Why does a refund increase the family’s balance owing?
When you issue a refund, you're physically returning money to that family. This means you have less money and the family has more money.
Refunds are typically only issued in the case of over-payment. For example, if a family paid you $200 cash for lessons at the beginning of the month, but then only received $150 worth of lessons before cancelling, you may wish to refund the remaining $50. In this case, you'd physically return the $50 cash to the family and recording it as a $50 refund in AthletaDesk. (This would reduce the family's account balance in AthletaDesk to $0).
If a family has a balance owing of $50 and you don't wish to collect it from the family, you would add a "Discount" to that family's account in AthletaDesk. This would reduce the family's balance owing even though no money has changed hands.
Tip: If you want to reduce what a family owes you, add a Discount to that family's account.
Put another way: Refunds reduce the balance paid. Discounts reduce the balance owing. Only use a refund if you have physically returned money to the family.