The Sims 4 tries to replicate reality, which in some cases means including a number of somber mechanics. Neglect your kids, for example, and the game will actually send a non-player character to take your virtual children away. The problem is that The Sims 4 is making it impossible for some virtual parents to do their duty right now.
Technically, The Sims doesn’t call it child protective services, but the mechanic is exactly that in all but name. In previous iterations, games spawns a social worker if certain conditions are met. As The Sims Wiki explains, this social worker will “will take away a baby, toddler, child, or pet if their needs drop too low, or in later games, if there are no more older Sims remaining in the household (i.e. due to death). They also will come to deliver adopted kids to their new family.”
The Sims 4 doesn’t have an actual person knocking on your door, but the game will still make your child fade away into nothingness if it determines that you are neglecting them. Depending on the situation, the game will sometimes warn you before it takes your kid away — like say, if the child is performing poorly in school.
According to player reports, the bug that can make you lose your children manifests in a number of ways. A ticket posted to EA support forums, for example, notes that a fan had her Sims’ kid play with a toy, only for that object to become permanently stuck on the child. From there, the child couldn’t actually do anything, including eat or sleep. The thread reporting this issue has 17 pages filled with similar issues on the forum alone, with even more reporting similar situations on social media.
“My poor little toddler was in such a happy mood, but now so angry for being hungry and having to go [to the bathroom],” one player says.
“When they try to go to sleep, they lay down then get right back up,” another says. “When they try to potty they sit down and stand up. When the parent tries to bathe them, the parent basically dunks them in the tub then back out.”
Given that building families is one of the major cornerstones of the modern Sims franchise, this seemingly minor bug has huge consequences for players trying to enjoy the game. It’s especially a burden for some popular in-game challenges that revolve around rearing children.
Many players are stumbling on this issue after their toddler picks up a tablet and then refuses to put it down. Others say that their kids are refusing to eat or sleep. Together, this glitch ironically makes raising a baby hilariously true to life — what kid isn’t obsessed with YouTube on the iPad? — except, in this case, the kid will never relent. It’s leading players to use workarounds, as EA has not yet patched the issue.
“I’ve had to use the debug cheat need because of the risk of taking them away since I can’t feed them,” one player says.
i got so frustrated playing the sims last night because i have twin toddlers and one of them was angry because she was tired and she was so angry she wouldn't SLEEP i literally was so close to just letting her die.. i had to age her up bc shit stressed me out— ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ (@chuumooni) July 2, 2019
It’s not just that this glitch makes raising a family impossible: it’s that, if left unchecked, the game will swoop in and decide it means that you are neglecting your children. Some players are having their kids taken away, while others are on the brink of losing their offspring.
Only just started the Sims 4 and already had my toddler taken off me because it wouldn't eat the animal crackers I gave it even though they were starving. Stress.— Steph (@gizmololz) June 30, 2019
im literally going to make social services take away my sims toddler he won’t do what i tell him to do and he’s starving and he’s a big dumb idiot clown— ☁️ (@EmmalineW2005) June 26, 2019
Also since the last #Sims4 update, my Sims keep getting stuck in the bathroom, and my toddlers keep refusing to eat (i.e. they pick up the food and put it back down without eating) until the social worker comes and takes them away— impudent strumpet (@impstrump) June 26, 2019
sims keeps glitching for me my toddler won’t fuckin eat or bathe or sleep bc he’s holding a toy and i can’t get him to put it away so i guess he’s gonna get taken away xoxox— ciara (@dorkdrums) June 27, 2019
“My toddler was taken and the rest of the family is crushed with sadness,” a player on the EA forum says.
Maxis did not respond in time for publication, but given that the problem has been around for a couple of weeks now, hopefully a fix is on its way.