The Sims 4 Parenthood embraces teen drama

The Sims 4 version of Kevin the Teenager

The Sims 4 [official site] Parenthood pack is out now. The Parenthood pack is distinct from the toddler update which arrived in January and fleshed out that post-baby, pre-school period for the characters in your digital dollhouse. Toddlers were a free update, whereas Parenthood is paid DLC which seeks to change the relationships between parent and child characters making it more about guiding the development of your young charges and having interactions that are specifically designed around that caregiver/kid dynamic.

It’s interesting in that the interactions between parent and child will influence the character values of that child. There are elements like conflict resolution and manners as well as empathy and emotional control. The idea is that as parent characters level up their parenting skill they unlock new skills. They can also learn new options by talking to other parents, looking online, or consulting grandparents. The interpersonal management now includes things like dealing with sibling rivalry, issuing time-outs and punishments as well as reassurance when kids need it. Or withholding it like a jerk, I suppose. LIFE IS PAIN.

I’m interested in how much fun this actually turns out to be as I’ve never found the child sims engaging before. I’m also wondering how much variation there can really be here because I can’t imagine The Sims devs wanting to go near anything that might be construed as cruelty? Although you could have your kids taken away from you in earlier games so perhaps that would happen here if you lean too hard into mean options?

At the moment I’m curious to see what people do with the pack and whether it adds that meaningful depth to the family dynamics. If you do pick it up let me know how it goes – I know that from the community responses I’ve seen so far there’s a really positive buzz about the pack. I’ve also been poking through the crop of let’s plays which have cropped up like mushrooms since release to see how it actually works in practice. Here’s one from Andrew Arcade which helped me see what was what – it’s incredibly in-depth compared with what I was expecting!

I recently dipped back into vanilla Sims 4 to play with the PlantSim event. I found myself considering some of the expansions and other packs but it was in that slightly irritated way where I feel like I’ve got the bare bones of the game and am now expected to shell out for the bits which make it the experience I actually want.

I think I’ve spoken before about how I wish The Sims 4 had a subscription model so I could go back to it for a few months at a time with all the bits I want available. As it is I tend to play, feel kind of unsatisfied in vanilla, look at the paid expansions of various types, feel annoyed at feeling pressured into spending more and then stop. Obviously if The Sims is the only game you play or is the main game on your roster it’s a very different value proposition so this is more by way of an explanation as to why I’m unlikely to pick up the Parenthood stuff. But yes. If you do play and if you do pick it up tell me your thoughts!

The Sims 4 Parenthood game pack is out now and costs £14.99.


  1. Cropduster says:

    Obligatory “I miss TS3” post, but I really do.

    In TS4 my home is my prison, while TS3 towns were like painstakingly constructed model railways. Anorak nirvana basically.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Dunc says:

      I also loved building towns in The Sims 3, and populating it with weird and wonderful characters, right up to the point that the Code 12 error (out of memory) kept appearing whenever I tried to save the game.

      • Cropduster says:

        Never got that one, but I won’t miss needing 80gig+ of SSD space and countless hours of tweaking the mods that override EA’s daft town management settings. Or the bugs, 10 minite load times, crashes and generally terrible performance.

        But in spite of all that I had a way better time with it than I’ll ever have with 4 sadly. It just feels very unambitious for one of the biggest franchises ever.

        I’d love to see a smaller team take a swing at a spiritual sucesor.

      • criskywalker says:

        That dreadful error ruined the game for me. While 3 was massive and full of stuff it also felt disjointed and bugged.

        • walrus1 says:

          I never felt like it was disjointed but it’s bugged to hell and back. I always give up on it not because I’m bored but the bugs got so so bad the more you play.

      • tehfish says:

        The sims 3 is odd.
        Something utterly ridiculous like ~66% of the DLC is required to get enough functionality to get what should be the base game, but by that time it’s bloated into a HDD-destroying monstrosity* :P

        Also fun times of your sim jumping into a car and driving past multiple lots of unloaded textures/models while your GPU sits there with less than 1/8 of it’s RAM in use, then to drive back to find everything that has been previously loaded has been unloaded, so you get even more unloaded textures… If you’re lucky, things might just load if you stay in one place for 30+seconds…
        (And thats with an SSD, not a HDD)

        Technically, it’s an unmitigated disaster. But theres a good game hidden behind a horror of a game engine, but you need a lot of patience to see that.

        *I reinstalled sims 3 a few months ago, it’s chewing up 65GB of space, ~20GB of that in the ‘my documents’ folder alone.

  2. Zorgulon says:

    The Sims series has always been one I’ve gone back to periodically, and I’ve had fun with each of the first three instalments in different ways.

    I’ve still not gotten into The Sims 4 – there are some interesting features I’d like to play around with and this new pack seems like it’s adding some new and interesting character-building dynamics. But the relative barebones of the base game, and the criticism of the scope of the game, which seems massively reduced from the third, even before all the expansion packs, means I’m holding off. That and the price, of course. Need a good sale or a bundled pack.

    • Zorgulon says:

      Replying to my own comment because the Edit function seems to be nonfunctional:

      Pip is quite correct in that a subscription model would be ideal. However EA seem to be making enough money off the tried-and-tested approach that they’re unlikely to consider that option any time soon.

  3. Arglebargle says:

    Gave up after Sims2. It’s become a poorly designed, poorly conceptualized cash cow forEA. If only SimSpeak wasn’t so cool….

  4. Mungrul says:

    I’d say that the essential Sims 4 bits and bobs are probably Vampires, Get to Work and City Living.

    While Vampires isn’t as generous as its Sims 3 forebear, Supernatural, it’s still jolly good fun. Being able to create alternative, vampiric forms of outfit for your Sims is particularly ace.

    Get to Work adds active careers, which allow you to tag along with your Sim when they go to work, and they’re all a good laugh.

    And City Living adds back some of that Sims 3 community feel, as long as you move your Sims into one of the new areas in San Myshuno.

    Of the rest, Outdoor Retreat is probably the best, offering a holiday destination and associated activities. Trouble is, again when compared to its Sims 3 version, World Adventures, it comes off anaemically light on content.

    Still, I think I’ve said this before: while the sheer amount of content The Sims 3 offered in comparison was great, with a couple of expansions installed it became incredibly sluggish. Unplayably so if you tried to load more.
    The Sims 4 however? Reamins totally playable with everything installed, plus shedloads of custom content.
    I’ll take stability and playability over quantity every time.

    I do miss my witches, wizards and martial arts tournaments though.

    • Zorgulon says:

      Thanks for the recommendations. When I finally see a price reduction, I know what to plump for first :).

  5. Captain Narol says:

    Interesting addition, but it won’t be enough to make me do the jump from TS3.

    Please give me a ping when the game is finished and out of early access.

  6. Ejia says:

    There seems to be an inordinate amount of love for TS3, but I never got into it the way I did for TS2 and now 4. The big problem I can’t get over in the latter though is that I cannot simply add new lots as I please.

    • Mungrul says:

      Yeah, that is a bit of a shame, but again, I suspect this was a conscious design decision during development in order to keep the game playing smoothly.
      The thing I probably miss the most from TS3 is the custom material tool, and I suspect that was a victim of the same decision.