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Demerits are a token economy used as a system of punishment in The Family. Each individual's demerits were typically reset weekly with punishments for accumulating different numbers of demerits during the week.

The punishments ranged from missing the weekly movie (See: "Video Night") to "Swats" and other corporal punishment.

Demerits could be accumulated for a variety of reasons, some ambiguous and broad like "pride" or "foolishness".

"Double Demerits" existed in some systems, making it easy to accumulate the dreaded six demerits that usually resulted in "swats" ("6 demerits 6 swats") during the course of a week for all but the most quiet of children.