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Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something unpleasant or negative on a Sim in response to crimes or poor behavior. Fines have always been the most common form of punishment in The Sims series, but more recent games have featured other forms of punishment.
In The Sims, if a child's school grades remains at an F (failing) for a number of days, the child will be taken to military school. Subsequently, they were no longer playable, could not be retrieved or even viewed by the player, and the character was permanently lost. Other children in the household whose grades were at a D- or above are allowed to remain. Upon grades being diminished to D or lower, a warning message would be displayed.
Repossession and cutsEdit
If a Sim does not pay their bills on time will result in negative consequences for Sims. A repossession agent is sent to recover the items from a Sim's house[TS][TS2][TS3] or power and water will be cut[TS4] should bills remain unpaid for an extended period of time. Build and buy mode are disabled during this time in order to prevent the player from thwarting the agent's efforts. Sims react to repossessions in the same way they react to having items stolen by a burglar.
The social worker appears in the first three main installments of The Sims series. One of her main responsibilities is to remove babies, toddlers and children from households where they are being neglected, such as if they are left at home alone[TS2] or allowed to starve[TS2][TS3]. Once alerted by a young Sim's distress, she will remove all babies, toddlers and children from a household, even if only one was being neglected; the only exception being The Sims, where only babies can be taken away due to neglect. In The Sims 2 she also replaces the military school function from The Sims, as she removes any children from the household whose grades drop to an F (the equivalent teen punishment for poor grades is the loss of a part-time job and/or being unable to go to college). In The Sims, babies taken away due to neglect are then permanently lost to the player. In The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, young Sims who are removed are not permanently lost, but are available for adoption by other families. However, families who have already had one or more children taken away by the social worker are unable to adopt from that time onwards, meaning that they cannot simply re-adopt their own children once they have been taken away; however, any children naturally conceived after the social worker's intervention will be allowed to remain, provided their parents do not neglect them. The social worker will never intervene on behalf of a teen or older Sim. In The Sims 3: Pets, the social worker will intervene if pets are neglected of needs, and will remove all pets even if only one was being neglected. Pets removed by the social worker are permanently lost.
In The Sims 2, children and teens who do a deviant behavior such as breaking a computer or sneaking out will be lectured by their parents. The only penalty of this punishment is a drop in their relationships. Neighbors who are caught smashing the Will Lloyd Wright Dollhouse will also be lectured, regardless of age. Oddly, when a baby or toddler suffers a bladder failure in the crib, they may be lectured too.[n 1]
In The Sims 3, if a student slacks off in school, they will receive detention. Detention forces a student to stay an extra two hours at school which can interfere with part-time jobs and after school activities. During this time, the student will be unable to influence their grades and will receive the negative detention moodlet. Students with higher grades are less likely to get detention.
In The Sims, Sims in the top levels of the Criminal career track could randomly receive a career chance card, the potential negative outcome of which would result in them being sent to jail (off-screen) for a period of game time.
Sims who are in the Criminal career track in The Sims 3 run the risk of being sent to jail every time they go to work. If a criminal is sent to jail, they cannot be promoted on that day and job performance may suffer. While in prison, Sims can choose to work out to improve Athleticism, befriend other inmates, play dominoes, or simply serve their time peacefully.
Although they will not be imprisoned, teen Sims in The Sims 2 who are caught sneaking out with friends after dark without receiving parental permission, and their equivalents in The Sims 3 who break the town's 11PM curfew, run the risk of being caught by the police and escorted home in a squad car, resulting in a stern lecture from their parents and a negative memory/moodlet of being arrested.
If The Sims 3: Generations is installed, children and teenagers can be punished by their parents. If a parent sees their child doing something wrong such as playing a prank, being mean, or skipping school they will automatically walk over and punish their child; this interaction cannot be cancelled by the player. Mild mischief will only result in a scolding that gives the child a bad moodlet, but serious or repeated rule breaking will result in harsher forms of punishment. The child can have their punishment ended early by earning their parents' forgiveness. To earn forgiveness, the child must do their chores, such as cleaning or doing their homework.
Scoldings are the mildest parental punishment. Being scolded gives the child the negative "Got in Trouble" moodlet. Getting in trouble while having this moodlet will result in a time-out.
During a time-out, the child is ordered to stand in a corner for one hour while having the negative "Time-Out" moodlet. If the child is caught leaving time-out before the moodlet expires, he/she will have his/her privileges revoked. Teenagers can also be put in time-out.
More serious infractions are punished with having privileges revoked for one day. The child is given the "Privileges Revoked" moodlet and is not allowed to watch TV, play video games, or use the computer. The child will be grounded if they are caught doing so anyway.
Grounding is the harshest form of parental punishment in The Sims 3: Generations. Groundings are reserved for very serious infractions such as vandalizing the school, breaking curfew, or open defiance. The grounded child will receive the negative "Grounded" moodlet and will not be allowed to leave the house for the next two days. Grounded children and teens can attempt to sneak out when their parents are asleep or not around, but will have their grounding extended if they are caught. There is a bug, however, that makes teens unable to go to school while grounded, which can lead to further punishments from parents for "skipping school". If they attempt to go to school, they will be deemed to have snuck out. Both outcomes ultimately lead to an increase in the grounding period. This can be overcome, however, by getting a parent to tell the child/teen to "go to school!" (friendly social action). However, when they come home they will be scolded and the grounding will repeat itself. Sometimes the teen will sneak around even if they are in the house, and they may continue to sneak indefinitely after the grounding has ended.
In The Sims Medieval, minor crimes are punished by a trip to the stocks. A trip to the stocks will result in the negative Humiliated by Stocks buff which lasts for five hours after release. While imprisoned in the stocks, Sims are vulnerable to being pelted with eggs and tomatoes which will worsen the Humiliated by Stocks buff.
In The Sims Medieval, major crimes are punished by execution in the form of being fed to the pit beast. Sims who are high level heroes may be able to survive a trip to the pit beast, but most Sims will not.