This is not so. Well, to be fair, they do eat your time, all your food and - in the case of my planet-devouring son - a number of home furnishings but, if you involve your children in your interests, then there is hope that your life is not yet over.
To that end, I often amuse myself by bombarding my children with shameless geekery. It's early days with the baby - who really just wants to eat the comics - but Rose, my four-year-old daughter, has a decent knowledge of DC Comics characters, thanks largely to Justice League Unlimited, Batman: the Brave and the Bold and early cinema Superman cartoons.
Here, masquerading as something valid to do with a bored child, is the proof, brought to you by the magic of shorthand and a day when it was too cold to go out.
All of the pictures below are linked (with all due respect) from the official site for DC Comics. All characters are copyright DC, of course.
My first daughter and the Last Son of Krypton
We started with an easy one:
Immediately, she grinned, "That's the Flash! He can run very fast and he can keep up with other people who are going really, really fast."
Then she added, all in a Speed Force-fuelled rush, "He can put his socks on really fast. He puts his superhero clothes on very fast and never misses any problems because he's so fast. He's the fastest man in the whole, wide world but you're not as fast as the Flash, are you, Daddy?"
I quietly agreed and, slightly deflated, moved on.
Thanagarian weapons for beginners
In petty revenge, I hit her with two at once:
This was more tentative. "Er... Hawkmans?" To be fair, it's not too clear a picture of Hawkgirl at this size. Rose is a Hawkgirl fan.
"They can fly. And they have a wand that's round but it's spiky on the round bit. They hit baddies."
A little perturbed by talk of hitting, I pressed the point. She said it's "not good to hit people but it's good to hit baddies because that's what helping's all about."
I was genuinely concerned by this, and the effect that cartoons might be having, so I emphasised that superheroes are only pretend and hitting is wrong. She agreed straight away, a little impatient with my stupidity. "I know, daddy. It's only a story!"
That's me told, then.
This one was a toughie, especially with the new costume:
And she has very specific suspicions about why Green Lantern and Hawkgirl were kissing.
What this really proves is you only get so much time with your children and it's best to make the most of it. There's no need to give up your interests if you can involve them, even if cycling or swimming or something is a little bit more healthy than gathering a boxroom full of mouldering comics.
While I typed some of this up, Rose went off and got into her crayons and paper pile, then came back and presented me with this:
It's a book she made for me, and it's full of drawings of superheroes. She did it with no prompting and no help at all.
This is Superman at the North Pole (probably inspired by the cartoon version of "The Man Who Has Everything").:
This is Wonder Woman (I prefer this new costume):
This is the Flash: