It Pays to Behave



Rylan Clark-Neal


Primal Media for Channel 4, 24 July 2020


Parents are challenged to alter their children's behaviour, with cash prizes on offer. The children are under the impression they're being filmed for a documentary; disclosure disqualifies the family.

The tasks are simple to explain. Get the children out for school on time. Spend an evening together without using screens. Pay each child an honest compliment. Take a family outing together.

The tasks are harder to complete. One of the children hasn't been on time for school all year. The family averages five hours of screen time each night. They haven't been out together in forever.

It Pays to Behave 24 channels from the house, and nothing on.

Each of the challenges was written for the family, addressing concerns that the parents had about their relationship with their children. The teenage children are allowed a voice, but they may not always be heard.

As the show progresses, we learn more about the relationships and dynamics within the family. For the family in the pilot, the biggest difference was a side-effect of the rules: shouting was not allowed, and when the father doesn't shout, it's a whole lot calmer.

Unusually for this soft education genre, there was no clear help available for the parents. After being given the challenges, they were on their own, with no psychologists or experts available. Nor did we viewers get any closure, there was no follow-up on how the family fared in the weeks or months after.

Title music

Original music: Sam Thompson


Games producer was Merel Taze.

Aired nearly 18 months after production.

Web links

Channel 4 programme page

See also

Britain's Best Parent?, which aired around the same time.

Weaver's Week review


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