Troubling Unchildlike Behavior
"TWELVE? Twelve years old? You lost your virginity when you were twelve?"
Kids should be kids
, at least that's how the saying goes. That means worrying about little kid things and doing little kid things, such as playing on the trampoline, watching TV, going fishing, or whatever it is that kids do locally. What we don't expect kids to do is to drink alcohol, smoke, have sex, use drugs, hitchhike, commit violent crimes, or do other things we associate only with teenagers or adults. Yes, many adults are upset when a teenager drinks beer, but it's disturbing when a 10-year-old does it.
In fiction, there's two ways this tends to occur. Sometimes the kid is shown engaging in such behavior as though it's normal for them, and this can be used to show that the child has had a harsh upbringing. Other times, the kid is trying an "adult" behavior for the first time, which may sometimes have disastrous consequences
The Creepy Child
, the Enfant Terrible
and the Evil Orphan
draw much of their force from this. The Fake Cutie
may also be prone to this, but not all the time. From the Mouths of Babes
is the Sub-Trope
where the child only says
troubling unchildlike things.
The Fille Fatale
is considered this less than is plausible, since sexual precociousness is often a sign of sexual abuse.
are a particularly tragic and horrific example of this.
For when kids see
things (or have things happen to them) that they shouldn't instead of do
things they shouldn't, see Harmful to Minors
. A Teenage Wasteland
runs on this.
Contrast with Wise Beyond Their Years
, which is about positive strangely-adult behavior, and Acting Your Intellectual Age
, which is neutral.
Note that if the kid is Really 700 Years Old
and just has the physical appearance of a child, it doesn't count. This is for when actual children are the ones engaging in the unchildlike behavior.
This is Truth in Television
insofar as there are indeed preteens out there who smoke, drink alcohol, have sex with each other, and so on. This is often the result of a neglectful or abusive family
Examples of kids engaging in such behavior as though it's normal for them:
open/close all folders
- This hilarious condom commercial. It shows a five year old getting a tattoo, cutting his teacher's chair with a chainsaw and being stopped by the police after stealing a car. He continuously explains that his mom said he could. It turns out he'd overheard her cry out "Yes! Yes! Yes!" during sex in another room and assumed that she was replying to him.
Anime & Manga
- Damian Wayne in Grant Morrisons Batman. He's a ten-year-old who is firmly convinced that he's the natural successor to his father's legacy and Dick Grayson is an idiot. In addition to being a particularly grim (and potentially deadly) Robin, he is frighteningly efficient at running Wayne Enterprises.
- With Damian, several characters acknowledged it was a bad thing. Bruce originally didn't let him out in the field, and he only became Robin under Dick. Dick got him to act a little more normal though Dick's extreme own personal combo of experience, patience, and just being a good person. Stephanie, after learning Damian had never really played in his life, pretty much forced him onto a moon-bounce with her (though she admitted she was pretty sure he wasn't joking about stabbing her several times during her run) and usually ignored him when he got bratty. Damian acted a little more like a kid around Colin Wilkes (probably to put Colin, who was the same age, more at ease), but it was a major change form his original characterization.
- Tim and many other people still found him very unnerving even by the time of the reboot, though.
- One of the major themes in Batman and Robin from the New 52 reboot is the difficulty Bruce is having in keeping Damian under control.
- Minor Batman villain "The General" was a boy-prodigy that was obsessed with military tactics, and used them to gain a foothold in Gotham's criminal world. That place has the worst luck, doesn't it?
- Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Hero Anarky is an intelligent, politically-aware would-be terrorist whose tactics against the corporate elite and the gears of the state range from "hacktivism" to straight-up bombing. He started doing all this when he was twelve.
- In Kick-Ass, if you are in any way associated with organized crime, Hit-Girl will brutally chop you up and shoot you in the head while cursing like a sailor. She's a cute 10 year old.
- A short scene in the film inverts this for a while. Her father is very disturbed that she is acting like a normal girl, until she reveals she's screwing with him.
- Crossed children appear to be no less foul-mouthed, kill-happy, or rape-happy than their adult counterparts.
- The latest version of the Hellfire Club in X-Men. Members include a boy who sold his seven brothers into intergalactic slavery to claim the family fortune and another who dissected his first Atlantean when he was eight. The leader is a Self-Made Orphan.
- Recurring but lesser-known villain The Gorgon from Marvel qualifies; though it's not shown, he was described as being born with near-full-adult intellect, saying his first words at two weeks, walking at three weeks (and only took that long because his body had to build up) and being fully literate before his first birthday. He also first tried to commit suicide at age six, shortly after writing his first opera, and mathematically proved the existence of the One-Above-All by 13, three more suicide attempts later due to realizing how utterly insignificant and worthless not just himself but the entirety of humanity was to the universe at large. "Prodigy" barely covers his mental ability, and if he hadn't developed the mutant power to turn people to stone by looking at them (hence the name Gorgon) and hooked up with HYDRA around the time most of us are just starting to plan for college, he probably would have ended up successfully killing himself.
- X-23's first assassination was at age 9. She was immediately put to work by the Facility afterwards, and by 16 she's an accomplished enough killer to worry Captain America. Justified since she was bred and raised from birth specifically to be a Living Weapon, but her utter ruthlessness and cold detachment makes her an even better killer than Wolverine. It's mildly subverted in that she doesn't want to be a weapon, but it nonetheless comes completely naturally to her.
- In Marijuana Simpson Maggie can't be older than ten, yet she smokes pot constantly with the rest of the Simpson Family.
- Rose Potter (from The Girl Who Lived septology fame/infamy) murders Professor Quirrel at the age of eleven, and encourages her friends to use lethal force by the age of fifteen. She's also in an active sexual relationship by about that time.
- Commander Adriatic Huxton of the Battlestar Galactica fanfic "The Long War" seems to have this in his backstory. He so far has been attributed to killing a couple partially responsible for the death of his family, when he was five years old. Given that after this he would have been living alone in a ruined city and that he's a paranoid schizophrenic, there's a good chance that he's done more.
- Later on, in the Gensokyo 20XX series, we have Reimu. Being mentally reconditioned to and being so detached from pain stimuli as a result, she has been noted to be harming herself, something that a normal person wouldn't find from a three year old, not one without severe mental or behavioral problems, unless otherwise. To top it off, Reimu has a habit of hitting, scratching, and biting others, apparently, unaware that the others can and do respond to pain and injuries or she is merely trying to relearn how to feel and respond to pain, though the former is likely than the latter.
- In 20XXV, it was noted she had tried to stab someone with scissors but it is never known why, then again, she is suffering from kind of mental illness. In chapter 82, she does succeed in stabbing Yume Ni with a pair of scissors and that was after the latter kicked her in the face.
- In that vein, we have Yume Ni and she is noted to be fairly violent for a child, this even escalating to a degree that she tried to toss Reimu over railing without a second thought as to whether or not that could kill her and this isn't first time she has actually been that cruel to them, though the trying to kill Reimu thing ism't arguably new, seeing as she did come close to seriously injuring the other kids.
- In Kill la Kill AU, we have an eight-year old juvenile delinquent Ryuuko smoking, as well as the fact that she has led a life of crime, earning the nickname "Repeat Offender". In that vein, we Nui, Mako, and Nonon who are also delinquents and they smoke, as well as the fact that, as a first time offender, Nui has gotten multiple charges, to which she shrugs off like it nothing.
- There is also the fact that Ryuuko counts how long she has to live, which is not typical for a nine-year old. The fact that she does is this and depressing.
- Ojamajo Doremi Rise Of The Shadows: The Shadow Ojamajos. They act like complete jerks, mock the heroes when their friend is killed, and show no qualms over outright killing people in cold blood.
- Played for laughs in the Christmas side-story of the Broken Bow series when Apollo asks an eight-year-old Armani why he's wearing the Santa hat he hates so much.
(While reading The Art of War
) Sun Tzu says, "To know your Enemy, you must become
(To Lanaya) Why couldn't you have just bought him a Where's Waldo
- A kid Nui from Maim de Maim was already disturbing, however, the kicker comes from her skinning a girl alive to make a kamui and the fact that what she did gave Ragyou pause and horrified even herself, giving her an My God, What Have I Done? moment doesn't help this.
- Frank Berkman in The Squid and the Whale. Twelve-year-old Frank drinks beer and — most disturbingly — appears to fantasize about raping his mother. It's unclear whether this behaviour is normal for him or is a response to the tension in his life at that point (his parents are separating, and all of this takes place on a day when they've accidentally abandoned him at home alone).
- Thelma and Elizabeth in Little Sweetheart. Both of them are guilty of stalking, theft and blackmail. Elizabeth also mentioned watching porn on TV at one point (it was 1989). Thelma is solely guilty of attempted murder and using a cop to murder someone and filing a false police report.
- Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed is a multiple murderess before hitting puberty...and completely calm about the whole thing. They changed the ending for the film, though...
- Hailee Steinfeld's portrayal of the 14-year-old Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers' version of True Grit is, even though she isn't a child anymore, very disconcerting in its seriousness and vengefulness.
- The controversial Hounddog has Lewellen, its 11-year-old main character, drinking alcohol. This is considered normal in her family.
- Lilya 4-ever has its title character drinking, smoking and sniffing glue at the age of 14. Then family troubles (specifically lack of any family) force her to enter prostitution. It all goes downhill from there.
- The movie Young Thugs: Nostalgia has protagonist 6th grader Riichi Nakaba get drunk twice in the movie. In one scene his family and the guests at the party encourage him to get drunk.
- The movie Sugar Cane Alley has eleven-year-old Josť Hassan and his friends (one a girl who is probably no older than eight bought the vodka and said it was for her parents to the clerk) get so drunk that they laugh as they set a shack on fire.
- The sex worker Iris in Taxi Driver gives off an aura of grace, poise, and sexually-charged sophistication. She's also twelve. Jodie Foster's performance was by far the most unsettling thing about the film, even overshadowing de Niro's own performance as the increasingly sociopathic Travis Bickle.
- And Jodi Foster again as the murderous and seductive Rynn in The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane.
- Hard Candy runs on this alarmingly. The protagonist tracks down, incapacitates, tortures, and drives a pedophile to suicide. She's (allegedly) fourteen years old. Originally it was planned for her to reveal at the end of the movie that she was really 18, averting this, but the line was cut and her exact age is left ambiguous.
- In the 2005 adaptation of Tom Browns Schooldays, Dr. Arnold is shocked that the students, some as young as ten or eleven, gamble, distill liquor, and keep guns.
- Home Movie has this trope up to 11.
- This is what makes The Innocents still terrifying even to a modern audience.
- Kids is almost entirely made of this + Refuge in Audacity.
- In City of God Lil Dice goes on a shooting spree in a hotel. Also, many children are involved in the gang war. (Horrifyingly enough, this is more or less Truth in Television.)
- In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the title character finds Toby easy to bribe with gin. As Toby tells Mrs. Lovett, they used to give the stuff to kids like him in the workhouse (child labor laws didn't exist way back when) so they could sleep — though as he mentions, you wouldn't ever want to sleep there, "not with the things that happen in the dark."
- Don't forget the ending, when he coldly and quietly slits Sweeney's throat.
- Lawn Dogs has a lot of this. Not to mention some in the form of Corruption by a Minor, as Devon manages to convince her adult friend to steal chickens from a barn, and later, moon her father. And no, Devon is not portrayed as wise beyond her years either. She otherwise acts like a normal preteen girl, who happens to do some messed up stuff, in a realistically childish way.
"Also, children are expected to be a certain way, and I like the unexpectedness of how children really are if you watch them. (...) Sometimes children just don't go by the rules, they often have a natural inclination not to, which we as adults have often lost." - Naomi Wallace, screenwriter for Lawn Dogs
- In The Good Son, 12 year old Henry (played by Macaulay Culkin) smokes, drinks alcohol, vandalizes property, builds homemade weapons, conducts horrible schemes, tortures and kills animals, and kills people all like it's an everyday thing.
- The Professional starts with 12 year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman) smoking and hitting on the middle-aged neighbor. This is all before she becomes an assassin's apprentice.
- Blood Diamond had Child Soldiers swaggering around and swearing profusely in Engrish, which was funny until they started to shoot at Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Speaking of Leonardo DiCaprio, he himself had portrayed a 14-year-old Catholic school boy's descent into heroin-addiction and prostitution in order to support his drug habit in 1995's The Basketball Diaries.
- Total Eclipse, another Leonardo DiCaprio movie (boy, he surely went through a phase of acting in edgy, indie roles in 1995...). He plays Arthur Rimbaud, a wild and bratty teenager who gets into a sexual relationship with an older, married man. The entire movie highlights how sick and twisted their relationship is.
- Let's not forget scamming, scheming, stealing, swearing, smoking little Addie in Paper Moon.
- In RoboCop 2 there's Hob, the villain's main henchman, who is a boy of about 12 and very competent too.
- Tideland consists entirely of this, although Jeliza-Rosa does not fully realize everything that's going on around her and keeps acting and (probably) thinking like a child while she does stuff like preparing the syringe for her drug-addict father and seducing a grown man. (Thankfully, he's mentally about the same age, but it's still very, very disturbing.)
- The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things has the protagonist drinking alcohol at the age of seven and seducing Marilyn Manson at the age of eleven. Among other things.
- Mindy/Hit-Girl of Kick-Ass cusses like a sailor (from random F-Bombs to her introductory quote: "Ok you cunts, let's see what you can do now"). [ Oh, and she's a trained killer who can drop a room full of other trained killers with just a couple of handguns. Her actress, Chloe Moretz, did all of her own stunts, including the Butterfly Knife display.
- Another Chloe Moretz film, Hick, runs on this. It starts with its 13-year-old protagonist running away from home to live in Las Vegas, bringing a gun with her... and it gets worse from there.
- Trish from Angels Revenge, though it might be justified since she's a young teenager. She gets just a little too excited at a drug dealer's unwanted bris, she latches onto another drug dealer's car in order to track him, and she fatally shoots a kingpin at the end of the movie.
- Pretty much the entire cast of kids in Twelve And Holding.
- River Tam in Serenity. Better than 50% of the on-screen kills are hers. She's a teenager.
- Battle Royale is disturbing enough... until you consider that (apart from Kawada and Kiriyama) they're ninth graders, no older than fifteen! Many of the characters take great delight in killing others, even if not all of them want to.
- James (later Agent J) in Men In Black uses this to justify "why little Tiffany had to die" in the recruitment shooting gallery; she had quantum physics books which were "way above her reading level" and that she was "about to start some shit".
- In Kill Bill, The Bride, before going off to exact her final vengeance on Bill, babysits a young girl who is her daughter B.B.. She asks the girl if she would like to watch a video before she goes to bed. The girl's answer? Shogun Assassin. Being a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, The Bride sees nothing wrong with this, so they watch Shogun Assassin together.
- The title character of Eve's Bayou runs on this. She curses, tries to kill her father, Loui, and sneakily reveals her father's affair to his lover's husband, which eventually leads to Louis' death. The fact that she's named "Eve" and has repeated associations with apples and snakes is just icing on the cake.
- In Big Hero 6, Hiro orders Baymax to destroy Callaghan after finding out that he was Yokai and that he set the fire, thus being indirectly responsible for Tadashi's death. He doesn't even hesitate, even when he has to rip out Baymax's healthcare chip.
- In 13/13/13, Kendra calls her father's friend a pedophile, swears like a sailor, and then propositions him before bashing his brains out on the pavement.
- The entire point of the following joke: note
- It's 4 AM, and a little kid stands on a street corner in Soho with a flattened frog on a rope. A copper comes around the corner and says "'Ello, sonny, what are you doing out here at this time o'night?" The kid replies "I'm lookin' for a whore." The copper, flabbergasted, asks "How old are you?!" The kid replies "I'm nine, right." The copper then asks "What do you want a whore for?" The kid replies "I wanna get a disease." "What kind of bloody disease?" the copper inquires. "A sexually-transmitted one, officer." "What on earth do you want a bloody disease for?" "Well, if I get it, I go 'ome and I fuck the babysitter and she gets it, and she fucks my dad and 'e gets it, and 'e fucks my mum and she gets it, and she fucks the gardener, and 'e's the cunt I'm after 'cuz 'e squashed me frog!"
Live Action TV
- In "Brenda's Got a Baby" by 2Pac, Brenda (then 12 years old) gets into a relationship with her 20-something cousin after becoming frustrated with life at home. She becomes pregnant, but manages to hide the pregnancy from her family. She ends up giving birth on the floor of the girls' bathroom at school, and tries to dispose of the baby in a dumpster (only to feel bad and take it out). She and her mother are constantly at each others' throats, and finally Brenda is kicked out of the house. She is too young to be hired for honest work and has no place to go, so she sells drugs...until she is robbed at gunpoint and is driven to prostitution. It does not end well.
- Similarly, the third verse of Ludacris's "Runaway Love":
Little Erica is eleven years old
She's steady trying to figure why the world is so cold
So she pops X to get rid of all the pain
Plus she's having sex with a boy who's sixteen
Emotions run deep and she thinks she's in love
So there's no protection he's using no glove
Never thinking 'bout the consequences of her actions
Living for today and not tomorrow's satisfaction
The days go by and her belly gets big
The father bails out he ain't ready for a kid
Knowing her mama will blow it all outta proportion
Plus she lives poor so no money for abortion
Erica is stuck up in the world on her own
Forced to think that hell is a place called home
Nothing else to do but get her clothes and pack
She say she's about to run away and never come back.
- Metric's song Youth Without Youth is about children engaging in violent behavior and fighting with the cops, eventually getting arrested. The entire song is framed in a way that compares their behavior with different children's game.
- From "Weird Al" Yankovic's "My Own Eyes":
My neighbour's kids sold weapons-grade plutonium
And frosty, ice-cold lemonade.
They took MasterCard and sometimes human organs in trade.
That's how we paid.
I have to say that it was really darn good lemonade
- "Come Out and Play" by The Offspring is about youth gang violence:
Like the latest fashion
Like a spreading disease
The kids are strappin' on their way to the classroom
Getting weapons with the greatest of ease
He-ey, don't pay no mind—
You're under eighteen, you won't be doing any time
- Wicked witches in Witch Girls Adventures and the comics that spawned it are big on Evil Smoking. Children aren't an exception.
- Blood Claws in Warhammer 40,000. Granted, they're not actually children (more along the lines of 18+ due to how long it takes to become a Space Marine), but they just came into adulthood and will blindly charge towards a 40' towering monstrosity while laughing their heads off, not exactly behaviour suited to the average teenager (especially since many older warriors would run away in fear from said monsters).
- Sign on to any online shooter (preferably an Xbox 360 shooter Rated M for Money and/or Manly for maximum results) and prepare to be called a nigger, faggot, and just about any other offensive word you can think of by Internet Tough Guys 12 and under. Oh, and don't forget that they've all had sex with your mom, too.
- Mildly done in Psychonauts. The protagonist and his peers are all ten-year-olds, yet some of the kids have an odd fascination with hooking up and making out.
- Ienzo from Kingdom Hearts... By looking at him, you could never possibly guess he would be the one to convince Ansem the Wise into building an underground laboratory to experiment with the Darkness in people's Hearts, which eventually lead to the apprentices losing their own Hearts...
- Mission Vao, a fourteen-year-old twi'lek living in Taris' Lower City spends most of her time adventuring, thieving and fighting off thugs, slavers and trigger-happy gangsters. Plus, the Outcasts in the even worse Undercity know her as someone who explores places even their scouts fear to read, which means going toe to toe with rakghouls. There was also a significant gap of time between when her piece of ossik brother abandoned her and she started traveling with Zaalbar.
- Rule of Rose: Byzantine plotting, power struggles, and even torture are everyday occurrences in the Aristocrat Club of the Rose Garden Orphanage, and depending on the player's interpretation, some of them don't even shy away from murder if they can get away with it. And manipulating a serial killer to commit murders is definite canon for one of the characters, although that wasn't considered typical behaviour even for her.
- The imagery of mock suicide by teenagers (and, in one case, an elementary-school kid) in Persona 3 is more than a little disturbing, and likely the primary reason for the game's "M" rating in North America.
- Tiny Tina, from Borderlands 2, is the world's deadliest 13 year old and an explosives expert. In her introduction cutscene, she proceeds to blasting a Faceless Goon into oblivion. And thats just the start.
- Anise Tatlin in Tales of the Abyss is a 14-year-old Gold Digger, and quite mercenary about it - she speculates on the merits of having to wait on a sickly husband who's likely to die early and leave her his fortune, and throws herself unashamedly at a man more than twice her own age. The fact that this is all Played for Laughs may or may not make it better.
- Mad Father: About 1/4 of the way through the game, Aya finds the Mini Chainsaw. She proceeds to have a nostalgic flashback of the first time she played with it. Also, when one investigates her dressers after the first scene with Ogre, she will find dead animals inside. The fact that Aya doesn't react to this in the slightest implies she already knew they were there (and most likely killed them herself). One of the additional notes from the second playthrough outright confirms this. Also, during the course of the game, Aya will be burning monsters, interacting with corpses and reading other people's diaries.
- The gun-toting, cigar-chomping cyborg mad-bomber that is Peacock from Skullgirls definitely qualifies. Especially since she's thirteen years old. The titular Skullgirl, Bloody Marie, also qualifies; she's just as old as Peacock is and possesses world-destroying powers. Her goal is to kill the Mafia for their crimes.
- Touhou: The snow fairy Cirno has a Resurrective Immortality induced poor grasp of what "mortality" means. Rumia looks like a blond little girl, has the personality to match and eats humans (or would if she could ever catch anyone). Mystia Lorolei likes to sing, likes to eat humans and likes to sing about eating humans. Suika Ibuki is always absolutely smashed off her rocker. And on top of the list we have Flandre Scarlet who is cheerful, childish, has Madwoman in the Attic induced Immortal Immaturity and, wait, did I say "Madwoman in the Attic"? 'Cuz I meant to say Homicidally Insane Person Of Massdestruction in the Attic induced No Social Skills. (Hey, if you had been locked up in your room for 495+ years so you wouldn't lay waste to creation in a psychotic fit, you'd have a poor grasp of human interaction, too. And it wouldn't have made your sanity any favors, either.) Justified Trope in most cases as the "children" are youkai and behave just the way youkai children are supposed to behave.
- The Last of Us has Ellie, a fourteen year old girl who can shoot, swears like a sailor and her biggest reaction to someone being shot to pieces is 'Oh [insert swearword here]'.
- B.B. Hood, the current posterchild of The Fake Cutie from Darkstalkers carries a hamper full of goodies that are actually missiles and flamethrowers, and almost all her gun-based attacks are accompanied by a Slasher Smile even in her sprite! In one of her victory poses she also takes out a cigar while flicking through her killing contracts.
- Bowser Jr. made his debut by vandalising an entire island with toxic graffiti in an attempt to frame Mario. When that plan started to go south, he kidnapped Peach and tried to kill Mario with a giant robot. Since then, he's been shown still using his Magic Paintbrush, summoning giant killer robots, and kidnapping Peach, along with assisting in unprovoked military attacks. There are also some implications that he's a gambler. All this, from a 3 to 5 year old child.
- The main cast of Higurashi: When They Cry are well-known for their (usually) Hate Plague induced paranoia and murder sprees, among many other troubling behaviors. The four oldest characters are only about sixteen, with the youngest being somewhere between nine and twelve.
- Rika drinks wine to drown her sorrows and she's not any older than twelve (at least, not physically). She does this behind everyone else's backs, though.
- Umineko: When They Cry: Meet Maria Ushiromiya, 9-year-old walking encyclopedia of all things relating to Western occult lore and "black magic." Also has a rather irritating Evil Laugh and a habit of using it at incredibly inappropriate times, like after seeing her mother and 5 of her relatives' horribly mutilated corpses.
- Illyasviel von Einzbern from Fate/stay night is a... strange case. At first, she's trying to kill Shirou and Rin... then depending on the route she goes to play with Shirou, her "onii-chan", frequently. Then it turns out she's a homunculus created as a vessel for the Holy Grail. Finally it's revealed that she's 18 but has the body of a young child, and is in fact the biological daughter of Shirou's adopted father Kiritsugu. She's also not as childish in mentality as she appears.
- Plus she also tries to have sex with Shirou at two points in Fate and one in Heaven's Feel. Which is... a little disturbing.
- Chelsie Warner, the Creepy Child of Concession. She suffers from gender dysphoria, and was born "Charles" until her parents allowed her to start dressing and living as a girl. This itself isn't what's troubling, but she displays violent tendencies in her very first appearance by stabbing Artie in the eye with a crayon. She then rapes him when he's too delirious to know what's going on. It was later revealed that her hypersexual behavior was related to a form of bipolar disorder, and she joined a harem of preteen boys run by the practicing pedophile Kate, who specifically seeks out children with this disorder because she believes that allowing them to give in to urges which are already there doesn't count as abuse. The author points out that he knows that it does count, but Kate does not know that or refuses to believe it. Luckily, the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows that by the time Chelsie's an adult she's transitioned fully to female and is much more mentally stable under the care of her adopted father, the local priest Father Tim.
- Namah in Dreamkeepers Prelude is a milder version then people on this page, but she still did a Slasher Smile when she went into the ventilation system, stole knives, poured hot sauce in the eyes of one of her guards. Considering that she is being kept in her room to prevent knowledge of a secret affair being leaked, it's kinda justified.
- Samantha Wight of Suppression has a habit of lecturing people about the futility of everything and, at best, is only mildly annoyed at being stabbed through the heart.
- Nadia (and possibly Dark) in Kagerou, although whether they're actually children, or even real, is highly debatable. Their actions are made more disturbing by the presence of Kid, who is very childlike.
- The trolls of Homestuck do not, as a rule, have much in the way of childhoods—but some of them develop a strong interest in collectible card games or rainbow drinker romance novels, and others begin earnestly studying for a career in law enforcement (complete with the mass hangings of scalemate plushies) or become mass murderers by the age of thirteen.
- There's also Roxy. Like her Beta counterpart, Rose's mother, she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl. Unlike her Beta counterpart, she's only fifteen. Of course, she's one of the last two humans on the planet, and was raised by childlike Chess people, so it's unlikely anyone has ever told her to stop except her peers.
- Larisa of Sandra and Woo. She likes fire. A lot. She also does things like accusing her math teacher of molesting her to get out of a test, attempt to make out with her boyfriend while he's in the middle of a class presentation, and joke about being a "junkie" when injecting her insulin. All the other girls at school have been warned about her, and her mom point blank asks if she's still a virgin after a class trip. The other medicines she takes and, contrary to the insulin, keeps a secret from her best friends, gives this already uncomfortable behavior some further uncomfortable undertones. We'll see where it leads.
- In Apothecia, an eleven-year-old girl kills a child abductor and feeds his corpse to an alien in the woods behind her house.
- Ness and Lucas in There Will Be Brawl are bad enough to make all of the other supposed Big Bads nervous.
- In Mall Fight, Sakura acts like she is at least sixteen, despite only being nine, and often has sex with her actually teenage boyfriend. The only time she really acted her age was when she was aged down to five a little before the latest reboot.
- This trope defines every (human - maybe) character your principal one meets in the play-by-post game What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?
- Before her Let's Read 50 Shades Of Grey videos were deleted, YouTube user emmablackery gave us this gem:
We get it! You want to fuck him! God! You sound like a 12-year-old. [Beat] We start young, here in Essex.
- Tamika Flynn and her army are known for training in combat for days on end, taking down helicopters with slingshots, revolting against Strex Corp tooth and nail, and reading at a very advanced level.
- Some of the Killerbunnies are children but one of them that seems to really stand out is Creameline Rougue and the fact that she sees what she is doing as a game and that Detroit is her playground.
- Visceraline is very sadistic, sees other people as "dollies", and is rumored to be the reason as to why she is absent parents.
- Corrine "Cori" Andrews is a serial arsonist with several counts under her belt.
- Frankie ran a meth lab when she was four, caused an explosion in the family's basement when she was five, poisoned a cousin with chemicals, and used pets as test subjects, the none of which survived.
- Hattie, Snow, and Atlasnaya, more or less get a pass since the latter two were much conditioned that way, having been exposed to nothing but violence since an early age, and the former, who likes to start fights, seeing violence as a must, probably comes from the fact that she lacks a bit of parental guidance besides her older sister, Henrietta.
- Bonesaw from Worm joined up with the Slaughterhouse Nine when she was five. During the story, she's between twelve and fourteen and produces Body Horror on a level unmatched by pretty much any other character. Being a Tinker specializing in biology means that she can do anything with living creatures up to and including bringing back the recently-dead...and those she reanimates would probably rather have stayed dead.
- The Delightful Children From Down The Lane from Codename: Kids Next Door.
- Maggie from The Simpsons is a lot smarter and often ruthless than one would expect from a baby. It's strongly implied she was the one who shot Mr. Burns, after all.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: When we see Azula in a flashback to when she was about 8 years old she engages in typical activities such as teasing her brother and her friend who has a crush on him, doing cartwheels, throwing rocks at animals, throwing fireballs at people, hopefully suggesting that her uncle and cousin might die in battle so her father can inherit the throne, setting dolls on fire, mocking her uncle for leaving a battle after her cousin died, cheerfully telling her brother and mother that her father has been ordered to murder her brother...
- We first see Azula, aged ten, in a flashback in the first appearance, smirking with glee as her brother and father have a fight. That ends with her father calling his apologetic son a disrespectful traitor before burning off half of his face for refusing to fight back.
- The Gaang itself, while going through the stock hero's journey, has no members older than young teenagers. They command shock troops, lead prison riots and breakouts, rediscover ancient history, and frequently discuss their leader executing the Fire Lord.
- Played for laughs in South Park, where pretty much all the kids (except Butters) curse and do other adult behavior all the time. Taken to extremes with Cartman, however, who has gone so far as attempting to start new Holocausts.
- On Daria, Brittany's little brother Brian not only acts out of control, he is apparently the reason why the family doesn't even bother naming their pets anymore.
- As a kid, Big Bad Wannabe Evil Genius Jack Spicer asked for knife-throwing lessons. His mom sent him figure skating. So he made a robot out of her juicer. As a Teen Genius, he's trying to Take Over the World with a robot army... with winter sports as a surprise skill.
- In Young Justice Invasion Jade's baby laughs at the fighting she, and Red Arrow are engaging at an army of Mooks. Partly because the baby came from a family of supervillains.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Ponyville Confidential, Diamond Tiara, the Alpha Bitch of the local schoolhouse, openly engages in blackmail and shows signs of outright sociopathy. ("Feelings? I don't care about feelings!")
- Code Lyoko's main protagonists have become so accustomed with close encounters with death that they show little to no worry whenever it seems like it's going to be the end for them. And the oldest one is fifteen.
- Unfortunately, what is considered appropriate to children and what not, is very much a cultural issue and varies over time. Sad examples of this include child brides, child soldiers, child laborers etc.
- Comedian Brendon Burns tells a story about catching his 5 year old son masturbating with a soaped up shark toy, his advice was:
Burns: DON'T DO THAT!
Son: Why not?
Burns: Because adults don't like it when little kids do that, and I wasn't allowed to do it when I was your age and..... y'know what, go ahead, just don't do it at school.
Son: Why not?
Burns: See rule #1. (Rule 1 is "it'll suck, and you'll hate me for letting you do it")
- Played for laughs: Catholic speaker Chris Padgett tells a story of when his young son first learned a bad word- "boobie"- and would not stop saying it. Eventually, Chris's older daughter sits down to talk to him:
Daughter: You can't say that word anymore, it's bad.
Son: Yes I can, boobie.
Daughter: Jesus wouldn't want you to say that word, right?
Padgett: Great, my kid thinks he's Jesus.
- Chain smoking guerrilla leaders the Htoo Twins. They also claimed to be bulletproof and have armies of invisible soldiers.
- 2 year old smokes 40 cigarettes a day.
- Kevin Smith, on one of the "An Evening With Kevin Smith"s, describes his daughter learning her first naughty word (bullshit) while she was a toddler. Unlike most examples of this trope, this was intensely hilarious to Smith and his wife, who egged her on; she even got creative with it (dogshit, mommyshit, daddyshit). Then they said, "Do you know what 'shit' means?" "No." They told her, and the girl got very quiet...
- Many children who grow up in abusive or neglectful homes display behaviors that are very adult-like or disturbing given their young ages. And the children themselves are often very surprised when another child or adult points out that such behavior is odd and abnormal.
- Troubling unchildlike behavior is often a major indicator to psychologists, teachers, and healthcare professionals that a child may be living in an abusive/neglectful home or environment.
- One of the regular, rather young trolls of True Capitalist named "Asho" has had a habit of doing this repeatedly, though thankfully not to serial killer levels; this has actually turned him into The Scrappy for a lot of people, even those who hate Ghost. He once called Ghost while high (and slagged off his mother while doing so), and another time called Ghost while drinking illegally and watching porn; the latter incident, he called back the very same show, while masturbating. He claims to be younger than ten.
Examples of kids trying out such troubling behavior for the first time:
Anime / Manga
- One Piece showed Sanji started his smoking habit at age nine trying to be more adult.
- A little later, but in Ichigo Mashimaro, Nobue started trying to smoke in middle school. It nauseated her when she first tried it, but she "powered through" until it didn't make her sick anymore, and now she's addicted. What started it all, however, is when a smoker left a pack behind on a park bench when Nobue was 11. Curious, she picked it up and looked at it. The warning label scared her off of starting for a while, although she did start holding a cigarette in her hand in an attempt to look cool.
- In Belgian comic Violine, the titular 10-year-old drinks whiskey and gets clearly drunk off it, when it's given to her as part of a celebration held by friendly natives in an African country.
- In Chapter 14 of the Superjail! fanfic Extended Stay, the Warden and the Mistress, after getting worked up over their 4-year-old twins Matilda and Ethan running off, finally find them beating and whipping the inmates alongside Jailbot, NOVA, Alice and Bruce. Oddly enough, Warden convinces his wife that this means they are good parents and they actually decide to help their children beat the crap out of their victims.
- Again in Hounddog, Lewellen is tricked into doing a naked dance for a much older man for Elvis tickets and gets raped because of it. This carried over into Real Life, where many people were shocked that 12-year-old Dakota Fanning had played such a scene herself.
- O-Ren Ishii of Kill Bill commits her first murder at the age of eleven, an incredibly bloody revenge upon Boss Matsumoto, who just two years earlier murdered both of her parents with the help of his men. And the reason that O-Ren was able to get close enough to Matsumoto to kill him? Matsumoto was a pedophile.
- In Freak the Mighty's sequel story, a girl nicknamed "Worm" ends up hitchhiking with the titular character of the sequel. And he promised his grandmother that he wouldn't do that.
- In the classic children's book Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade, one of the main character's friends decides to hitchhike a ride to a local fair, as she's tired of walking. The rest of the kids are shocked, but go along so as not to get left behind. The hitchhiking adventure ends up having disastrous consequences for the kids. The man drives off away from their intended destination, and the kids jump out of his truck at a red light. But one of them, a 7-year-old, goes back for her purse which she forgot, and the truck drives off with her in it. Looking for a phone so they can call the police, the kids head towards the nearest building they can find: a tavern. Suffice to say everyone in the tavern finds the procession of fifth-graders and the one girl's 3-year-old brother to be a rather strange sight.
- In the novel Others See Us the protagonists are quite startled when their grandmother insists they have a beer. Though it's actually a trick to increase their psychic powers.
- In the Judy Blume children's novel Then Again Maybe I Won't, main character Tony, his rich next door friend Joel and his old friend from the inner city, Frankie, are hanging out in Joel's basement when Joel jimmies into his father's liquor cabinet. The three boys get drunk. It was the first time Tony and Frankie had done this, but Joel had been drinking enough that he knew well the differences between the various kinds of alcohol.
- In His Dark Materials, mention is made of Lyra and Rojer sneaking into Jordan College's wine cellar and trying "the oldest, twistiest bottle they could find". They both end up vomiting all over the place. Rojer questions the sanity of adults who enjoy drinking the stuff, while Lyra stubbornly declares that she likes it.
- Palpatine's youth was chronicled in Darth Plagueis, and he was mentioned to have done enough delinquent stuff to have had his butt thrown in a reform facility had his father not paid off the authorities to if not let him get away with his crimes, then certainly lessen the punishment to be significantly less than it should be (eg, expulsion).
Live Action TV
- The Malcolm in the Middle episode "Lois Battles Jamie", there are two instances of this subtrope occurring. The first was Jamie trying to murder his mother by dropping a shelf on her (although it's subverted in that he's acting like this because his brother Reese fed him soda, which evidentially made himself uncontrollable). The second was with Francis in a flashback. When he was a toddler, Francis attempted to douse his teddy bear with lighter fluid and set it on fire (similar to certain people who kidnap other people) before Lois intervened.
- Rome has Octavian, no older than his early teens, who calmly tortures a man to death at the instigation of an adult. Another adult takes him to a prostitute, and his older sister seduces him. He combines this trope with Wise Beyond Their Years, which makes him even more unnerving.
- The torture scene is particularly telling, since Octavian actually seems more comfortable with it than the battle-hardened veteran he's working with, openly explaining to the victim that they're going to kill him either way, and telling them what they want to know will make it easier. When the victim still refuses, Octavian suggests cutting off his thumbs as a good way to get started.
- When we first see Mordred in Merlin, he's a normal child, albeit telepathic. Then the next time we see him, his camp gets attacked and several knights are about to take him back to Uther, who has drowned children in the past. He kills them. It's justified, but afterwards he just gives a small satisfied smile. Keep in mind this kid is 9 or younger, and has been raised by Gandhi-level pacifists.
- Early on in The 100, several characters have grudges against Wells because his father ordered their parents' executions. However, it's Charlotte, a twelve-year-old girl, who stabs him in the throat for revenge.
- The Walking Dead: Rick's fear of what the post-apocalyptic world is doing to his son Carl's psyche is an ongoing subplot in seasons 2-4. In season 2 he wants to learn how to shoot guns, not unjustified given the setting, but his attempt at stealing one from Daryl causes his parents to question whether he's ready for the responsibility or not. Later, he takes a creepy interest in the idea of Rick having to execute Randall, even showing up at the barn to watch him do it (which is also what causes Rick to not be able to go through with it). In season 3 he insists he be the one to put down his mother Lori to stop her from reanimating after her death, barely showing any emotion while doing so. In the finale he shoots and kills the surrendering Jody, initially claiming that Jody was planning to pull an I Surrender, Suckers but later admitting he felt that every time they've spared someone in the past it's come back to haunt them and that he "couldn't take the chance". This causes Rick to feel that Carl is becoming too okay with killing, and he attempts to reevaluate their roles in the group to get Carl out of the fighting.
- From "Little Kids" by Deerhunter:
kids drinking gin on the front lawn
the kids see that man walking down the dirt road
these kids see the sky and they think of him dressed in flames
kids walk behind, slowly stalk, that old man
these kids followed him to his shed
where he turns on the radio and smokes a cig
these kids come with gasoline and they strike a match
- Day of the Barney has Barney convince his fans, who are all young children, to kill any adult they can manage to. Specifically featured are two children offing their mother.
- In the Futurama episode "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV", Dwight and Cubert take up smoking, robbery, and other activities to emulate Bender. It's played for laughs, and there are no dire consequences, but the kids do projectile vomit after smoking. Even better, their accomplice in this is Tinny Tim. The robbery is his idea: "Gentle jerkwads! I know of a way we can emulate Bender without throwing up!" Best part: Tim's a robot, so alcohol shouldn't, logically, make him throw up anyway, because he runs on it, so this falls purely under Rule of Funny.
- In Ben 10, Ben meets Kevin 11, an eleven year old boy who gambles and steals things. This is troubling enough, but Ben still thinks Kevin's a cool guy to hang out with...until Kevin is willing to use his energy absorbing powers to crash two subway trains together and take the cash from the wreckage. When Ben points out that "hundreds of people could DIE!", Kevin shrugs and says "Hey; no pain, no gain."
- Eggy the duckling in The Penguins of Madagascar absorbed the knowledge of all four of the penguin squad while still in his egg and became a Tyke Bomb obsessed with the commando life. His mother wasn't pleased.
- Shapey (and eventually Block) are shown playing with things like lighters and drills in Moral Orel which Bloberta and Clay don't keep these things out of reach.
- Kevin from Kevin Spencer, who's age throughout the series ranged from 14-17. Kevin has engaged in arson, theft, drinking, smoking, attempted murder, and several other crimes. His life pre-series was bad enough to get him into a correctional facility for the first season.
- According to The Encyclopedia Of Serial Killers, 10% of serial killers make their first kill before the age of 10. And even if they haven't killed anyone just yet, there are often signs that something is not right about the child. Torturing animals and sadism are two common signs.
- An odd example is the case of Ted Bundy, one of America's most notorious serial killers. Although he didn't kill anyone (that we know of) in his childhood, there was that time when his aunt woke up to find her bedspread covered in knivesand little Teddy sitting beside the bed, smiling up at her...
- Mary Bell made her second at the age of 11, making her the youngest serial killer in history.
- The disturbing tale of 2 year-old James Bulger's murder by two ten year-old boys.
- About a dozen twelve year old religious Israeli girls in Hebron (town in the West Bank) decided to go into the Palestinian section of town one day and start harassing vendors in the market. The three Israeli soldiers on the scene (who lacked the power to arrest Israeli citizens) could not even touch the covered arms of the girls since the soldiers were all men (there's a religious taboo), and if the Palestinians had fought back, the soldiers might have had to arrest them, even knowing how ridiculous the situation was! Since police never came, all the outnumbered soldiers could do was try to stand between the girls and the vendors. Clearly, the girls had planned ahead and realized what they would be able to get away with considering the division between army and civilian control. This incident was not repeated.