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.
- 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.
- Artemis Fowl. The title character is a Teen Genius who inherited his father's entire crime syndicate and did very well for himself.
- 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.
- Joan of Arc was only 16 when she led armies to multiple victories in 14th century France.