. I am not trying to take away points, but I wonder if there is a way I can remove the points for which my children have been rewarded on a weekly basis so that we may start the week fresh so they can see their points increase from 0 again. Please let me know how that can be done. Thank you.


  21. A useful compromise here would be to 1) enable parents to add a comment when they deny a kid’s request for points, and also 2) to allow parents to deny points (along with providing a reason) for time-sensitive chores that are not done but also are not claimed by kids. Regarding the first idea, Choremonster’s “Point Boost” is fantastic because it allows a customized reason for extra points. The same should be true when points aren’t approved. Regarding the second idea, some chores (such as “make bed before leaving for school”) ought be done by a particular point in time during the day. If a kid doesn’t do the chore when they’re supposed to, but does later in the day, they can currently still claim the points (and a parent who works 8a-5p wouldn’t know the difference).

  22. I agree with the app not allowing negative points. That’s fine. My problem is that I tested this out initially before explaining the concept to my kids and now I can’t remove those extra points! My OCD has a serious problem with starting them out at anything but 0.

  23. I am not trying to use this as punishment.
    the thing is we stopped using chore monster for quite some time, so those are no longer valid.

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