"TWELVE? Twelve years old? You lost your virginity when you were twelve? ...You couldn't have been a full member of the golf club!"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 get upset when a teenager drinks beer, but when a 10-year-old does it, outrage turns to concern and worry. 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. Child Soldiers 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, Psychopathic Manchild, which is when an adult acts like a child and has disturbing 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.
— Arnold J. Rimmer, Red Dwarf
Examples of kids engaging in such behavior as though it's normal for them:
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- 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
- In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke when he was a kid, as seen in his and Kalinin's backstory. He kills without batting an eye, has an extremely nihilistic view of things, and is creepily unemotional. Especially noticeable here.
- After adopting Pinoko, Black Jack is more than a little disconcerted to discover that the 10-day-old (who insists she's a "virgin maiden" of 18 but looks about 6) has developed feelings for him — but what really scares him is that she already knows what a virgin is.
Black Jack: Good God, where did you learn that kind of language?
- Subverted. Dieter tosses back a shot like a pro, then jauntily salutes the rest of the patrons as he leaves with a toothpick in his mouth. Once outside, though, he immediately begins retching and questioning the sanity of adults who drink that stuff for fun.
- Played straight with Johan, who by age 10 had killed several sets of foster parents and calmly and smilingly talked all of Kinderheim 511 into killing each other.
- In Soul Eater, Medusa takes over the body of a little girl after she is nearly killed by Stein. The trope is in full swing when the girl's mother notices that her behaviour has been really unsettling for the past few days...
- Michio Yuki, the Villain Protagonist of MW, has become this the moment he becomes Ax-Crazy by the titular chemical warfare.
- Lucy (and to an extent most of the Diclonii) in Elfen Lied are extremely homicidal little girls. Not helped by an evil DNA voice telling them to kill, the power to kill people really easily, a child's undeveloped sense of right and wrong, and on top of that most of them have been locked up by the government, who have been running horrific experiments on them for the hell of it.
- Black Butler:
- Ciel is an aristocrat living in Victorian London. At the mere age of 13 (he starts off 12, but turns 13 early in the series) he is the head of the household, runs a successful toy and confectioneries company, and is the "Queen's Watchdog" which sends him out on often very dangerous and frightening missions such as helping to catch Jack the Ripper. Personality-wise, he's bitter and jaded... but his darker view on things is because of a traumatic past experience. Still, he's an Improbable Age character. Oh, did we mention he will command his awesome butler to kill people without a second thought? In the manga he's also seen drinking champagne with his guests, but that could be because of his status, the time period, and the overall culture back then which wouldn't have batted an eye at this.
- Alois as well. For the whole first episode, he goes from acting completely innocent to downright crazy within a few seconds, and switches back and forth between the two personas. Not to mention how he acts as if he is trying to seduce any male character within five feet of him.
- Black Lagoon:
- Hansel and Gretel. The sheer number of people they kill (and how they do it) is just the start of how messed up these two are. And tragically, they can't even imagine the world any other way.
- Probably Revy. From what can be gathered from the tiny flashbacks, she was raised on the streets of a less-good place in New York City and probably learned her gun skills from gangsters, and killed someone her own father, to be exact using a pillow as a silencer when she was still pretty young.
- Seta Soujirou of Rurouni Kenshin, given his horrible childhood and subsequent "adoption" by a Social Darwinist to act as his Dragon, slaughters people with a cheerful smile.
- Kenshin (then known as Shinta) too, when he buried all the bodies of his guardians and the men who killed them, instead of, say, trying to find help. At this point he'd already seen one set of parents die of illness and then watched his Parental Substitutes die trying to protect him. Hiko is visibly disturbed by this and decides to take in the boy since it's clear he'll never live a normal life after this.
- In Saiyuki, there is a scene of a pre-teen Gojyo smoking in his room while his older brother calms his stepmother down.
- Essentially every child Contractor and Doll from Darker Than Black qualifies for this. Lack of Empathy or becoming an Extreme Doormat will do that to you.
- Japan Tengu Party Illustrated has a disturbing relationship between a Tengu man and the human child he kidnapped ostensibly to be the vessel for their leader (when he uses her to speak, he swallows her and uses her as his tongue). The child manages to escape the tengu, but the kidnapper is still concerned and obsessed with her. He eventually finds her phone number during a battle, but she never wants to see him again, and besides she's already safe in bed - with her teacher (she "likes magicians (the teacher) better than monsters (the tengu)"). note
- Pandora Hearts:
- Vincent exhibited this as a child. Taking scissors to stuffed toys? Indicative of problems, but not completely unheard of. Taking scissors to the eyes of Alice's cat? That's not a good sign. It also borders on Psychopathic Manchild behavior since he still does it as a young adult.
- In confusing flashbacks and illustrations, Alice or more accurately, the Will of the Abyss... sometimes... also does this, displaying somewhat unsettlingly flirty behavior◊ with Jack and being cheerfully vicious with Vincent. Eventually leading to yet more of this trope from Gilbert, who tries to strangle her. Later chapters reveal that Alice is actually an aversion. In her human form, Alice (white dress) is actually the Will of the Abyss with a huge crush on Jack. Alyss's vicious interaction with Vincent is actually a result of Jack's manipulation (even though she does sound awfully cheerful about it). Alice (black dress) is actually a pretty normal girl herself. She just prefers Glen to Jack because of the destruction of her plushie in the real world and Jack's eventual causing the tragedy of Sablier. Her creepiness in Jack's memoirs is a more likely a case of Unreliable Narrator considering what we learn about him later. The Will of the Abyss may qualify for this trope in her scene with Break but that aspect of her personality never comes up again.
- Several characters in Now and Then, Here and There, especially Nabuca.
- This is a staple of Shonen and sometimes Shoujo manga along with Harmful to Minors. It's usually treated lighthearted and without any real damage though, unless it's a plot device or a Deconstruction.
- The first time we see Akane Awakusu in Durarara!!, she's gleefully chasing down Shizuo with a heavily modified stun gun and shouting "Die!" It turns out that this isn't exactly normal for her, as she was a Cheerful Child before she ran away from home and only did it because Izaya told her that Shizuo was an assassin who would kill her family.
- Seeing how it's a story about Child Soldiers, it's no surprise that this trope shows up a lot in Gunslinger Girl.
- Narutaru is absolutely full of this, most infamously when a bunch of bullies rape another girl with a test tube.
- In Project ARMS, there are quite a few children who end up this way, mostly because the Egrigori are very into using them for evil and dangerous experiments. The first ones we see are Al and Jeff Bowen, who attempt to blow up a high school partly for their mission, but moreso because they themselves were teased in school. Al spends the rest of the series methodically working his way through various battles and trying to kill a Keith with a gun at one point. Also, a flashback shows us that the twins murdered their own parents and killed a bunch of kids at their school with a poisonous gas that they invented to leave no traces. Then we get Carol, an adorable little girl who is introduced cheerfully telling Ryo that she has the power to twist and crush things like metal and human bones with her mind and that she very much enjoys the power that comes with doing this. It's implied that she only went through life by having people fear her, and Ryo calls her bluff on her enjoying it. Finally, we get Dark Alice, who is furious at the world for causing her death and is willing to nuke the entire planet to get her revenge.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Broly in the eighth movie was shown in a flashback to destroy a planet, and then laugh hysterically as his father attempts to restrain him, all while he's a child. It's implied that this behavior stemmed from the trauma he endured on the day of his birth (Kakarot [Goku] crying next to him, his narrowly surviving execution by King Vegeta simply because the latter feared Broly's abnormal power level [he was born with a power level of 10,000], and later narrowly escaping Frieza's destruction of Planet Vegeta with his father.
- Broly is an extreme case, but Saiya-jin children in general are pretty disturbing by human standards. Originally, Kakarot was sent to Earth to wipe out all life forms. They may look cute and innocent, but looking is as far as it gets.
- Played for laughs with Crayon Shin-chan, a preschool age boy with the libido of a middle-aged man, who constantly hits on hot women. His baby sister Hima is also occasionally shown to find grown men attractive.
- It's downright creepy what children do in the series, even moreso that nobody seems to care that the main basis of the story is using children as Child Soldiers at the ripe old age of 12 until one of them goes half mad like Zabuza who murders the entire graduating class of his school BEFORE he was even old enough to enroll. However in the beginning, at least in Konoha, children genin are basically public service workers for the village. D-Rank, which is what they get the most? It basically consists of dog walking, babysitting, weed pulling, etc. C-Rank, which they rarely get is basically escort duty to protect caravans or VIPs against bandits (which they can easily deal with without killing). B-Rank and above, which are normally reserved for Chunin and Jonin (the more experienced and older ninja), Konoha Genin aren't supposed to get. Which is why the Wave Arc mission was peculiar since it was billed as a C-Rank, but in terms of difficulty and the danger was a A-Rank. note There is no technical minimum age for becoming Chunin or even a Jonin so theoretically a middle school aged kid could go on high level missions and invoke this trope. Shikamaru became a chunin at thirteen and Kakashi was several years younger when he did.
- In the beginning Naruto himself is especially fond of doing inappropriate things like sneaking into girl's bathing rooms and turning himself into a naked blond girl for laughs.
- Due to his troubled past Gaara was originally this. He would murder people often despite being only twelve when introduced and when he was younger tried to cut his wrist to see what pain is like (he was physically unable to get hurt).
- Attack on Titan practically runs on this trope, between its use of Child Soldiers and very angry protagonist, Eren. His backstory involves having brutally murdered two men at the age of nine, and justifying it by pointing out that because they were murderers engaged in human trafficking, they weren't people anymore. Then we learn that the people that carried out the attack on mankind in the first two episodes were a 12-year old boy, a 12-year old girl, and an 11-year old boy.
- Assassination Classroom
"A group of junior high students are joyfully discussing an assassination. If you look at it normally, this is the pinnacle of madness."
- The students of class 3-E. They are tasked with the mission to kill their own teacher and instead of displaying fear or hesitance, they show a great enthusiasm in planning how to kill him. Even more disturbing in that even after they've bonded with said teacher and developed affection for him, it didn't slow them down for a bit. Granted, the fact that their target is not human (he is a constantly-smiling bullet-proof tentacle monster that destroyed most of the moon who has threatened to do the same to earth in a year's time should they fail to kill him) may be a factor in this behavior, but still, as another teacher had said, this is not normal:
- And among them, there is Nagisa, who displays this trope on an even higher level, as it had showed that he will not hesitate to kill even if the opponent is human.
- Teenage Sawa Nakamura in Aku no Hana frequently does stuff like this, including her manipulating of Kasuga, as well as her scribbling in her journal. As well as some of her "larger" plans as well as her attempts to "get to the 'other side.'"
- In Revolutionary Girl Utena, 13-year-old Kozue Kaoru has sex with numerous adult men, once pushed someone down a flight of stairs, and is generally extremely troubled. Meanwhile, Nanami Kiryuu, also 13, has a Yandere obsession with her older brother, and it's revealed that when Nanami was 6 years old, she drowned her brother's cat because she felt he was paying more attention to it than to her. All of this is basically played for tragedy and horror.
- One Piece:
- Donquixote Doflamingo (no more than 10 years old at the time) and his family were tied up and suspended from a burning building while an angry mob showered their ears with their grievances with the World Nobles (which the Donquixote family were a part of). His brother acted as one might expect: crying and pleading for the pain to stop. What does Doflamingo do? He screams death-threats and vows of revenge on the mob and their world. An earlier flashback has him asking to borrow his father's gun to shoot a commoner who backtalked him.
- Trafalgar Law displays this in spades after his home is destroyed and before he gets to know Corazon.
- An early flashback scene has ten-year-old Nami promising to pay for a stolen book "with her body". She was obviously quoting Bellemere and probably had no idea what she was talking about. Hopefully.
- When in one of (many) flashbacks of The Five Star Stories Bosjathfort came to the Float Temple to challenge Amaterasu-no-mikami to her post of the Divers Guild head, her son Amaterasu-no-mikado, who was just a kid at the time, banished him into the very fires of Hell. Which was but one of the signs that something is odd with the lad, and a first sign of his future Blue and Orange Morality.
- The country where Michiko & Hatchin takes place is full of small children who carry around guns. One Downer Ending has a woman gunned down by a gang of kids.
- In Detective Conan, Shinichi appears to have been obsessed with mysteries since he was a small child, which is fine except this involves him reading books like Sherlock Holmes when he's in preschool and visiting murder scenes with his father. A flashback to him starting preschool has him walk in on a roomful of children napping and mistaking it for a morgue, at first (this does freak him out, but the fact that he made the mistake at all is pretty troubling). This leads to him as a teenager being remarkably unfazed by the gory murders he comes across pretty frequently.
- In addition to the former's casual familiarity with crime scenes, dead bodies, and associated gore, both Conan and Haibara Ai show remarkable and worrying proficiency with guns for apparent 7-year-olds.
- Mikazuki Augus of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is a Child Soldier who has no qualm on gunning down his enemies and prisoners without letting them to finish their last words. Although when Kudel, one of his enemies called Mikazuki out and accused him for enjoying killing, he was outright disturbed. In a brief flashback, it was implied he was forced to kill since his childhood. shortly after Biscuit's death, he decided he'll crush whoever blocks his way.
- Subverted in Tokyo Ghoul. Ghoul children are just as innocent as human ones, with flashbacks showing most of the cast were unhappy about having to eat humans to survive. That doesn't stop Ghoul Investigator Kureo Mado from spreading a rumor that ghoul children can and will gleefully tear a grown human to shreds for fun, hoping to use the resulting paranoia to smoke out Arata's children. Tragically, this lie ends up forcing Touka to kill a man in self-defense, traumatizing the Kirishima siblings and leaving them homeless. They end up having no choice but to become as brutal as rumored, just to survive.
- In Brave10, setting up Death Courses and bombing things are not the healthiest hobbies that children should have, and eleven year old Benmaru's strikingly unconcerned about collateral damage to boot.
- In Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Hisamichi poisoned Yoshimune's older sisters and the closest rival to the throne to ensure that Yoshimune inherited the domain of Kii and had the best shot at attaining the shogunate. She was twelve when Yoshimune became lord of Kii.
- Kanna and Saikawa's relationship in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid feels more like that of teenagers than children in elementary school at times. The best example being when they almost had sex during a play date. Mind you, Kanna was the one who instigated it and she's Really 700 Years Old (though still a child by dragon standards), but Saikawa wasn't exactly adverse to the idea.
- Damian Wayne in Grant Morrison's 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 from 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. This doesn't even touch on her stint as a 15 year-old prostitute on the streets of New York City.
- Transmetropolitan, in the issue "Business", addressed the subject of child prostitutes from broken families and foster homes. By itself that's horrifying enough, but the real kicker is that the kids are doing it for themselves, not to afford food or shelter or to pay off a pimp. Some of them even own luxury apartments from the money they make that they haven't already spent on drugs, and the homes are tripping over themselves trying to get the kids to stop.
- 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 isn'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.
Armani: (While reading The Art of War) Sun Tzu says, "To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy."Apollo: (To Lanaya) Why couldn't you have just bought him a Where's Waldo book?
- 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.
- Tsali from Sonic X: Dark Chaos is the incarnation of this trope. He committed genocide on an entire race when he was only ten years old. Even thirty years later, he's still physically and mentally ten due to being turned into a robot - turning him into an Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchild.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic Fall Back - 1940, Tom, Bellatrix and Hermione all display 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 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.
- Sugar Cane Alley has eleven-year-old José 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 Brown's Schooldays, Dr. Arnold is shocked that the students, some as young as ten or eleven, gamble, distill liquor, and keep guns.
- This is what makes The Innocents still terrifying even to a modern audience.
- It would be easier to count the moments when the titular characters in Larry Clark's Kids aren't behaving like this. Vandalism, assault, drug use, theft, drinking, pedophilia, and rape are a partial list. The film 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." There's also 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.
- RoboCop 2:
- There's Hob, the villain's main henchman, who is a boy of about 12 and very competent too.
- One scene features a Little League baseball team (including their coach) robbing a sporting goods store.
- 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. Even funnier when Big Daddy himself considers Hit-Girl acting like a normal girl troubling, highlighted when he looks genuinely disturbed when she asks for a puppy for her birthday
Mindy: [laughs] I'm just fucking with you Daddy! Look, I'd love a Benchmade model 42 butterfly knife.
- 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". Word of God and the novelization actually confirm that he was right.
- 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.
- Eve's Bayou plays with this, starting the film with "The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old." The truth is more complicated and she isn't nearly as hardened as that implies. It is her childish confusion mixing with her fledgeling adult understanding of events that leads to tragedy, as she curses her father and reveals his affair to his lover's husband. The fact that she's named "Eve" and has repeated associations with apples and snakes is just icing on the cake.
- There's also the matter of her sister, who may or may not have very troubling feelings about her father.
- 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.
- In Fresh (1994) a 12-year old boy is acting as a drug mule crime boss #1, while his sister is a strawberry of crime boss #2 (who beats her). After a shootout between the rival gangs kills a girl Fresh likes, he steals some drugs and a gun from his boss and frames the shooter. He plants the drugs and gun under the boss #2's bed while visiting his sister (the boss has been careful never to touch drugs or guns personally, so the police can't get anything on him). Fresh tells boss #1 that the shooter stole the drugs and was working with boss #2, and boss #1 kills the shooter and then leaves to attack boss #2. Fresh then calls the cops to report shooting at boss #2's house, just before boss #1 attacks. End result: all bad guys dead or in jail, sister returns home.
- Almost the entirety of the movie Thirteen is this trope including sexual precociousness, drug use, and stealing. It's also Very Loosely Based on a True Story, that of co-writer Nikki Reed.
- Considering the characters are in high school, Cruel Intentions has characters who are promiscuous and horrifyingly sociopathic.
- Played for Laughs in Mean Girls, where Regina's pre-pubescent sister Kylie is seen dancing provocatively to the song "Milkshake" by Kelis, a sleazy pop-R&B jam. At one point, she even lifts her top and flashes the TV. Absolutely nobody comments on this.
- Everybody Smokes in Stand by Me, especially the twelve year olds. Even by The '50s standards that's quite young.
- Early films by Shirley Temple are meant to be baby parodies of the film stars of the day. Watching a toddler crawl around and suckle "sour milk" from a phallic hose is disturbing; wee Shirley as a hot-pantsed jungle Madam defies words. This video deconstructs some of these early films.
- Henry Fool Crosses the Line Twice when Fay comes upon Henry and her three year old son in a bar.
You gave him beer?The cigarettes made his throat dry.
- In Logan, Laura aka X-23 racks up a kill count comparable to Logan himself and thinks nothing of stealing snacks and sunglasses from a gas station; all while looking no older than 11. This is likely a result of her and other experiments from Transigen not being considered human, and the scientists finding children to be easier to experiment with.
- In The Annunciation, an obscure Hungarian film from 1984, a company of prepubescent children performs the profoundly child-unfriendly play The Tragedy of Man, complete with scenes of simulated violence and unsimulated nudity.
- 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!"
- Three kids find a couple mid-tryst in the bushes. The ten-year-old asks "What are they doing?". The eight-year-old says "They're fucking". And the six-year-old says "Yeah, but he's really bad at it".
- The Animorphs books: The animorphs are kids. They kill people.
- The novel The Bad Seed was very controversial, portraying, as it did, a pre-teen girl who's a multiple murderess.
- Addie Pray, the novel on which the movie and TV series Paper Moon was based, is narrated by a pre-teen girl who's a full-fledged swindler learning from an established con man.
- Duumvirate lives and breathes this trope. Even the littlest kids are perfectly willing to kill at the drop of a hat. It's all just a game to them.
- Rather freakily lampshaded in Brave New World, where the childhood conditioning all the citizens are exposed to encourages children to act sexually towards each other at about pre-school age. The people administering said conditioning laugh about how those poor unenlightened souls way back when would have treated such behavior as disturbing.
- This is derived from a misinterpretation of Freudian psychology (see also Oedipus complex) that was more common in earlier decades and spawned several pro-pedophilia groups. The notion peaked in the late 1960s, when "free love" was all the rage but modern notions of consent hadn't been thoroughly formulated. All the more disturbing, no?
- Although not really a disturbing or creepy example, in one of the Discworld novels Nanny Ogg ruminates on the concept of people having "natural ages", levels of maturity they were designed for; her examples are herself, who is somewhere in her eighties but has always felt mentally nineteen or so, while some children appear to have been born thirty-five; she's referring to them being austere and boring rather than engaging in actual adult behavior.
- Wensleydale in Good Omens is an example of such a child: "His parents called him 'Youngster', possibly in the hope that he'd take the hint".
- Aaron Fidget, a stuffy little boy from Hogfather who adamantly refuses to believe in the Hogfather (or at least Death standing in for the Hogfather), even after the Hogfather appears out of nowhere on a sleigh drawn by wild boars and gives away presents to the other kids. Death gets fed up with his Arbitrary Skepticism and secretly turns the presents Mrs. Fidget bought for her son into ...something unpleasant.
- Gone, by Michael Grant, has this in spades. The entire cast is aged fifteen and under, and Sam and Lana both dwell on how disturbing it is to see young children drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. Not to mention the plentiful violence.
- The Redwall series. Oh, Dark Forest Gates, the Redwall series. The titular first installment features a season-and-a-half year old squirrel — described in the text as a baby and not talking yet — who is personally responsible for the horrible deaths of at least ten vermin, and assists in the killing of many others by rolling a hedgehog over them in the middle of a battlefield. He's also given a sharp dagger by a hare who thinks nothing unusual of a kid stabbing people with one hand and sucking the other. By comparison, the young, gangly teenager that goes on to see new friends and an adoptive father/Abbot poisoned to death, kills massive numbers of vermin, faces and decapitates a snake that could eat him alive, and comes plummeting from the top of an Abbey with a bird stuck in his shoulder, all by the age of thirteen seasons, seems almost reasonable. Oh, and gets married and has a son before he's sixteen seasons. Combines with Angst? What Angst?. This may have been Deliberate Values Dissonance, as the series is set in pseudo-10th century England WITH FURRIES, but has been somewhat dialed down in the sequels... which still include the slavery of preteen children and the murder of their slavers.
- In the Green-Sky Trilogy, Pomma's addiction to wissenberries.
- The Alienist: multiple characters all over the novel.
- The Tomorrow Series: Aside from the fact that the viewpoint characters are only 16 - 17 years old, and essentially learning to become guerrilla fighters as the series progresses, the group of kids living in Stratton are a more depressing version of the trope: by The Night Is For Hunting, when the main characters meet them, they are well-accustomed to gunfights and mugging people in alleyways.
- The Dresden Files: When the Archive warns you that she will kill you if you challenge her authority or otherwise threaten her, you'd better believe it. Her bodyguard thinks it's creepier when she actually acts her age.
- Artemis Fowl: the titular criminal mastermind is twelve years old in the first book, fifteen or sixteen in the last.
- Ender's Game: Ender Wiggin, at six, beats a bully to death. Because he knows that being merciless will let him win. Although his intention wasn't to kill the bully, just to beat him so badly that he and the other bullies would be terrified of Ender from then on, and thus, leave him alone.
- Somewhat justified in that the school he later attends deliberately recruits children who act and think "older" than their age in order to train them to be part of the war machine.
- The same thing goes for almost every other child character in the book (especially Ender's siblings, Valentine and Peter), who are either unnervingly intelligent, sociopathic, or both.
- Tom Riddle from Harry Potter was an ultimately creepy kid. As a child, he tormented his fellow orphans - even murdering one's pet rabbit. When he went to Hogwarts he learned to be sly and manipulative, continuing his evil acts and a couple of murders without being suspected by the older, more powerful wizards who could pose a threat. Then, of course, he became Lord Voldemort.
- Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. Committed her first premeditated murder at age ten. It wasn't her first kill, just the first one she planned out deliberately. Oh, and she's one of the heroic characters.
- Even her sister, the beautiful and sensitive fourteen-year-old Sansa Stark, is building a snow castle and, in an uncharacteristic burst of anger, rips the head off a doll and impales it on the castle walls, reflecting how she'd seen her own father executed and displayed that way.
- There's also the six-year-old Robert Arryn, who takes a rather disturbing delight in watching people get thrown thousands of feet to their deaths.
- Joffrey Baratheon really takes the cake. At the age of six, he cut open a cat to see the unborn kitten fetuses. Later on in the story, he killed peasants from his palace's boarders with his crossbow and told them to go eat their dead, had people fight to the death, tormented his younger brother, and abused Sansa Stark, all before turning fourteen.
- In The Iron King, Meghan is shocked to hear her four-year-old half-brother tell her best friend "Go fuck yourself!" Justified in that the kid is actually a changeling. Her real half-brother is a perfectly normal, sweet kid.
- Happens a couple of time in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, but within the context of a society where adulthood is age sixteen:
- Daine in The Immortals series hunts down and slaughters the bandits who killed her family, aged twelve. Justified by her grief and the fact that her gift was making her think she was a wolf, but made more unsettling by the fact that, when she does eventually tell her friends about it, most of them simply shrug it off. Granted, her friends have gone through some fairly dark stuff themselves...
- Kel in Protector of the Small is surprised to realize that cheerful, friendly first-year Owen has no problem whatsoever killing bandits. Kel's killed bandits too, but she had been expecting him to at least be uncomfortable with it.
- The main plot point of The Hunger Games—teens and preteens as young as twelve are forced into an arena to fight each other to the death. And some of them are disturbingly good at it.
- The Phantom of the Opera mentions "the Little Sultana" who enjoyed torturing people with the Phantom's wonderful devices.
- In The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah, Winter, the 16-year-old daughter of a drug dealer, engages in lots of adult behaviors. For example, she offhandedly mentions that she lost her virginity at age 12, which was kind of late. The novel ends with her getting 15 years in prison for possession of illegal drugs.
- Mormon in The Book of Mormon begins leading the entire Nephite army at the age of 15.
- Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners presents some examples of this. The plot of the book involves a group of wartime children between 11 and 16 who steal a working machine gun from a crashed plane, hide it from the authorities, construct a bunker and emplacement for it; hiding two of their number from the adults and later a captured German airman in said bunker and open fire on a group of Polish soldiers during what everyone thinks is a Nazi invasion.
- Although Asher and Otto are the worst offenders, Someone Else's War is full of this. Which is only natural, because it's a story about Child Soldiers in the Lord's Resistance Army.
- In Crooked House by Agatha Christie, twelve year old Josephine investigates the murder of her grandfather, using her naturally snoopy nature to provide clues that the outsiders to the family never manage to find. Then it turns out she's the murderer, having decided to kill her grandfather over his not getting her ballet lessons. She decides to investigate the murder to get further attention from her family and the police.
- It's not entirely clear whether the orgy in Stephen King's It is intended to evoke this, but bloody hell, it certainly does.
- Darth Plagueis has Palpatine running over two pedestrians. His reaction afterwards indicated that he enjoyed it even though it was his first time.
- Five-year-old Kassandra in "The Painter Knight" provokes Oh, Crap! moments in captured traitors and various other condescending adults when they realize A: she knows what treason is; B: she knows the penalty; and C: she has followers willing to carry it out at her (lawful, if untraditional) order.
- Encouraged by Lemony Snicket when asked to choose "Five Books You Should Read Before You're Twelve" for The Big Issue magazine. Four of them are reasonable recommendations; the last is Lolita:
Don't read this, just carry it around. When adults ask "Are you really reading that?" in panic, say nothing and just blink at them.
- Lord of the Flies has a lot of this, since the protagonists are British schoolboys who descend into savagery and murder after being shipwrecked on an island.
- In one of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books, Georgia catches her three-year-old sister Libby doing a hip-wiggling dance and singing to Sex Bomb by Tom Jones. Georgia's reaction is that this is inappropriately sexualized behaviour for a toddler and complains that their parents are turning Libby into a child prostitute.
- In Goodnight Lady by Martina Cole, at age eleven protagonist Briony is already a seasoned prostitute (who asked to be sold to a brothel in her sister's place) and has more sense of the "business" than women three times her age; later causing her to become rich and successful as the owner of many brothels of her own.
- Several characters in the works of V. C. Andrews:
- In the Dollanganger Series, Cathy's son Bart develops a sexual fixation with his own mother and tries to kill his adoptive sister when he's still a child of around eight or nine.
- In The Casteel Series, Fanny has already begun fooling around with boys by the time she is ten. It's implied that she may already be sexually active by this age, as she later seduces her adoptive father and has a baby with him when she is no older than fourteen.
- Fern from the Cutler Series, who displays age-inappropriate knowledge of sex, manipulates her brother into letting her live with him by lying that her foster father sexually abused her, and as an adult is proud of having become sexually active while still middle school aged.
- Sylvia Adare in My Sweet Audrina may have killed her father's girlfriend Billie as a young child. It's suggested that Vera set it up to look like Sylvia did it but Audrina can never really be sure.
- Vera's even worse, what with the revelation that at only 10/11 years old, she set up the 9-year old Audrina's gang-rape, jealous and incensed at their father's favoring Audrina over her. She's also disturbingly promiscuous from a very young age.
- Ian March in the Early Spring series is a thirteen-year-old boy obsessed with performing "experiments" involving his sister Jordan, who is going through precocious puberty at age seven. He then murders their governess after she tries to intervene. The governess herself is horrified at what she sees as unchildlike behavior from both the kids, since Jordan already knows the word orgasm (although she learned it from an older teenager) and uses tampons, rather than sanitary towels, for her premature periods.
- One of the Goodreads reviews of Icelandic author Jo Imog's bizarre novel The Demon Flower actually uses the words "troubling unchildlike behavior" when speaking of the book's unnamed narrator. She goes from letting older men molest her in exchange for the tinfoil from their cigarette packs, to learning how to masturbate and enjoy the "lovely feelings", to enacting bizarre scenes with an adult woman friend, to increasingly weird sexual and occult adventures, incidentally driving her mother insane and being responsible for several suicides. She also has a brief fling with a huge hog. Her mother goes insane and she is adopted by her female friend. She is ten.
- Pretty much all the kids from Chronicles Of Magic, but special mention goes out to Queen Cinder, who not only enjoys torturing and executing her subjects, but has been trained to kill without remorse since she was five. She is now fourteen.
- Lying, stealing, wandering the town alone after dark, attempting to run a household by herself for nearly a year and nearly starving/freezing herself and her invalid mother in the process...Sara-Kate from Afternoon of the Elves is as dark as this trope gets without crossing over into actual malevolence.
- J from I Am J drinks at age seventeen and has been smoking since fifth grade.
- Invoked as part of the Deliberate Values Dissonance in the Ciaphas Cain novels, highlighting that as relatable as the protagonists might be, the Imperium of Man is still a nasty place to live:
- Children in military schools regularly hold gun practice with live rounds. That not enough for you? Their targets as they do this are living human beings, criminals shipped out from the local prisons for exactly this purpose.
- A popular children's song takes the British kid's classic "Wheels on the Bus" and turns it into a grotesquely cheerful little ditty about "heretics" being gorily crushed to death under the treads of a giant tank.
- Likewise, a children's book on the many uses of promethiumnote talks about using it to create the fuel for flamethrowers, which are used to incinerate criminals and heretics of all kinds. Complete with cheerful pictures of sinners writhing in agony as their flesh sears off.
- Alia Atreides of Dune. Because her mother consumed spice and inherited Genetic Memory of the past Reverend Mothers and all of their ancestors while she's pregnant with her, Alia behaved more like an adult than a child which made the Bene Gesserit afraid of her and consider her as an "Abomination". She also killed Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and several soldiers, earning the nickname "St. Alia of the Knife".
- A few of the Sidney Sheldon novels establish that the villainous characters were evil from day one—Eve Blackwell of Master Of The Game tries to kill her twin sister Alexandra when she's five years old and repeatedly tries to do so throughout their childhood, always being sure to Make It Look Like an Accident. She's so promiscuous that it gets her kicked out of her exclusive boarding school and when she makes a False Rape Accusation against a teacher, the man claims it was the other way around, emphatically stating, "She's not a child, she's a devil."
Live Action TV
- Angel: The Conduit blithely instructing Angel to snap Lilah's neck... which he moves to oblige, completely nonchalant, until she giggles and calls him off at the last second.
- In an episode of Sex and the City, Samantha is jealous of a very rich 13-year-old girl for whom she organizes a Bat Mitzvah party. When she overhears the 13-year-old telling her friends about giving blowjobs to keep a man, Sam interrupts to say that this is wrong. When the 13-year-old replies that she has been giving blowjobs since she was 12 and that she knows how the world works, Sam is released from her jealousy as she realizes that at least she had a childhood.
- There's an episode of House where a mother brings her young daughter into the clinic for possible epileptic behavior. House examines the girl, and determines that she's merely been "ya-yaing the sisterhood". The mother is shocked, to say the least, but House says that it's reasonable behavior, if a bit atypical, and says to just teach her to do it in private.
- Jayne Cobb from Firefly. It's revealed that at ten years old Jayne was shooting spaceport varmints for the bounties, which is marginally acceptable even if ten is rather young to have unsupervised access to a .22 rifle... and using the money he earned to bet on gladiator blood sports and buy beer.
- River Goddamn Tam, most especially in Serenity, but she's hijacked spaceships and shot people (without looking, yet still perfectly accurate) by the end of the show. She's in her teens.
- A flashback opening showing her and Simon as children plays this for laughs when she describes a game she's playing and tells Simon that with supplies cut off, her pretend allied soldiers must resort to cannibalism. Simon's casual response implies that this sort of thing isn't unusual for her to come up with.
- In one episode of Bones, the murderer turns out to be an 11-year-old girl, who shoots her tutor with a shotgun when he refuses to help her cheat on a school project.
- CSI had one in the form of a 12 year old girl who was taking senior level high school courses. At her older brother's trial for murder of a classmate, she testifies that she's the real murderer and produces evidence to support her case. She pulls off the plan so well that she convinces the court that there is too much doubt to her brother's involvement (mainly, that he was a D student in chemistry and the murderer needed to know how to handle pure Sodium) and that there was too much doubt to convict her (she was too small to move the victim's body). As if that wasn't the worst of it, she says to Sarah that had she been convicted, she could get her degree by 18 and/or write a book about the crime, since Nevada has no "Son of Sam" law. Finally, it was revealed that she had no involvement in the murder and Sarah just got played.
- It's even worse in the continued episode later on, when it's revealed her Yandere fixation on her brother prompts her to murder his girlfriend and blame him for it. Her motivation is that it will get rid of any "obstacles between them" and that, by continuously visiting him while he's in prison, he'll fall in love with her. Instead, he kills himself.
- Jessica Jones: In "AKA 99 Friends," Kilgrave commandeers an eight year old girl to approach Jessica with a message. It is a bit unsettling when the girl (parroting Kilgrave) tells Jessica "You're a bitch! You could've stopped that bus. You left him there to die in the street like a goddamn dog. You turn everything to shit."
- Jessie: Creepy Connie and her numerous attempts to stalk Luke! Mostly played for laughs, though, but if the situation were reversed, it would likely be taken far more seriously.
- Leverage: Poor Parker. Mostly, it's played for laughs, but the ages at which she started committing various crimes is alarming. Car stealing at twelve, and getaway driving before that. Cut to a flashback of what looks like a nine year old Parker skidding around an old lady with a terrified robber in the passenger seat.
- In one episode of Grey's Anatomy, a man is brought into the hospital after supposedly being accidentally shot by his six-year-old daughter, using a gun that had been carelessly left outside. However, scans show that this man has been shot 17 times. When the daughter is questioned about the event, she asks why her father wouldn't just die, since she had shot him so many times. As it turns out, the girl and her mother had been putting up with severe abuse at the hand of the alcoholic father. The girl, seeing her father begin another attack on his wife, grabbed the gun (which had been left in an easily accessible place) and shot her father.
- Parodied in a Jam sketch where a man believes he has accidentally killed his friend during an argument. He calls a professional killer/"cleaner" named Maria to dispose of the body, but she turns out to be only six years old. She uses language that would make a sailor blush, carries a gun, and when the victim wakes up (revealing that he was only unconscious) she shoots him in the head then hacks him to bits with a saw blade. In the end, the police are called and Maria instantly reverts to a cutesy child act. Jam was based on the radio series Blue Jam, which featured several sketches about Maria. More disturbingly, in this version she is only four years old!
- An episode of Criminal Minds focused on a series of murders of young children. They turned out to have been committed by a young boy (the son of their original suspect), who, in his own words, did it "because I wanted to."
- Game of Thrones:
- Inverted; Robin Arryn is ten years old and still breastfeeding. On the other hand, he also takes particular glee in tormenting people
- Play horribly straight throughout the series; most preferably by King Joffrey Baratheon, who was a 'very sweet child'...until the age of about 12, when his father told him that pregnant cats had kittens in their stomachs. He mutilated the cat and awarded the fetuses to his father. It got worse.
- By Season 4, Arya Stark has fully progressed into this. She doesn't shed a single tear when she finds out that her aunt Lysa, possibly the last living relative that could protect her, is dead. She laughs. And that's before The Hound's (apparent) death scene. She traveled with the guy for months, yet she silently refused to put him out of his misery, instead robbing him and leaving him to die slowly and alone.
- Francis Wilkerson, or heck, any of the kids from Malcolm in the Middle, easily qualify. Francis, aside from attempting to douse his teddy bear (as noted in the subtrope "Kids trying this behavior out for the first time" below), also frequently tortured his younger brothers (barring Dewey), stole their toys, locked them in a closet, and scarred Reese with a bayonette, all as a child, and he also implies when telling Dewey this that this is exactly what being a good brother is all about. As a teen, he frequently goes on destructive rampages/rebellions, such as stealing his mother's car, sleeping around, smoking, drinking, getting four nose pierces, and other similar behaviors all just to spite his mother or just for the heck of it. Reese is very much prone to violence, and enjoys hurting people.
- The Gallagher Children in Shameless are all examples of this (or were, at some point in the show's backstory), but they run the spectrum from Promotion to Parent "responsible" types like Fiona and Debbie to absurdly worldly but irresponsible or immature Street Urchin-types like Lip and Carl (who is arguably way more naive than the others). Ian's somewhere in the middle, being self-disciplined and responsible but not taking an active role in raising his younger siblings.
- Let's not even forget to mention Megan Parker in Drake & Josh, a young girl who takes great pleasure in pranking her titular brothers for no reason other than enjoying seeing them suffer for the heck of it, which, of course, isn't helped by the fact that she became more sadistic and a demon child as Flanderization kicked in, and the worst part? She is even let off the hook real easily for them!
- A major theme in The Wire is that the children at the low-rises of Baltimore are already involved in the drug game by the age of ten, even earlier. On the violence aspect, Snoop and Kenard come to mind.
- Law & Order had episodes featuring child killers several times, but in most cases the kids went bad because of abuse, drugs, or, in one case, intentional brainwashing by a parent. The most notable — and most chilling — example of a child killer was Jenny Brandt from the episode "Killerz", a ten year old girl who not only intentionally murdered a six year old boy, but mutilated his body on top of it all. She would later taunt Jack McCoy about getting away with it, openly bragged that she planned on doing it again to another boy because, in her own words, "That's what boys are for," and actually had the brass balls to pick her next victim in front of McCoy, who was horrified when he realized what she was doing. The child actress who played Jenny Brandt, Hallee Hirsch, was only 12 at the time and honestly should have won an Emmy for that performance.
Dr. Emil Skoda: "The snuffed cat, the blacked-out photographs. Her lack of response when I went after her."Jack McCoy: "Her fantasies about hurting little boys?"Skoda: "Yeah. Previews of coming attractions. She's graduated to murder. She's not gonna stop."Abbie Carmichael: "You sound pretty sure."Skoda: "Kid's a done deal. She's a textbook serial killer. We just got her early."
- More than one case on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been advanced with this trope. The first instance was when Elliot Stabler got blatantly hit on by a seven year old.
- Child prostitute Annie in Copper - and that's before she kills the man who killed and raped, in that order, her twin sister.
- Although he's an adult when you meet him, on Elementary the antagonist turns out to have been a child when he was kidnapped, but turned the relationship with his captor around to become the dominant partner and had him kidnap and kill other children just so the boy could enjoy seeing the looks on the parents' faces on the news.
Dean: This is my first sawed off! Sixth grade...
- Alluded to in one episode:
- Seen in another, where a maybe 12 year-old Dean witnesses a monster creeping up on his brother and instead of freaking out like a normal kid would, calmly and quietly reaches for his shotgun.
- Breaking Bad gives us Tomas Cantillo, who shot and killed Jesse's friend Combo as part of a rite of initiation into a gang.
- Octavian in Rome, though Deliberate Values Dissonance is also involved. He goes with veteran legionnaire Titus Pullo to kidnap and interrogate a man they suspect of adultery. Octavian calmly gives him a choice: hours of Cold-Blooded Torture, or confession and a quick death. When Pullo admits that he's not a Torture Technician, Octavian advises him to start by cutting off the man's thumbs.
Pullo: Juno's cunt, but you're salty. And I was worried about bringing you.
- DCI Banks: In "Wednesday's Child", Banks and his team investigate the abduction of an 11 year old boy. As the investigation proceeds, they discover the boy has been delivering heroin for a local dealer and helped to bury one of his friends who had died of an overdose.
- 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 fashionLike a spreading diseaseThe kids are strappin' on their way to the classroomGetting weapons with the greatest of easeHe-ey, don't pay no mind—You're under eighteen, you won't be doing any time
- The protagonist of "7 Years" by Lukas Graham mentions doing drugs and drinking alcohol at age 11.
- 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). Of course, they are space Vikings... (in fact, this is done deliberately: it allows Space Wolves to get it out of their system before they're allowed to move onto different combat role like long-range fire-support).
- Billy Sovereign, an NPC bully from Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, at one point impaled PC Leonardo de Montreal on a railroad spike, aimed right at the heart, with intent to kill (Leonardo survived mostly because his heart is not actually located within his body). To be fair, to some degree, Billy Sovereign isn't so much a real human as he is an aggressively hegemonising, infectious, embodied meme.
- Mildly done. 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. At least one character likely gets the behavior from watching R rated films.
- Then there's Crystal and Clem. They're seen messing around with poison, and there's one scene where they talk about how everyone is "going to be sorry" in very somber monotones far divorced from their usual chirpy facade as they watch the sunset on the top of the roof. After you rescue their brains Crystal does explain their previous behavior: They were trying to kill themselves and if you read the message boards around the camp you find of its because they were being bullied for acting positive all the time and trying to make others happy.
- 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...
- Pokémon is a franchise which often sees preteen children saving the world, so it's a given this pops up here and there:
- While this trope isn't to the extent of his Pokémon Adventures counterpart, the second generation rival Silver's obsession with strength, as well as his violent, cruel behavior, general cynicism, and proficiency at thievery can be kind of disturbing when you remember he probably is no older than the protagonist; i.e. an 11 to 12-year-old boy. And it's implied it's all he knows. This is especially apparent when contrasted with the bratty rival Blue in the previous generation.
- Cyrus apparently displayed this at a young age... Probably was a warning sign of what he was going to become. Then again, his absurdly perfectionist parents didn't help at all.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Gladion has shades of this; being a runaway that's implied to be not much older than the player character (which is stated to be 11 at the start of the games); portrayed as a sullen individual with piercings and black clothes as a symbol as being Guzma's enforcer for Team Skull. He is incredibly abrasive in conversation (when a Skull Grunt questions Guzma why he outranks them, Gladion more or less tells said grunt to shut up) and a perfectionist in battle. This likely stems from being disowned by Lusamine as a result of not wanting to follow her example.
- 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. Said elementary-school kid also goes above and beyond with this trope all on his own. Plotting to murder his mother's killer and then kill himself more than qualifies. (Mostly) fortunately for him, his plans are ruined.
- 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 Psycho into oblivion while singing to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel. 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, of which includes mutilating her best friend Patricia, who would eventually become Peacock.
- 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.
- Super Mario Bros.: 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.
- In A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky, Ivy and Mint are very unperturbed about murdering human opponents. For instance, Ivy's only reaction to the Diego battle is to joke about how he wasn't strong enough to beat them. Weirdly, this doesn't seem to be intended as a red flag, as the girls act like normal, well-adjusted people otherwise. It is possible that this is simply meant to reflect their isolated upbringing.
- In Twisted Metal: Black, the driver of the vehicle Yellow Jacket is a corpse... not a zombie, a corpse. See, the man was a taxi driver who was shot and, in order to enter the Twisted Metal competition, his son turned the corpse into a remote-controlled puppet. So, this kid who is using his father's corpse to kill other people with his now-weaponized taxi? He's eight years old.
- Higurashi: When They Cry:
- The main cast members 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 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 eventually find out that her behavior is partially caused by Wolfram Syndrome, a condition that that will likely kill her before she reaches 30 and cripple her long before. Larisa knows she's living on borrowed time, thus feels no need to mitigate her behavior past not physically harming anyone.
- In Apothecia, an eleven-year-old girl kills a child abductor and feeds his corpse to an alien in the woods behind her house.
- Benni from Forest Hill, due to being abused and forced to work as a Sex Slave for money by his father, thinks that it is normal for adults to have sex with children, and is confused when Flora is nice to him without expecting anything in return. Talitha, who is even younger than him, is worse. She molests Hunter at school by forcing him to Play Doctor with her, and is implied to be watching her father's porn. It turns out her father was forcing Benni to have sex with her.
- The author of the comic has said that they did not originally plan for Benni to be an abuse victim, but decide to make him one after they realized that just being a big kid was not a sufficient explanation for his Hair-Trigger Temper and violent, possibly sexual, behavior. See the comment section on this page.
- Axe Cop. Not any character within the comic, but rather the author. This story, written by five-year-old Malachai Nicolle, has a hero whose Catch Phrase is "I'll chop your head off!" and he makes good on that threat very often. There's also the occasional baby-eating and frequent blasphemy. Generally one can play this off as Malachai being extremely imaginative and simply too young to know where to draw the line; as the story continues and Malachai gets older, the disturbing elements start to fade away.
- 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.
- From Welcome to Night Vale, Tamika Flynn and her army are known for training in combat for days on end, taking down helicopters with slingshots, revolting against StrexCorp tooth and nail, and reading at a very advanced level.
- Bonesaw 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.
- Vista is an extremely nihilistic thirteen year old superheroine who's been fighting since she was ten, experiencing all the wonders that Brockton Bay had to offer. While she is upset by her friends dying, she copes with it far better than is normal.
- Glaistig Uaine actively looks forwards to the end of the world because it'll mean more dead Parahumans for her to collect and add to her own power, and has personally killed at least one hundred. She appears to be twelve or so years old, despite being somewhere around thirty, so this trope is somewhat justified, but she's been like that ever since getting her powers as a pre-teen.
- Played for Laughs in The Most Popular Girls in School. Even ignoring the how inappropriate the teenage characters act, elementary-aged Mikayla is just as much of a foul-mouthed, violent Alpha Bitch as her older sisters.
- The Nostalgia Critic may have had this kind of behavior as bits of his Dark and Troubled Past crop up. Examples include a mention of shooting his Ninja Turtles doll as a child in the "Top 11 Scariest Moments," an implication of being a sexual "early bloomer" in his review of Little Monsters, and a childhood drawing of being torn in half by his parents in the "Old VS. New" comparing Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- Downplayed Trope in Takotsubo: The story of a superhero. Chinese-American Cord Cai is nineteen in the prologue, went in and out of street gangs during high school, and after his similarly-aged fiance Roland is murdered in a botched carjacking, Cord shoots the man who did it in revenge. In companion pieces, his uncle (and presumably his aunt) is noted to be a VERY good Parental Substitute who cares deeply about him—but Cord's actual parents have been in prison since he was eight. In the main story as a twenty-five-year-old, he refers to teenagers as kids and refuses to take them into his gang, while calling himself "old."
- 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. She was the one who shot Mr. Burns, after all.
- Overlaping with Fridge Horror, Lucy Loud's of The Loud House depressed gothic personality might just seem like typical preteen or teenage angst, until you realize she's actually just eight years old.
- Even more so with Lola who, at six years old, has become known for her violent temper tantrums to the point where even her older siblings make it a point not to ever mess with her. Worse still, her idea of a perfect day involves world domination. That said, it's better for everyone that she never be given cause to become angry with them.
- Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy who's face is kept at a permanent, perpetual glare and is not above physically and emotionally tormenting her own friends if it serves her purpose. So rarely does she smile that the one time she did, it ripped apart reality as we know it, and when one time forced to save humanity from impending darkness, she only did it because she vowed she would be the one to do it first.
- Vicky the Evil Babysitter from The Fairly OddParents!; an out and out sadist who enjoys tormenting children for money; easily a poster child for the Would Hurt a Child trope.
- 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 (even Butters occasionally) 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.
- Gideon Gleeful from Gravity Falls is nine years old and has been shown summoning demons and plotting murder. He even tried to cut out Dipper's tongue with a lamb shear. No wonder his parents are afraid of him.
- In Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright, talent show contestant Crissy, who appears to be at the most twelve years old, sings a wildly inappropriate song for a girl her age called "Homewrecker", the lyrics of which begin "Stay away from my man, homewrecker Nobody comes, between me and my man."
- Do we even need to explain everything about Stewie Griffin from Family Guy? A toddler who goes on rampages to beat up and even kill many adults. Let that sink in for a moment.
- The Boondocks:
- Huey is a ten year old Conspiracy Theorist who thinks Everything Is Racist. He's quite into politics for his age, which isn't a bad thing, however he goes to Well-Intentioned Extremist territories with his views. Huey also owns a katana, has hijacked a bus, and tried to kill someone with a bomb once.
- Huey's Bratty Half-Pint eight year old brother Riley is obsessed with looking "gangsta". He can act like a delinquent, his speech is peppered with a lot of Trash Talk, and occasionally he is an accomplice in crimes. He (usually) stops at actually hurting people though and it's implied most of his reputation is a lie.
- Cindy is a girl scout who plays up a a certain common joke. She sells cookies as if she's selling drugs. Cindy is also Pretty Fly for a White Guy, though unlike most examples she is authentically into hip-hop, and is a counterpart to Riley (though she is less prone to profanity). Unlike Riley she actually seems is more hands-on violent, such as when she beat up another girl scout or when she chased a man with a bat.
- Ben 10:
- Kevin 11 in the Original Series tried to cause a subway accident that would result of tons of dead just so he could pick money from their corpses, attempted revenge on bullies using pyrokinetic powers and later went on a crime spree across America where he tried to stab people with diamond blades while grinning maniacally. Any of these actions would be disturbing of its own already for an adult character, and Kevin was 11 years old when he did them.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "You Sweat Your Life", it is implied by Herb Muddlefoot that his eldest son Tank, who already gets away with bullying his little brother Honker on a regular basis, once cut off his grandfather's leg with a chainsaw when he was an infant. What's especially chilling is that Herb describes the incident as if it's perfectly normal for children to do such a thing.
- Hey Arnold!:
- Curly is obviously criminally insane. In "False Alarm", he pulls the fire alarm and frames Eugene for it. Why? Because Eugene borrowed a pencil from him and when he returned it, it was covered in bite marks and sharpened down to the metal. Keep in mind, that Eugene would have been expelled had his plan succeeded. In "Curly Snaps", he, well, snaps, locks himself in the principal's office and throws basketballs at all his classmates who he thinks mistreated him for years and the situation is very similar to a hostage crisis. The other pupils react very shocked that the quiet Curly is capable of this. Why? Because he wasn't assigned the duty of "ball monitor" that wanted. And in "Ghost Bride" he dressed up as the titular killer to scare his friends because he wanted to be the one to tell the fable instead of Gerald.
- Helga Pataki is probably the horniest nine-year-old girl in the history of Western Animation with all the crap she threw past the radar in regards to her crush on Arnold. She has also written multiple volumes of poetry about him, carries around a heart-shaped locket with his photo in it, and has a shrine dedicated to him. While it's Played for Laughs and she doesn't seem to want to harm Arnold, it is still disturbing nonetheless.
- Mr. Cat from Kaeloo. The 34th episode of the series revealed that he's less than 13 years old, yet over the course of the show he has tried to have sex, gotten drunk several times, and is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who owns an arsenal of weapons.
- Stumpy has also shown signs of this. It's more noticeable in later seasons.
- Unfortunately, what is considered appropriate for 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?Son: Yes I would.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.
- There's also TheAbortedFetus, who sounds even younger than Asho. He hasn't called in as often as Asho (mostly due to Ghost forwarding his number to the CPS)... and yet, he's managed to make Ghost throw a rage-fit of atomic proportions at least twice, as well as cause Ghost to initiate the "Woodchipper", by spouting sexual innuendo.
- Play any online game that is Rated M For Money, especially on Xbox Live, and have Internet Tough Guys who are 12 years old or even younger call you a nigger, a faggot, and a bunch of other swear words that you've never even heard of before. Oh, and don't forget that they've all had sex with your mom, too.
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.
- There was also Ace and Sabo's aborted attempt on Luffy's life, complete with them arguing over who should do it because neither of them has ever killed anyone before.
- A little later, but in Strawberry Marshmallow, 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 title 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.
- She also points a gun at Muller while trying to get answers on her father's whereabouts and later threatens a military officer into firing on forces attacking her native friends.
- Afterlife with Archie: When they were younger, Cheryl's twin brother killed her puppy and made it look accidental because he was jealous that Cheryl loved her more than him.
- 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.
- Played for Laughs in The Cowboys, where the eponymous boys sneak off with a bottle of whisky from the chuck wagon and get drunk. The youngest cowboy, by the way, is nine years old. John Wayne's character and his cook find them when they start drunkenly singing "Home On the Range". Wayne and the cook keep quiet about it. Next day, the cook gives them a remedy for their "cold". John Wayne rides by, ordering the cook to make a heavy meal for dinner. The nearest boy runs off to throw up!
- 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.
- A mailman is making his rounds, but one of his deliveries is a package that requires a signature. So he goes up to the house, knocks on the door, and a 12-year-old kid with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other answers it:
Mailman: Uh... hi. Are your parents home?The kid takes a puff from the cigaretteKid: What the fuck do you think?
- 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
- Jessie: Played Up to Eleven in episode "What A Steal" with Ravi's new friend, Madeline, who tricks him and his family into holding themselves hostage with handcuffs (as a means of "therapy" in conflict resolution by being physically close to each other) so that she can take advantage of the opportunity to rob them of their valuables, even involving her older brother as an accomplice while she's the main ringleader.
- 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.
- After his parents are murdered in front of him, twelve year old Bruce Wayne from Gotham starts acting very inappropriately. He engages in very reckless, self-destructive behavior and nearly beat a bully to death.
- CSI: In "Cat's in the Cradle", an eight year old girl murders her Crazy Cat Lady neighbour to gain possession of a kitten, and then attempts to frame her mother for the crime.
- 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
- Long Live the Queen: consistently taking cruel options will turn Princess Elodie, a fourteen year old Rose-Haired Sweetie, into a truly vicious little sociopath. She can abuse the servants, go hunting and take her anger out on woodland creatures, taunt and torment prisoners, force a woman into marriage, send people to the headsman's block for so much as a connection with treason, and much, much more. And after that, she can go to her room and play with her toys.
- 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...
- That "childhood" thing isn't so certain either. When Bundy was 14, an 8-year old neighborhood girl disappeared and has never been found. Until the day he was executed, Bundy denied any involvement in her presumed murder, but many investigators believe she was his first victim, especially since he was already displaying deliquent behavior at this age+-theft, voyeurism, etc.
- 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.