How 'The Sims' Doomed My Future Parenting Skills

Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In the course of playing The Sims , I have drowned countless characters, burned down a house, and had a dog eaten by a Venus flytrap. In the course of all of this destruction, I began to wonder about my fitness to function in the adult world. I wondered if I one day these constant disasters I unintentionally (most of the time) inflicted on my Sims would one day translate into my off-screen life. Mostly, I wondered if I should ever be responsible for another human. In other words, a child.

The Sims children. You have spent time trying to manage an adult Sim, learning how to manage the quirks that you yourself gave them. Then you've got a new little character that has absolutely no skills, can't pay bills, and can only contribute to society by making good grades and making dumb art projects. You have no control over how they turn out, and you end up spending all of your hard-earned cash supporting them. Isn't that annoying?

But wait. That's kind of what having a child is like. A human child. One that you have actual consequences for, especially if you let it play in the pool by itself.

Here are some of the parenting lessons that I've learned from playing The Sims, and almost-certain proof that I will never procreate.

Time-out

I worked at a preschool, and if you threatened the kids with "the yellow chair" it struck extreme and immediate fear into their little hearts. That was all you had to do to correct bad behavior. With my Sim children, I was a little more harsh. If they were being particularly annoying, they were sent to their room...and then I deleted the door.

Chores

I was always forced to do chores when I was a kid, just as you likely were. It's character-building, and we're better people for it, I swear. That's the same rationale I used when I had Sims children and fired the maid. Why should I pay someone to do it when I have free labor that I can act angry with to get them to desperately clean for my love and affection? My therapist said that is kind of what my dad did to me anyway...

Care and feeding

If there is one important lesson — that I hope is 100 percent true — that I've learned is that it is perfectly acceptable to call the caterer or get a robot to feed your kids when you don't feel like cooking for them.

Troubled kids

There is nothing quite as terrifying as the ire you face from pre-teens and teenagers. We've all taken turns inflicting it on our parents, just as they did theirs. It's a right of passage, and, presumably with a human child, you try to work through behavioral problems that come with these years. With my Sims children, I waited until they misbehaved enough for it to be permissible to send them away to boarding school. Parent of the year, indeed.