Double Standard Violence Child On Adult
Kid hurts grown-up : okay; grown-up hurts kid = evil!
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-31 05:20:00 sponsor: SentaiToku edited by: ZuTheSkunk (last reply: 2014-07-22 11:16:05)

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It seems very common for people to let children to hurt adults, especially if its Played for Laughs and the perpetrators get away with it. On the other hand, any adult who hurts children tends to be seen as evil if said act is done, and tends to suffer Laser-Guided Karma.

One reason for that is that a young child (not a teenager, who is physically an adult) is assumed to be fairly easy for most adults to subdue while doing little harm to the child if the child becomes violent, and there's few parents out there who would want to wreck their children's lives by calling the cops if they already have the situation in hand. Also, while kids can be cruel, they are also perceived as innocent as well as extremely cute, and since adults are considered big and strong and capable, the child is very likely to get away with whatever horrible things they do to adults because not only is it entertaining, we can also fault the adult for being too incompetent to handle a child.

Note that inversions do happen, as demonstrated by Hilariously Abusive Childhood trope.

Related to Children Are Innocent and Kids Are Cruel. See Would Hurt a Child for when adults DO retaliate. Compare Kid Hero.


Examples

Comic Books
  • Donald Duck
    • In the classic comics (that is to say, by Carl Barks), before the kids became Junior Woodchucks, they were extremely naughty, mischievous brats, and Donald would smack, whip, and paddle their asses quite often, and it was not only played for laughs, it was strongly implied that they were getting their just desserts. This was phased out once they became Junior Woodchucks and started becoming more and more proactive, wise, mature do-gooders, almost to the point of sueishness, especially in the Don Rosa stories.
    • One particularly egregious story revolved around a child psychologist selling Donald on the idea that beating the kids up was evil, and that he had been stifling their creativity and should let them do as they please; Huey, Dewey and Louie abuse the situation to extreme levels, and act like whimsical, irresponsible brats. Once Donald catches on, he invites said psychologist at home for dinner and a chat, and, while he pompously lectures Donald, the kids blow fireworks under his armchair. His clothes singed, his face a mask of fury, he leaps at the kids, ready to beat the crap out of them, while Donald looks on, a smug grin on his face.
  • Runaways plays with this frequently. Molly Hayes has punched countless adults and older teenagers, usually with only the slightest provocation, and yet it's treated as humorous or even adorable, yet any adult who so much as threatens Molly (or later, Klara) tends to be treated as a monster who's crossed a line.

Film - Live-Action
  • Home Alone and the many, many rip-offs of it are a good example. Sure, the bad guys may be deserving of some pain, but Fridge Logic can make you think that at least some of those traps are pretty damn lethal, and if not Played for Laughs, the kid would probably get a counter-sue as high as attempted murder. A court of law in real life may not react very well if you tell them that you "self-defensed" yourself by dropping an active lawnmower on someone, no matter how much of a crook the other guy is.

Live-Action TV
  • The Slap thoroughly deconstructs this from several angles. Spoiled Brat Hugo is cheating at cricket at a family barbecue, causing a fight with the other children and lashing out with a cricket bat. When Harry, the father of one of the children, steps in to stop it, Hugo kicks him hard on the shin, and Harry responds with a hard slap across the face. The whole of the rest of the plot deals with the ramifications to the various family and friends who get dragged into the ensuing hostilities between Harry and the boy's Beloved Smother.

Religion
  • God doesn't subscribe to this trope: in The Bible, "And [Elisha the prophet] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." Yes, He had children rent apart by bears on a case of verbal abuse.In fact, you could extend His aversion of this trope to his interactions with every being in Creation.

Web Comic
  • In Better Days, a kid beats up a man with a baseball bat because he was going to rape the kid's mother.

Web Video
  • The Nostalgia Critic has the following reaction on seeing an adult beating up a twelve year old in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie: "Dude, you're beating a twelve-year-old! What an asshole!". Then not a second later, it cuts to the scene where the roles are reversed: "Dude, you're getting beaten up by a twelve-year-old! What an asshole!", with the tone completely changing from shock to amusement.

Western Animation
  • Codename: Kids Next Door revolves around his trope. Children beating up adults is played for laughs, while its played as a Kick the Dog moment when an adult hurts a child.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents, Vicky acts dominating towards her parents, causing them to fear her. This is always Played for Laughs. Imagine the reaction of the audience if the roles were reversed.
  • In Family Guy, Lois is assaulted at a supermarket by a group of children.
  • The Proud Family: On the Thingy episode, a group of toddlers beat up Oscar and nobody tries to call for help. Imagine the reactions if many adults ganged up on an infant.
  • In The Simpsons, the episode with George Bush (senior) as a guest character. The first act of the episode has Bart floating around the former president as a wannabe Dennis The Menace, simply causing havoc and Mr. Bush being unable to do more than fume while his wife is oblivious about Bart's antics and thinking he's a nice kid. When Bart shreds Mr. Bush's auto-biography, the former president has had enough and spanks Bart's bottom once before sending him home to "think about what he had done". Bart's response: go to Homer and tell him that Mr. Bush had hit him, making both guys (who had been chums during the first act) go on the (increasingly serious) warpath. At least once during the next two acts, Mr. Bush tells Homer that Bart deserved it because of destroying his auto-biography and other havoc and wants an apology, but Bart doesn't wants to give it and Homer doesn't care about it; Bush hit his kid, and Homer wants payback (hypocritical because, you know, the throttlings).
  • This is implied in SpongeBob SquarePants in the episode "The Bully," with Flats bullying his father, and his father being scared.

Real Life
  • Teenage on parent abuse is a very real thing, particularly when drug abuse becomes involved. It becomes a serious issue for the parents, as telling the police that your child assaulted you is not likely to be taken seriously.
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