Created By: BonsaiForest on February 12, 2014 Last Edited By: Arivne on May 1, 2014

Kid Boss

A kid commands adults around.

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Page Type:
Trope
In real life, if we saw a little kid of elementary school age commanding adults around, the adults just following the kid's orders as if it was perfectly natural, we'd wonder if we'd woken up in the Twilight Zone. How would such a thing be possible?

But in fiction, it is. Sometimes the boss is a kid. This can happen on an adventure with a Kid Hero who ends up encountering adults who join the kid on their quest. It's less noticeable if the adults who join the kid are non-human, such as fairies or animals. Other times, it can be jarring, if the story takes place in a contemporary setting and adults such as lawyers and construction workers do the bidding of a child, though it can be more believable if the kid is very wealthy and is ordering servants around, though even then, one would expect the kid's parents to be the ones giving the orders.

Not to be confused with A Child Shall Lead Them, which is when a kid is literally a king/queen/world leader of some sort. Related to Young and in Charge, except that trope is about leaders being younger than their charges - which can include a twentysomething who leads older adults. See also Improbable Age, when a kid has a profession that realistically, a kid wouldn't be expected to have.

Examples

Film
  • North has the titular North, who manages to get adults everywhere to kiss his ass and bend to his will, and his archnemesis Winchell commands a hitman, lawyer and others to do his bidding, including attempting to assassinate North. Both characters are eleven.
  • The Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz has Dorothy Gale, a girl who ends up in a fantastical world, and commands adult but non-human characters such as a lion, a scarecrow, and more to join her on her quest and help her out. Indeed, the "kid commands adults" trope is common in fantasy adventures where the adults are non-human.
  • Blank Check has a boy who suddenly becomes rich and decides to buy a castle and have it remade to suit him. Throughout the film, he is seen commanding movers, a butler, and more.

Literature
  • Artemis Fowl. The title character is a Teen Genius who inherited his father's entire crime syndicate and did very well for himself.

Video Games
  • Kingdom Hearts has Sora, who is canonically said be 14 years old, leading Donald Duck and Goofy around as he travels to different worlds to save the multiverse. Donald and Goofy, while being cartoon animals, are adults as judging by their behavior in their own cartoon shorts.

Real Life
  • Joan of Arc was only 16 when she led armies to multiple victories in 14th century France.

Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • February 12, 2014
    Koveras
  • February 12, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Relation to Young And In Charge?
  • February 12, 2014
    BonsaiForest
    Damn it. There are enough similiarities that there's crossover, and yet not one of these examples is on that page.
  • February 12, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ add it there then. unless this is somehow really different.

    or maybe ask in Trope Description Improvement Drive to merge/change the description of Young And In Charge to this.

    this draft had a better description IMO. and it would be a waste to discard it.
  • February 12, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    EDIT: wait, i'm wrong. the Young And In Charge is Exactly What It Says On The Tin. the leader is younger than the members. meaning a team of geezers with someone in his forties as a leader counts there.

    A team of adults being led by a high school student or a platoon of senior veterans being led by a 20 something captain has a different connotation from a team of adults being led by a fifth grader.

    stupid description, why even bother putting "maybe even a kid" then? kid examples there go here.
  • February 12, 2014
    StarSword
    We've already got Improbable Age.
  • February 12, 2014
    Koveras
    When a Protagonist Title is used to refer to the character rather than the entire work in an example, it shouldn't be italicized. Otherwise, it reads like "The book series by Eoin Colfer is a Teen Genius..."
  • February 12, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Film
    • Gordy. This become something of a plot point; the elderly wealthy magnet of Royce Industries leaves his entire corporation to Gordy in his passing... however, since Gordy is a pig, Royce's grandson Hanky pretty much calls the shots, as he's the only human in this movie who can understand Gordy.
  • February 12, 2014
    DennisDunjinman
    I'll also add Tiny Tyrannical Girl to the list.
  • February 12, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Star Sword that makes Young And In Charge a duplicate trope that should be cut then.
  • February 12, 2014
    BonsaiForest
    Gordy is a pig and not a human, so I don't think he'd count.
  • February 12, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    ^ I know, but as I said, the grandson (Gordy's owner) pretty much is calling the shots since nobody else can understand Gordy, and the grandson does use some of this to his advantage, such as order an immediate shut down of a slaughter house owned the corportation.
  • February 12, 2014
    DAN004
    This is The Same But More to Young And Incharge.

    That said, I have an example
    • in Mega Man Battle Network 2, the leader of the evil organization Gospel turns out to be a kid named Shun Obihiro.
  • February 12, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Then what of Improbable Age?
  • February 13, 2014
    Arivne
    Examples of this trope are Justified if the child is actually paying the adults to work for him, as in the Blank Check example.
  • February 13, 2014
    DAN004
    Kid Boss can also be confused with a kid who commands other kids around...
  • February 13, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Then file for a better name...

    that said, Kid Orders Adults Around. yeah, lame...
  • February 13, 2014
    Green5
    How about My Boss Is A Kid?
  • February 13, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ sounds like Stock Phrase

    ^^ I like that.
  • February 13, 2014
    ropertroper
    • The Weird Al Show: In the episode "Because I Said So", Weird Al's boss sends his nephew to Al's cave for a day, and since he's the bosses nephew, Al has to let him boss him around.
  • April 24, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • In Tropic Thunder the head of the drug cartel is about 11 years old.
    • Played With in Mork And Mindy: Orkans age backwards, so the one time we see one of Mork's superiors he looks like an early teen at best, but in Orkan he's in late middle age and the years are starting to catch up with him.
  • April 25, 2014
    DAN004
    Okay, so explain the difference between this, Young And In Charge and A Child Shall Lead Them.
  • April 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Damn, can't you even provide me with a decent challenge?

    • Young And In Charge — The guy in charge is younger than the members.
      • Team Geezer(aged around 80) is led by the family man Bob who is in his 40's.
      • The New Age Church has a very low age limit in who they choose as Archbishop, the youngest possible 30, while on other churches, the limit is 70 years.

    • A Child Shall Lead Them — A kid is a monarch.
      • Alex was crowned king of Troperia when he was still 10, because his father died from an Incurable Cough Of Death. He's pretty competent at the job too.
      • The crowned emperor of Ceres is Xiao Mao, who is 16 year old. All his generals and advisers are men around their forties. His wife is in her 30's and already have 2 children.

    • Kid Boss — Kid orders adults around, or is literally their boss.
      • Trope Co's President and CEO is Axel, who is 10 years old. Which explains all the Crazy Awesome products their company makes millions producing, since he's the brainchild of most of them. He is well liked and respected despite his inexperience because of this.
  • April 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    also, any monarch example in Young And In Charge belongs to A Child Shall Lead Them, since it's a subtrope, and so is this.
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ that's my problem here - some people think their proposed trope are limited to a certain scope (genre, setting, media etc) when in fact it is possible to put them all in one large place. (Gonna admit, I'm mainly a lumper.)

    That is, ACSLT is about a monarch and this... is about non-monarch. Is that the difference?
  • April 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ So, ya saying we lump President Evil. Mayor Pain, Evil Overlord, because they are all "evil leaders"? There's no difference between mayors and presidents, much less evil emperors right?
  • April 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ What if I say exactly?
  • April 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ holy crap, then GTFO and TRS these things. we'll see how that turns out.

    ...And I thought I was a Knight Templar lumper...
  • April 28, 2014
    DAN004
    Thoroughness, man. Thoroughness.

    Gonna go to Ask The Tropers first...

    And there should be a Super Trope to evil leaders. Maybe I gonna make that one.
  • April 29, 2014
    MagBas
    I found this example in Improbable Age:

    • Royal Navy Midshipmen did start off at age 12 or so. They could be expected to command men, men 20 years older, as needed being in the chain of command.
  • April 29, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    On Hannah Montana Rico, age 12, is Jackson's boss at the surf shack he works at. (Technically he starts at out as Jackson's boss's son but this was conveniently forgotten about pretty quickly)

    ....Or So I Heard
  • April 29, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Improbable Age, by definition, would be Super Trope to this.
  • April 29, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: Homer watches a Mid Season Replacement One Joke Show "Admiral Baby" about a baby which becomes a US Navy admiral.
    Officer #1 (on TV): We're taking the entire sixth fleet to Candy Island?
    Officer #2 (on TV): Those are the Admiral's orders!
    Marge (watching): It's hard to believe someone that young could have risen to the rank of Admiral.
  • April 29, 2014
    KingZeal
  • April 29, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ ha, now that's spot on.

    but tell me... does Dorothy of Oz count as a CEO? how about Sora of Kingdom Hearts?
  • April 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ Leader =/= always CEO.
  • April 30, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Which means Grade School CEO and A Child Shall Lead Them are both subtropes to this draft.
  • April 30, 2014
    DAN004
    Title should be Kid Orders Adults Around.
  • April 30, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    OP is presumably dead. but we can't do a thing yet.
  • May 1, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ The OP Bonsai Forest last posted here on February 12th, so it looks like they've forgotten about it.

    According to the Up For Grabs page anyone can take over a YKTTW proposal two months after the OP's last post.

    On April 12th, this proposal became Up For Grabs: anyone can take it over and/or launch it.
  • May 1, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Hah, Dibs on— !!

    Remembers he currently has thirteen YKTTW's

    ....maybe not... even Cave Cat doesn't overload herself.
  • May 1, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ huh?
  • May 1, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ I'm saying I'm not going to add this in my backlog. And I compare myself to my idol Cave Cat, who sponsors shitton of YKTTW.
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