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Just a Kid

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Prince Zuko: I've spent years preparing for this encounter... training, meditating... you're just a child!
Aang: Well, you're just a teenager.

Common theme running through initial seasons of shows featuring a Kid Hero. The young hero meets a series of dismissive characters who assume ineptness because (wait for it) — "You're just a kid." The dismissive characters can be good or bad, but will meet their comeuppance by the end of the episode (or the season, if it's a multi-episode arc).

Requires a show built around the concept of a hero who is stronger or more competent than they appear. Because the conceit of this trope wears thin after two or three years, it often quietly fades, only to reappear in another character.

When it's the villain instead of the hero whose youth is being remarked on, you might be dealing with an Enfant Terrible, in which case you're in big trouble. See also Stay in the Kitchen, where a character is as "just a woman" or "just a girl", or Can't Argue with Elves, where it involves different species. Frequently found in plots based around athletics, or the Macho Disaster Expedition. Contrast Kid Has a Point.

Such a character may frequently be on the receiving end of Not Now, Kiddo and Most Definitely Not Accompanying Us.

Not to Be Confused with Just a Kid, the Australian name for Caitlin's Way.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The "Girl" part of Gunslinger Girl means that this is the usual reaction to them, even from people who have heard of their existence. The "Gunslinger" part means that said people die soon after making this mistake.
  • Lampshaded by almost all the villains Gohan fights in one-on-one battles in Dragon Ball Z. Goku also suffered from this in the Dragon Ball series and in Dragon Ball GT, which annoyed him even more, as he was reaching his sixties and was one of the strongest beings in the universe.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Lieutenant Ross and Sergeant Brosh lecture Ed and Al on how their youth means that they should give adults some more responsibility in the story. Of course, Ross is effectively shut down by Maes Hughes, who, Genre Savvy man that he is, knows who the main characters are. Ed takes it quite well (despite his temper).
  • The Prince of Tennis: Ryoma's rivals often comment derisively on him being just 12-to-13 years old and in his first year of junior high. And they end up losing to him soon.
  • Notably averted in Lyrical Nanoha, where the Time-Space Administration Bureau will recruit anyone sufficiently skilled and responsible (or plot-important), regardless of age. No one magical ever looks down on, underestimates, or refuses to fight Nanoha or her peers because of their ages. Even her Muggle parents are surprisingly understanding and permissive.
  • Case Closed:
    • Seventeen-year-old Shinichi Kudo turned seven-year-old Conan Edogawa finds this a serious problem in nearly every chapter/episode as no one will take his deductions seriously. Then again, he still makes the best of the situation by constantly exploiting his ability to be underestimated by the culprits. As the series has progressed, there are a growing number adults who recognize Conan's intelligence and take his deductions seriously without his having to go through a conduit like Kogoro Mouri or Professor Agasa.
    • He's not immune to the trope in his teenage body either. A chapter features police detective Sato confidently telling her partner that the two "high school detectives" would get stuck and come running back to the police. She was immediately struck speechless when they arrived to announce that they had whittled down fifty cars being searched to just three suspects.
  • Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs: Fireball is often the butt of jokes because he's 18 years old and his teammates are all over the age of 20. 24-years-old Colt is the one who treats him like a child the most.
  • Saying that cute Genki Girl Ninja Misao of Rurouni Kenshin is "Just a kid" is a good way to get yourself kicked in the head.
  • Both Firo and Luck from Baccano! have a history of dealing with this. Because he started in the upper ranks of The Mafia at an age no greater than fifteen (and potentially as young as thirteen) thanks to family connections, Luck spent much of his career building up a front more ruthless than he actually is to counter it. Meanwhile Firo, while attaining his position at a somewhat later age and solely through his own skill, looks quite a bit younger than he may be and tends to get written off as a brat because of it.
  • The title character from King of Bandit Jing is also a victim of this; you'd think by now the bad guys would learn that the infamous "Bandit King" is no more than 16 years old. His age is somewhat debatable - in the manga, due to the art style, he looks younger, at least in the beginning.
  • Daisaku gets this a lot at the beginning of Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still, especially from Tetsuoko, who is jealous of Daisaku's mature manner (for a kid) but also of the close bond he shares with Ginrei.
  • Gundam Wing. Noin is bitter at having been defeated by "just a kid". To which Wufei retorts "You saw I was a kid and you underestimated me." Of course, he 'just a woman'ed her.
  • Victory Gundam. Usso gets this a lot, given that he's only 13. He's Genre Savvy enough to use this to his advantage several times, because he knows people will underestimate him, or hesitate to harm a kid in battle. Of course, some of his opponents get Genre Savvy right back and treat him as as much of a threat as any adult soldier.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, when Tekkadan boarded the Brewers' ship and encountered a group of children even younger than they were, Shino told his group to lower their weapons and tried to calm the children. It backfired horribly and resulted in many of his allies' deaths. Plagued by the guilt over his careless actions, he starts training to become a mobile suit pilot, believing that he's not worthy of the responsibility of giving orders to others.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Sôsuke Sagara gets this from time to time. Especially noticeable in the arc where he had to cooperate with other soldiers to assassinate Gauron. None of them (except Gray) were willing to listen to his advice or input, because they were so insulted that Mithril would send a "kid" to help. They were proven wrong within an episode, and it ended very badly for them because of it. Plus they were really shocked when they found out that Sôsuke was an Afghan guerrilla when he was eight. Prior to that, he supposedly was a highly trained KGB assassin. Now he's 16 and the only man at Mithril who can use the Lambda Driver.
    • Talking about the Lambda Driver, episode 12 shows what happens if you think of Takuma as a harmless kid. Hint: it involves a 50-meter-tall mecha and Tokyo.
  • Many warriors have this reaction to Thorfinn in Vinland Saga. They mostly end up dead as a result.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Asuna seems to have trouble seeing Negi as anything other than the sweet little brother she has to protect. Even after getting taken down in a few seconds by him in a sparring match, she still worries about him far too much.
    • During the elimination round of the Mahora Fesival Tournament Arc, most of the other fighters were treating Negi, Kotaro, and Evangeline as silly little kids that seem to have lost their way. The jokes stopped the moment people more than twice their size started getting effortlessly knocked around.
    • Evangeline's opponent in the first round tried to avoid this by treating her as an equal and not to be underestimated; of course since Evangeline is one of the strongest characters in the setting even while depowered, she still took him down in a split-second with a half-hearted punch while distracted.
    • The Thousand Master himself, and a bit of a sore point. When a threat level of Ala Rubra was placed, with Zect and Eishun listed as the most dangerous... then Nagi was mentioned as, "oh, and this kid is pretty good too," complete with his own picture, which is suddenly scowling. Oh, and Zect looks like an eight-year-old while Nagi was fifteen or so.
  • Digimon Tamers is notorious for this, as every single one of the main characters' families plays the Just A Kid card. Jenrya's/Henry's mom was probably the most memorable — she was the only one who never really supported the idea of her son fighting, even after seeing him in action.
    • Tamers wasn't the only season to have a Just a Kid situation. The English dub of Digimon Adventure 02 had Cody get this treatment from his older teammates, two of whom (T.K. and Kari) conveniently forgot that Cody is older than they were during their first adventure with the Digimon. (This was not in the case in the original Japanese version, where it was the opposite; he was conversely treated as a peer despite Japanese seniority culture usually suggesting otherwise, although Iori himself was hinted to have a complex about it.)
  • In Highschool of the Dead, despite most of the main cast being high school age and obviously competent from the reader's perspective, they receive this treatment once they reach the Takagi mansion. Fortunately, the cast gets their chance to prove themselves.
  • In Eyeshield 21, this was the reason why Mamori didn't want Sena to join the football team, as she still sees him as someone who needs to be protected by her. And this plays a major role in why she cannot realize that Sena is in fact Eyeshield 21.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Iris has a rather odd habit of calling Ash a kid whenever he says something she doesn't like or does something stupid...even though she's a kid herself!
    • Earlier episodes has Misty believing this about Ash, having little to no respect for the starting trainer, despite being the same age as him. When he does prove himself later on, however, her attitude towards him changes.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, a few characters are dismissive of Reira Akaba, finding it hard to believe such a small boy could be on par with the other duelists. They have a point. Though Reira is a talented duelist, he lacks emotional maturity and quickly panics and freezes up without his big brother to protect him.
  • In Hero Union BBS, a young hero visits a thread to ask the retired heroes for some endgame advice after defeating her world's demon lord by herself. When she mentions that she's only nine years old, some of the thread's participants become shocked or impressed that a hero so young was able to accomplish such a feat.
  • Ryuu of Snow White with the Red Hair is underestimated and frequently thought to be some kind of messenger or assistant when faced with patients who are unfamiliar with him since he managed to become a pharmacist at the age of twelve. Those patients that have heard of him have an unfortunate tendency to find him creepy due to unfounded rumors which flourished due to his age, quiet behavior and lack of social skills.
  • The main protagonists of Doraemon frequently get underestimated on their abilities because they're "just a bunch of kids".
  • Dog Soldier has 7-year-old Morita Asao: Has Hiba and Fudo to save his father, parachutes out of the plane, then, after his father is killed in front of him, sneaks a grenade into the prison, and walks THROUGH fire to stop Gaddafi's ICBM.
  • In The Advent of Death's Daughter, Madea Naoko gets constantly confused with a 12-year-old child, despite being 17 and gets seriously underestimated as a result. At best, this results in Cross-Popping Veins. At worst, a grisly death is coming your way.
  • Lord Ciel Phantomhive of Black Butler sometimes runs into disrespect or dismissal from adults due to his young age, even though he's head of the house of Phantomhive after his parents' deaths and has taken on the responsibilities of running the company and serving the queen. Luckily, Sebastian is there to iron out any serious issues.
  • In the anime/manga of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, despite his many achievements at his young age, Arslan is still a fourteen-year-old boy. Daryun is concerned for him after Narsus revealed to Arslan that his cousin Hilmes is after the throne after his uncle Andragoras murdered his father.
  • Rebuild World:
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Allies and enemies alike underestimate 14-year-old Simon due to his age and the fact he initially doesn't think much of himself either. Despite all this, he's the driving force that leads the heroes to victory.
  • Mister Ajikko:
    • Many a challenger who doesn't take Yoichi seriously as a culinary rival bases their attitude on Yoichi being unmistakably a minor. Naturally, Yoichi proves them wrong when the Cooking Duel takes place. This happens more so early on in the series, when Yoichi is still unknown in the culinary circles. Once Yoichi's culinary reputation starts building up, this trope occurs much less often.
    • Played for Laughs once when a young woman at a camping site spots him alone and invites him over for food, shortly before her boyfriend comes back and has them Mistaken for Cheating, but he backs down after realizing his girlfriend wouldn't be romantically involved with a child that Yoichi is.
      Young woman's boyfriend: How could you bring a man here while I was away?!
      Young woman: He's just a kid!

    Comic Books 
  • Clem Hetherington wants to be an archaeologist like her mother, but nobody wants her to come on archaeological expeditions because of her age, much to her chagrin.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man:
    • Spidey gets unmasked by Dr. Octopus in an early issue, but thanks to Peter Parker's youth (and Spidey's poor performance in the proceeding fight) neither Ock nor the assembled crowd believe Parker is really Spidey, assuming that Peter just donned a Spider-Man costume to play the hero. Years later, when Spidey unmasks on national TV, Doc Ock goes on a rampage fueled by the humiliation of being constantly beaten by a high-schooler.
    • In a later issue, the Green Goblin spies on Spider-Man unmasking in an alley, and is surprised to find out how young Spidey really is.
      Green Goblin: [thinking to himself] It's incredible! He's just a kid—can't be more than nineteen or twenty! I'd never have guessed!
  • Subverted a lot in Ultimate Spider-Man, where Spider-Man is normally a well-respected threat to the bad guys until he begins to quip. His talking points normally date him (making pop-culture references or naïve assumptions), prompting the bad guy to reply along the lines of "Wait, how old are you?"
  • Star Wars: Kanan: In his youth his not-much-older classmates would always dismiss Caleb Dume as being a know-nothing kid. When he finally becomes a Padawan, the clones call him a kid in a playful manner, though by now, he's annoyed by being called this.
  • Teen Titans is built on this trope.
  • The Runaways have to deal with this kind of treatment all the time from adult superheroes. This doesn't mesh well with the runaways' ingrained belief that Adults Are Useless at best thanks to the whole "parents are evil supervillains plotting to wipe out humanity" thing that shattered their ability to trust adults. In their well-meaning efforts to look out for the kids' well-being, the adult heroes are just reinforcing the idea that the runaways can't ever trust adult authority figures.
  • The backup feature in one issue of Tomahawk was about Brass Buttons, Stovepipe, and Dan Hunter (none of them even 20 yet) embittered by the other Rangers looking down on them because of their youth. Naturally they end up saving the day later.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): When Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark first starts trying to help fight bad guys everyone keeps pushing her to the side, not listening to her ideas and observations and telling her to stay out of it despite there being plenty of other costumed crime fighters her age. When Wondy hears Cassie received superpowers her first reaction is to say she'll request the gods to remove them at the first opportunity, which ticks Cassie off as she'd rather have the training everyone keeps saying she needs.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Mark Russell says this about Madison almost word-for-word in Chapter 8 — notably, he cuts her off from speaking when he says it — which prompts Ilene to point out that Madison has already grown up beyond her years.
  • A Triangle in the Stars: This is one of the main reasons Bill often underestimates Steven and what the boy can handle. It shows signs of fading around Chapter Forty-Four, but he's still worried.
    • It's also why Wendy won't tell Steven and Connie what happened between her and Bill in Chapter Ten, for fear that it may traumatize them. Subverted, for she eventually caved and finally told Connie about Weirdmageddon off-screen.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Gladion tried to tell Lusamine about the experiments Faba was conducting with Type: Null, but she just dismisses it. Even worse, her response makes it seem like she already knows, so he frees the Pokémon and runs away.
  • In The Captain of the Virtual Console, Rocket Grunts consider Red to be a kid beneath their notice. He proves them wrong.
  • In Cyberpunk: Another Daybreak, David is as surprised as anyone else when he's chosen to become a Kamen Rider, agreeing with Mosley's assessment that someone like Maine would be better suited for the role than a gangly teenager with no idea what he's doing. He reiterates that he's just seventeen when Woz tells him that it'll be David's duty to uplift others as Isu and the rest of Hiden Intelligence did for him.
  • In The Dragon King's Temple, that's the reason why the SG-1 is not happy to learn that Zuko and Toph are trained to fight and have already killed people.
  • Fate Ends: the Cang Qiong Mountain Peak Lords are stunned and horrified when they learned one of them had been swapped with twenty-six years old Harry — in the jianghu, it does qualify as a child, and Harry is younger than his own martial niece. Harry himself doesn't appreciate and points nobody noticed the swap because he did a very good job.
  • This is one of Izuku's Berserk Buttons in If I Only Had A Heart, since people continually talk down to him because he's young and legally disabled due to his missing arm and eye as well as his damaged spine, no matter how many amazing inventions he creates.
    Izuku: SO?? Why does that matter? I can do stuff adults can’t. Why does my age determine how reliable my technology is?? You and everybody else always see my inventions as cute parlor tricks or a quirky part of my personality, but they aren’t! I can do this! I can DO this!!
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus has Parker be deeply annoyed by this. As he's only five, he is dismissed by everyone intentionally or not and it hurts his pride. It proves to him that he's not considered important, his opinion and fears are to be ignored. He has been told that he can't do anything to stop his sister's bullies, he was dismissed by Gloria and Goh as to why Sycamore shouldn't trust Alex Shepherd and when surrounded by idiot adults screaming their heads off — while he's in a wheelchair at this point — he gets very very angry at how barely anyone pays attention to a child like him until it's too late.
  • Downplayed in build your wings on the way down. Hughes is horrified that Edward Elric, an unsupervised and unaccompanied eleven-year-old child is joining the military. However, he respects Edward's intelligence and capabilities too much to say it to Edward's face. Hughes instead tries to support Edward and lashes out at Roy, who Hughes believed should have known better than make a Child Prodigy into a Child Soldier.
  • Mirrors (TLOZ): Ganondorf reacts this way when he's challenged and later defeated by the 17-year-old Link. He derides Link as being just a boy and refuses to believe he can be defeated by someone his age.
  • Everyone's first reaction in Rise of the Dragon Child when seeing the prophesied Dragonborn is a scrawny thirteen-year-old boy is to dismiss him on the grounds he looks too damn weak, or to freak as it means a kid has to fling himself into danger and could get killed.
  • The protagonist Ume in Self-Insert Naruto fanfic Sugar Plums is well aware of this despite being the driving force behind a lot of the decisions made she has Ao who is older and more established in the shinobi world present them in her stead while pretending to be a timid and damaged little girl.
  • How the Avengers see Spider-Man in the There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton series due to him being fifteen, which results in them having different mind-sets on him. Tony prefers to help him from afar since the idea of having an underage teen be an official member of the Avengers doesn't sit well with him (he also notes that it would be controversial with the public) while Steve wants to bring him into the fold and help him with proper training and support since he'd need it more than any of the adult heroes.
  • In Transcendence, almost everyone on Azeroth who first meets Ichigo tends to doubt or outright dismiss his competence because he's only a teenager, which annoys him to no end.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Boss Baby, Tim and the Boss Baby are overlooked and get away with pretty much anything on the basis that they are both just kids and therefore not a threat. It's also likely why, at the end of the film, Tim's parents have their memories erased of having adopted a baby, but Tim is given a choice and chooses to keep his memories.
  • This was the main plot of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. SpongeBob (who's implied to be in his 20s but acts much younger) got this from nearly everyone in the movie as a reason he's not capable of doing what he sets out to do. Of course, he does prove himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle Beyond the Stars. Shad is dismissed as being just a boy when he first proposes searching for mercenaries to defend Akir, but Zed (the only Akiran with fighting experience) is old and blind, and Zed's Sapient Ship is at least willing to tolerate Shad.
  • In Kamen Rider OOO Wonderful: The Shogun and the 21 Core Medals, Kamen Rider OOO was having trouble fighting the Big Bad, until he gets an unexpected assistance from the new guy, Kamen Rider Fourze. When Fourze "unmasks" himself in front of OOO, the latter was pretty surprised that the new Rider is actually just a high school student.
  • MonsterVerse: Madison Russell seems to get this due to her young age despite being wise beyond her years. It's implied in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) that her parents, Alan Jonah and his goons all somewhat underestimate her because of her age; and the film's novelization states that Dr. Mancini feels this way about Madison's presence at Mothra's birth. In Godzilla vs. Kong, her father Mark doesn't say it but he displays the attitude when she approaches him about Godzilla's attack (though it's implied he's partly motivated by protective fatherly instinct).
  • The Neverending Story. The Prime Minister (or whoever he's supposed to be) didn't want Atreyu the child, he wanted Atreyu the warrior. Atreyu just shrugs and says he is the only one of his tribe with that name and they can take it or leave it. They take it.
  • X-Men: First Class: Erik suggests that he and Xavier train the young mutants to fight Sebastian Shaw and the Hellfire Club.
    Xavier: They're just kids.
    Erik: No. They were kids.
  • Skyfall:
    Q: I'm your new Quartermaster.
    Bond: You must be joking.
    Q: Why, because I'm not wearing a lab coat?
    Bond: Because you still have spots!
  • In the 1998 movie Recoil, when Morgan realizes that the robber they gunned down wasn't an typical robber (who pretends to be one).
    Morgan: Jesus Christ... He's just a kid.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Furiosa is not pleased when Nux tries to throttle her, and is about to cut his throat when the Five Wives intervene.
    Splendid Angharad: No unnecessary killing! We agreed!
    Furiosa: This War Boy wants me dead!
    Splendid Angharad: He's just a kid at the end of his Half Life!
  • In a positive example of this, the train passengers of Spider-Man 2 are shocked, impressed, and inspired when they save the unconscious and maskless Spider-Man and realize how young their city's hero actually is.
    Passenger: He's just a kid... no older than my son...

  • This trope is why Alex Rider is so useful to MI6—people see him and don't suspect that a fourteen-year-old boy is an experienced intelligence operative capable of doing a lot of damage should he so choose. This is a good portion of why his bringing down two of Scorpia's plans in less than a year was so damaging for them—the biggest terrorist organization in the world, beaten twice by a teenager.
    • This trope, combined with Reverse Psychology, is used against Alex at the end of the second book. He's just escaped from the villain's headquarters—nearly dying multiple times—and has absolutely no intention of going back in, despite being the only one around who knows the layout. He also hates being told that he's useless because he's a kid, especially by people who should know better. So when he's told that he can't participate in the raid because he's a kid so he'd slow them down and get in the way, he gets mad and immediately demands to go along. Five seconds later, he realizes what just happened, but by then it's too late.
  • Artemis Fowl has had it impressed on him many times that the hardest part of being a preteen criminal mastermind is getting people to take you seriously, especially when dealing with his own race. Faeries tend to respect him more, though they still get irked at being outsmarted by a mud boy.
  • "A terrorist doesn't let strangers into her flat because they might be undercover police or intelligence agents, but her children bring their mates home and they run all over the place. The terrorist doesn't know that one of these kids has bugged every room in her house, made copies of all her computer files and stolen her address book. The kid works for CHERUB."
  • This trope is generally inverted in Duumvirate because everyone knows how dangerous young engineereds are, but one poor fool messes with a certain four-armed boy escaping from an Amusement Park of Doom. The kid's a fraction his size, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • The frequently-underestimated eleven-year-old chemistry genius and proto-goth-chick Flavia de Luce solves mysteries in books like The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. In the latter, the constabulary's infuriated that she is always better informed than they are and put it down to the fact that, as a kid, people open up to her. (The fact is, she's also smarter than they are.)
  • Harry Potter saves the day about once a year, but the good adults, with the exception of Dumbledore, treat him like a child until the sixth book or so. During book 5 using this excuse to lock Harry out of the loop contributed to the tragedy in the finale, which is probably why the adults in Harry's life stopped doing this afterwards. In particular, using this trope was Umbridge's modus operandi. To be fair, even disregarding the number of near-death experiences, hairs-breadth-escapes, and hideously one-sided battles Harry's had to face, you can't blame the adults for trying to prevent him from getting blown up or having his soul sucked out.
    • But you can blame them for not sharing critical information which directly concerns him simply because they think he can't handle the Awful Truth. Especially when they do this over and over again and Harry always finds out anyway.
  • In The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield was equivalent in age to a fourth or fifth grader when he fought at Nanduhirion and earned his nickname. Dáin Ironfoot was even younger at that battle, where he slew an orc-chieftan. And not just any orc chieftain but Public Enemy Number Twonote  Azog!

  • In Hunger, the second book in the Gone series by Micheal Grant, this is the excuse of almost everyone for not working, because every character is under 15.
  • Modern Villainess: It's Not Easy Building a Corporate Empire Before the Crash: Even after her investments turn her into the world's youngest self-made billionaire, people still think of Runa as just a child and Tachibana and Ichijou as the brains behind her schemes. Since she's the legal owner, people talk over her head and discuss "buttering up a little girl" to get her to help them without realizing she can hear and understand them.
  • In the Night World series, made vampires are frozen at whatever age they are turned at, and lamia (vampires that can eat, have children, etc.) can stop their physical aging at any time they want. This ends up meaning that several people who have to fight vampires have to silently recite something along the lines of, "They're not really kids." Amusing, considering even vampire kids who are young would still be rather dangerous to a human.
  • Prince Caspian: Trumpkin doesn't even try to hide his initial disappointment to find that the powerful kings and queens who ruled Narnia during the Golden Age have come back as children (Year Inside, Hour Outside complicates things that way).
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms the veteran generals of Wu were reluctant at first to follow the orders of their new chief strategist Lu Xun because he was just "a mere young scholar". They later gave him their full support after seeing how effective the strategy was in curb-stomping the invading Shu forces.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events has the Baudelaire orphans who are a lot more intelligent than they are given credit for, and one of them is a baby. They learn not to go to adults for help because usually adults either wrongly assume they are idiots because they are children or are idiots themselves (and often both).
  • Children under fifteen are by default looked down on in A Song of Ice and Fire, but they can definitely prove themselves and gain a following if they're strong enough. Women are treated the same way. Being both of these things, Daenerys likes to twist this trope to her own benefit whenever an advisor or commander voices some opinion that she disagrees with or believes is short-sighted.
    Daenerys: I am only a young girl and know little of such matters, but it seems to me that [voices an opinion she has no intent of changing].
    • Much of what Arya has done was allowed because very few people suspect a 9-10 year old, and a girl at that, to be capable of casually slitting throats and praying religiously for the deaths of those who had wronged her.
  • At the end of Tunnel in the Sky, the stranded kids are finally rescued. The adults treat them like they're still children when the students survived years on an alien world and built a thriving, civilized colony.
  • The titular protagonist of Varjak Paw gets this treatment from his older family members. They patronize him and look down upon him for being a "weird" kitten who doesn't look or act like a Mesopotamian Blue should. His Big Brother Bully Julius snidely says that he'll always be a kitten to his family.
  • The main characters of Wings of Fire often get treated patronizingly and told this due to being just dragonets.
  • Vista, in Worm, is a thirteen-year-old superheroine on a team of older teenagers. She's also the member of the team with the most actual experience as a superhero, because she's had her powers since she was eleven. It frequently leads to her experiencing this trope.
  • Appears a lot the Young Wizards series, mostly used by parents. But in book 4, 14-year-old Nita uses this trope on a month-old kitten bard; the kitten is not amused, and starts lecturing....

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Season 2 of The 100, it takes a while for Abby to realize that, although she's both Clarke's mother and Chancellor of the Ark survivors, Clarke is actually doing a better job at forging alliances and planning a war than she is.
    Abby: She's just a kid.
    Raven: She stopped being a kid the day you sent her down here to die.
  • Arrow. When Ra's al Ghul finally meets Oliver Queen face-to-face, he's surprised how young the Arrow is. "You're just a boy." This is more a reference to Ra's being Really 700 Years Old rather than to Oliver's age (Oliver would be around 30 at the time).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy, at least during the high school years. It disappears largely after then, because everyone in Sunnydale (and beyond) has apparently heard of Buffy and is no longer surprised at her abilities. The trope was back in full swing during season seven, with the training of Dawn and the Potentials. There's also a Call-Back in the Season Finale of Season 5, when Buffy saves a Victim of the Week from a vampire. He says, "But you're just a girl!" Buffy walks off. "That's what I keep saying."
  • On Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Jesse Travis got this from at least one elderly patient.
  • Doctor Who: In "Midnight", teenager Jethro gets dismissed as "just a boy" by his mother the second his opinion on the situation differs from her own. This is especially patronizing because he's at least seventeen, not to mention that he proves to be much more rational then either of his parents in the situation, when he's not nervously giving in to the pressure they're putting on him to go along with their opinions.
  • Doogie Howser, M.D.: The premise: medical doctor who is just a kid. Faintly based on a real-life example.
  • Farscape. Ka D'Argo tells Zhaan that he's 30 cycles (years) old and she teases him that he's just a boy, implying that these aliens live a lot longer than humans. D'Argo gets miffed and insists that he's fought in two battle campaigns. When Zhaan replies, "Only two?" he changes the subject. The scene serves to establish that D'Argo isn't as experienced and confident as his Proud Warrior Race bluster would make you think.
  • In Flashpoint, new recruit Donna hesitates in following Parker's orders to shoot a teenager who had kidnapped his baby son and is endangering both of them. Ed calls her out on it and she explains the reason she hesitated was because all she saw was a scared kid.
  • Game of Thrones: Tywin Lannister dismisses the 18-year-old Robb Stark as a threat because of this, figuring that he'll probably run back home to the North at the first sight of battle. Even Robb's father is concerned. He is oh so very wrong. When the dust settles, his son is a prisoner of war, and half his army has been destroyed. Turns out that Robb is actually quite the tactician. Ironically, the Reynes of Castamere once thought the same of Tywin.
  • In Rome, Cicero dismisses the teenage Octavian, assuming the latter can be manipulated into serving his interests and then discarded when he is no longer useful. He is very much mistaken.
    Cicero: I've been outmaneuvered by a child!
  • Played for Dramatic Irony in Star Trek: Voyager when Kes tells the Doctor to stop patronizing her as she's not longer a kid, being three years old. That's half the lifespan of her species.
  • The Wire: Omar Little, one of the lead characters, is a Friend to All Children and dismisses many young players in the Baltimore drug trade because they're "just kids", including using the phrase exactly to describe Michael, who is meeting with Marlo, in late season four. One such child, Kenard, is looked at by a Baltimore police officer as an example of how Omar's influence and brazen antics have spread to young, impressionable children, who view him as a hero. Near the end of the series, Omar is unexpectedly gunned down by Kenard while trying to buy some cigarettes, after Omar had dismissed the boy as a threat when he walked into the store.
    • The trope is then used word for word in the season five finale. Michael has become a stick-up boy in Omar's mould, and when he holds up Marlo's "bank" is told "Shit, you just a boy!"; Michael responds by shooting the guy in the leg with a shotgun and saying "And that's just your knee." It's safe to say that he made his point.


    Mythology and Religion 

    Video Games 
  • Bastion averts this, as the main protagonist is not only one of the few survivors of The End of the World as We Know It, but he's only 16 or so. Then he gets More Dakka. A hammer, shotgun, rifle, bow, flamethrower, machete, spear, indestructible shield, and an OP cannon. More than Enuff Dakka for such a young Kid, huh? Even the Narrator thinks so.
    Rucks: [Kid uses Army Carbine and Calamity Cannon] Kid makes me nervous sometimes strutting around with all those guns.
    • It gets better. Yup.
      Rucks: [Kid uses Galleon Mortar and Calamity Cannon] OK, now that's just plain overkill. I mean, come on.
  • Done with the ladybug siblings Leby and Dib in Bug Fables. Leby refuses to allow Dib to take care of her, seeing him just as a kid and believing he can't help her the same way she helps him. This culminates in Dib running away in hopes of trying to prove himself by finding something for her birthday.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: Charlotte Aulin. Everyone treats her like a kid... even her partner.
  • Laharl of Disgaea has gotten quite a bit of this from both Etna and Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! Etna uses it to legitimately call him out on his brattiness and emotional immaturity while He Who Has No Indoor Voice is just incapable of believing that some tiny little punk is stronger and smarter than him.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest II: Pretty much the Prince of Cannock's reason to his younger sister on why she can't come with your party. Given that the party is only about 16 or so, she can be assumed to be rather young. She likely didn't have any formal training either, which would have made her The Load in your group.
    • Dragon Quest VII: Getting dismissed due to his youth naturally doesn't go over well with Zev.
  • This is a serious resentment of Rahim in Dying Light (so much so that he angrily snaps when people tell him not to do something dangerous because people see him as a kid) as he feels that Brecken (leader of the Tower), Jade (older sister) and Crane (undercover GRE Agent / "tourist") don't think he has what it takes to go out into the field as a runner. However, they all have a good reason (Brecken's a professional parkour teacher and sees that he doesn't have the skill, Jade doesn't want to see him killed because he's the last family she has since the outbreak and all of them believe that his plan to destroy a Volatile nest is a bad idea. Unfortunately for Rahim, they were right — when he disobeys everyone's orders and tries to destroy the nest himself, he gets another runner killed with his incompetence and gets infected then refuses to tell Crane who's come to rescue him, then ending with Rahim being killed by Crane. His attempt to subvert this trope only ends up proving everyone right.
  • EarthBound (1994):
    • Considering the protagonists are all in their early teens: "At times like this, kids like you should be playing video games!"
    • Also in EarthBound, the sea captain who is ferrying the group to Scaraba exclaims that he thought that the foursome were just a group of kids upon them defeating the Kraken.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the NES version of Final Fantasy III, one of the villagers in Ur thinks the four Onion Kids are crazy because they want to save the world.
    • Final Fantasy IX: The main character Zidane does this to both the children of the group Eiko and Vivi when he is going through his depression telling them they are just children, completely ignoring their own sacrifices and contributions to the good of the group, before leaving them. It should be noted that Zidane rather cruely left both said children locked in a room they couldn't get out of without help and they could have realistically died if Zidane didn't remember what he did before leaving the area.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, Shinra responds to questions he doesn't know the answer to with "I'm just a kid. At one point, Yuna actually calls him out directly on this. She wants to communicate with the cactuars in the Cactuar Nation, but Benzo, the Al Bhed kid who understands their speech, isn't around. She asks Shinra if he can communicate with them and Shinra gives his standard excuse, to which Yuna responds that Benzo is also just a kid. Shinra seems very put out by this.
    • In Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Vaan thinks that the Onion Knight is way too young to be fighting with the rest of them, and elects to be his "older brother." This mainly consists of him trying to get Onion Knight to take it easy at every term which really ticks off the Onion Knight, who's surprisingly mature and strong for his age.
  • In the Fire Emblem franchise:
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, Marth gets this often.
    • Played for Laughs in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
      Sylvia: My name is Sylvia, but you can call me 'Sylvie'!
      Sigurd: Huh? Just a little girl. You better find a place to hide, it's dangerous here.
      Sylvia: Little... GIRL!? You ever see a little girl with THESE!?
    • A couple of instances in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. A few characters privately express doubts about The Hero Roy, since he's only fifteen and wound up commanding a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits because of his father's illness and his allies' treachery, but their doubts are soon assuaged. Lugh, a Child Mage, also gets this from a few characters since he's younger than Roy and (unlike his twin or adopted brother) doesn't have a cranky attitude to make up for his youth.
    • Played straight in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones with Ewan, whose older sister and mentor still tend to see as a little boy (the latter less so than the former, however, Saleh is shown to acknowledge and praise Ewan's skills despite the scoldings).
    • Also played straight with Rolf in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (less so in Radiant Dawn since he does get older) by his brother Boyd, and the majority of the people on his support list, excluding the sickly priest Rhys and his mentor Shinon, for the most part. Some of his support conversations basically begin with someone telling him that he's too young to be on a battlefield, while he denies it vehemently, and later proves them wrong at the A support level.
      • Ike has this attitude when Mist joins along with Rolf in Chapter 9. He quickly gets over it, though he remains protective throughout the rest of the two games. Justified in that she's his only living blood family left.
      • Muarim says something to this effect if you send Rolf, Sothe or Mist up against him, distressed at the idea of kids being sent off to battle.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening
      • Again played straight with Ricken, the youngest of Chrom's Shepherds. Most of his dialogue and Supports have him trying to prove he isn't.
      • Arden from Genealogy of the Holy War is shocked to see Nowi on the battlefield for this reason.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, some of the older characters you can recruit are quite skeptical at how strong the Captain can be given their age (they're fifteen years old), commonly leading to Underestimating Badassery sometimes. This is apparent with Vaseraga in the "Footprints on Sacred Ground" event where he's displeased with the thought of Zeta getting kids involved for their mission. Averted in the Detective Conan collaboration event where Conan and Amuro were able to deduce that they are the captain. Though it's justified because the characters in question are skilled detectives.
  • Mission Vao in Knights of the Old Republic is constantly annoyed this trope, to the point of it being a Berserk Button. She's just fourteen and sounds like a typical teenager, except for the part that when she demands to be taken seriously, she has good reason. You can avert actually treating her like this, though.
    • Seeing as she survived on her own in one of the worst slums in the galaxy after her brother ran off, when she is an age, gender, species, and attractiveness level (nubile, female, pretty-looking Twi'lek of uncommon coloration) that would have pigeonholed her into prostitution, slavery, or worse and frequently explores tunnels and passages in the Undercity where even the party's Mandalorian mercenary won't go without a full entourage of armed men, even without Zaalbar for backup, her annoyance at being blown off as a kid is pretty justified. Mission is definitely Little Miss Badass.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The younger Links occasionally get this treatment. In-game, the general populace of Hyrule have various reasons for why they don't believe Link, despite him wearing the clothes of the hero, ranging from "nice fancy dress" to "you playing let's-pretend-we're-the-hero-of-time" to having it become tradition in various places that children wear the same clothes as the legends tell of and other such reasons. As a whole the series justifies people treating Link like he's not a hero in that, in real life, if you saw a kid come up to you in Robin Hood's clothes, would you believe that they're the reincarnation of Robin Hood?
    • In the The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask manga, Link also has to deal with this when he's traveling the world. He's invited to show a group of soldiers in training how to fight; the guy in charge knows that Link is a little badass, but the trainees mock him. Until he beats them up, of course. It's then commented that he fights like a man but when it comes to food, he acts like a kid. Majora's Mask itself (as well as the manga) uses this trope when Link is turned into a Deku Scrub, too.
      • Amusingly averted after Link regains his normal Hylian boy form. Children aren't allowed outside the city walls, it's too dangerous, but since Link has a sword the guards will let him do whatever he wants, despite the fact that he's ten and barely comes up to the guards' waist. The best part about that is that the guard apologizes for treating him like a child.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a pair of boys playing catch will give you tips on what to do in the game, followed by "I don't know what that means, I'm just a kid."
    • Even older incarnations of Link aren't immune. When Link revives Scrapper in Skyward Sword, the robot in question refuses to give him a modicum of respect (saving his life only warrants a reluctant offering of "obligatory gratitude"), calls him a child, and then takes to taking jabs at his height by permanently nicknaming him Master Shortpants.
    • Both Link and Zelda get this treatment to differing degrees in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Zelda writes an official royal decree to the guard of the neighboring village to allow Link to go Death Mountain. The guard when finding out laughs loudly at the letter and situation, as both Link and Zelda are children he believes Zelda is just using her royal family authority to play a children's game and doesn't take Link seriously due to his age. He does open the gate but it appears to be more for his own amusement rather than listening to the princess of the land.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 8: Tengu Man looks down (literally) on our hero and says "It's just a kid. Don't make me laugh" in some instances in the English releases. That said, while Mega Man is built to look and act like a child, he's actually older than every other robot in the franchise save Proto Man.
    • If playing as X in Mega Man X4, Frost Walrus says this pre-battle: "They sent a kid like you after me? I promise to end this quickly". If playing as Zero, he says: "What's that blonde kid up to?! I don't have time for you junior!" This is despite them being designed to look and act like they are around 20 years old.
    • Also from the metaseries is Hope Stelar of Mega Man Star Force, where she calls her own son (and the hero of the game) "just a boy" in the third game.
    • In Mega Man ZX Advent, Atlas, Mega (Wo)Man Model F, tells young Thetis, Mega Man Model L and fellow member of a Quirky Miniboss Squad, that he's just a kid like The Hero Grey/Ashe, the new Mega Man Model A, and wonders why so many kids were chosen to be Biomatches. note  Slightly irked, Thetis is quick to mention that as a teenager, there isn't much of a gap between them age-wise.
  • NES Ninja Gaiden: Ryu Hayabusa mistakes MIB agent Irene Lew as "Just a girl. Get out of here." He is promptly shot and captured.
  • Persona 4:
    • This trope is one of the motivating factors behind Naoto's Shadow. No matter how much effort Naoto put into their profession, they would always get brushed off as being "just a child", leading to no end of frustration along with the sexism inherent in the law enforcement profession.
    • Also seen in the Good Ending when Adachi taunts the team by saying things along the lines of "Students should stay home and study." (As opposed to, you know, bringing him to justice.)
  • Used frequently in the Pokémon games. Every evil "team" has at least one member that says some variation of this, despite the fact that physical age has no effect on battles. Even Team Rocket continues to do this in the second generation games, which is surprising, considering that it was a kid who caused them to disband three years before.
  • A very overdone excuse in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon that keeps the main characters from getting full approval of doing anything remotely dangerous. No matter if they achieved three suicidal missions with no casualties, evolved using magical trinkets all the way to their late stages, being the only ones left for support, the adults will continuously dismiss them unless they are with an adult. This makes it incredibly ironic when it is revealed that you are playing as a hero from 1000 years ago and your partner is the reincarnation of Mew, and the two of you are the only ones who can save the entire world.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman taunts Tails: "You're just a kid. You couldn't beat me in a hundred years!" This was extremely stupid of Eggman seeing that Tails may have managed to see him off once before in that story and actually managed to defeat him decisively when he was attacking Station Square in the previous game in a head to head... without his mecha. Whether Eggman ends up eating his words depends on whether you're playing the Hero or Dark Story.
  • In Star Fox: Assault, Wolf continually calls Fox a "pup". Nowhere do they explain they retconned Wolf's age to be 6 years older than Fox.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken:
    • As the vast majority of the female cast are just teenage girls often portrayed as The Cutie in their own ways, they tend to get this casted down on them hard. Special mention goes to Guile who talks down to pretty much every teenage female character when he defeats them and pretty much tells them all they are useless in combat and they should just go home.
    • Ibuki in the same game invokes this herself in her win quote against Kazuya Mishima from the opposite franchise "Taking it easy on me because I am a kid? Well don't forget I am also a ninja!". Though she herself gets a rather harsh one from the aforementioned Guile in the previous game alluding to a famous "family man" quote telling her to "Go home and be a schoolgirl" and the battlefield isn't for someone like her.
  • Happens in the Tales of Symphonia games with Genis, the Kid Genius Squishy Wizard of the party.
  • Tales of Vesperia:
    • Rita Mordio is well-known as the genius mage, but she's also considered by every mage in Aspio as a weirdo because of her extreme fascination for Blastia (despite all of them having just as much fascination that they are pretty ignorant about what happens in the world). Though making many breakthroughs, adults at Aspio very often dismiss her from discussions because she's too young.
    • Karol Capel is a much more believable example of being just a kid due to his Small Name, Big Ego and Cowardly Lion natures, which earned him an infamous reputation of being the worst guild member for having been kicked out of many guilds. It takes him some levels of badass to finally be seen as a very capable kid.
  • Paige tries treating the others as kids in The Colour Tuesday, at which point Alex points out that she's the same age as the rest of them.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: In both the outdated backstory and the final game, Arizona's father didn't want her to go out to become The Prairie's Champion because she was too young (about 1-year-old in the original Book of Lore) and that it was too dangerous. Throughout her quest, other characters tell Arizona to just go home for similar reasons.
  • Often Played for Drama throughout the seasons of The Walking Dead (Telltale) when it comes to Clementine. In Season 1, Lee starts off taking the opportunity to protect her (at the player's discretion, anyway), feeling it's his duty as an adult and as her surrogate father, but Chuck tells him that this ideal just won't work in a post-apocalyptic society, and Clementine will die if she isn't ever taught to defend herself properly. So he does, and it ends up coming in very handy shortly afterwards, especially when Lee himself is bitten and doomed to either die or zombify. Come Season 2, Clem often shocks the people around her at just how level-headed she is for a girl of only eleven years of age, to the point that she's often thrust to the fore of a situation.
  • In the non-canon Yu-Gi-Oh GX! Tag Force 1, Kagemaru say this to the player during their second duel (after going from being stuck in a machine to being youthful, a glowing aura, and eight-pack abs) when he's losing.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Parodied in the Strong Bad E-Mail "japanese cartoon".
    1-Up: Hey, Stinkoman! Everybody says you're the guy, but I want to be the guy too!
    Stinkoman: No way! You're just a kid! Maybe when you're older!
    • And then flipped around in Stinkoman 20X6, where 1-Up himself says that he can't rescue Pan Pan alone because he's just a kid. (Maybe when he's older...)

  • Evon: In the first chapter Hero refers to Evon as "kid" all the time and treats her as such, up until she blasts a hole in an assassin's chest. She's actually 18, but her use of magic makes her look (supposedly) closer to 12.
  • In The Order of the Stick, this trope is the reason for Andi's dislike of Bandana, as Andi once served as Bandana's babysitter and has never moved on from seeing the latter as an annoying child. This way of thinking eventually gets a dose of reality applied to it during Andi's attempted mutiny: Andi thinks she'd be a more capable captain, but once she forcibly takes charge, she finds herself unable to do it. Bandana legitimately was the most capable person for the job, but Andi could never see that because she refused to see Bandana as anything but the annoying kid she had to babysit for years.
  • Lampshaded in this Super Stupor strip. The Big Bad thinks the trope, but his Genre Savvy henchman quits on the spot. Of course, the Big Bad doesn't believe him and gets roasted.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan: "You're not old enough, Scooter."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The show averts this in that Aang, a twelve year old boy and the titular Avatar, is instantly recognized as the most important person on the planet by most people he encounters, and will react to him by either giving him respect, wanting him to complete a dangerous task for them, or attacking him on sight, and will usually result in Aang's pursuers homing in on his position regardless. This aversion is a distinctly mixed blessing to say the least.
    • It's simultaneously averted and played straight (by Yue and Aang respectively) in the season one finale.
      Aang: I must have taken out a dozen Fire Navy ships, but there's just too many of them. I can't fight them all.
      Yue: But, you have to! You're the Avatar!
      Aang: I'm just one kid. [buries his head in his arms]
    • Apparently this runs in families, as Aang's granddaughter Jinora goes through this in The Legend of Korra. Tenzin virtually says this verbatium when she asks about whether she is ready for her tatoos, after Kai convinces her that she should have them.
  • Ben 10: Ben occasionally runs afoul of this, though never for very long: Voluntary Shapeshifting helps you escape this trope. Rather bizarrely, though, he often does find himself falling victim to this response all over again after a battle, when he changes back into his human form and the supporting character of the week realizes that he's "just" a shape-shifting, superpowered kid rather than an alien.
  • This trope is a more or less constant worry for Ma-Ti of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. True, except for Gi they're all "kids", but Ma-Ti has the added disadvantage of just being twelve (aside of, well, the What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? deal).
  • Danny Phantom gets this a few times; twice from Vlad, once from Clockwork, although the latter is justified since he was trying to explain (in short) the nature of time to someone who's probably barely passing pre-algebra.
    • Also referred to in the opening theme. ("...Danny Fenton, he was just fourteen, when...")
  • Averted in Dragon Booster, where not only are the main cast all 16 or under (Moordryd being debatably 17), no one even mentions that Artha's 10-year-old brother is going on the adventures with the group. Possibly explained by the only adults we see being Artha and Moordryd's fathers, and officials that are presumably upper class, but it's strange to only see adults in situations that simply could not be done by children (security heads and teachers), and no one thinks it's strange for the Down City racers to be primarily under 20.
    • Of course, on the flip side, the Down City races are the lowest ranked races, and so of course the competitors would be younger. If we had seen some higher-ranked racers, they might have been adults who might even have taunted the heroes for being "just kids"
    • Which still doesn't excuse no one being shocked that Lance (the above mentioned 10-year-old) went on all the missions with Artha's team and the only person to even say "he's just a little kid" was Artha's Anti-Villain rival Moordryd, and even then only after Lance was attacked. Other than that, people only refer to him as short. Clearly the standards are different in Dragon City.
  • Underestimating a Kid Hero? How about a kid VILLAIN? Stewie, from Family Guy, shows signs of developing into a Diabolical Mastermind, yet his parents tend not to take him seriously. For example, he likes to read books like The Prince and The Art of War, yet his mother interrupts him telling him those books are not for toddlers and he should be watching Teletubbies instead. (Of course, he somewhat likes the show, but still...)
  • Throughout the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Frankie My Dear", Bloo uses this as his excuse as to why he thinks he's better for Frankie than Mac is. Mac promptly throws it back in his face, since he imagined Bloo when he was three, making Bloo all of five years old, with the immaturity of a whiny toddler to match.
  • Justice League Unlimited: Spoofed when Flash laments the rest of the League's reluctance to take him seriously... while playing Rock'em Sock'em Robots. It's also played straight in the season finale when Flash answers Luthorac's taunt of "Are you going to fight me, boy?" by deciding to get dangerous for once.
  • Max and Ruby: The character Max, despite being about four and not being capable of saying more than a few words at once, shows himself to be quite capable of either outwitting his older sister or helping her to get what she wants.
  • In a The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode that guest starred The Harlem Globetrotters, "The Ghostly Creep From the Deep", the two groups decided to play basketball for fun. The Globetrotters said they would go easy on Mystery Inc since they're only kids. They change their minds when Scooby easily gets the ball and scores a basket. "Looks like these kids got tricks of their own..."
  • In "Mama Peanut" from PB&J Otter, Peanut, Munchy and Flick actually invoke it when a baby turtle keeps following Peanut around calling him his "mommy." They sing a song about how they're all just kids. Peanut eventually goes off on the little turtle, only to then feel guilty. He apologizes and tells him that though he can't be his mommy, he can be his friend. At the end of the episode, Peanut asks his parents if it's okay for him to keep having fun being a kid as he grows bigger. They agree and a reprise of the song is performed.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar Skipper has used this phrase regarding Private a couple of times, sometimes to him, and sometimes when being a Large Ham. The best was in "Caught In The Web" when Private was taken away by Alice...
    Skipper: HE'S JUST A BOY!!!!
  • A huge theme of Phineas and Ferb is the fact they are just kids, yet still manage to do so many bizarre and amazing things; this is the main reason that their mother never believes Candace when she tries to bust them.
    • Parodied when Candace once asks the boys (renowned for making bizarre inventions) why they couldn't just create some way of fixing their rocket ship without necessitating a space walk. The boys simply stare at her for a moment before Ferb comments, "Candace, we are just kids."
  • Ready Jet Go!: A Heroic Self-Deprecation version in "Diggin' Earth" — Sean thinks that he and the others can't really dig all the way down to the Earth's core because they're just kids, and wants to give up, but Dr. Rafferty tells him that kids (like them) can do amazing things and encourages him to keep going.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Ezra Bridger gets this from time to time, most notably in "Stealth Strike", when he's underestimated by both Commander Sato and Admiral Titus. (Agent Kallus, on the other hand, warns Titus not to underestimate Ezra, but his warnings go unheeded.) Ezra proves himself by escaping capture, helping to rescue Sato; and later blowing up Admiral Titus' ship.
  • Storm Hawks: The initial reaction to the current teenage generation of Storm Hawks. It even prevents them from being officially registered as a Sky Knight squadron in the pilot. Fortunately, all their hard work pays off and they get unofficially recognized as worthy successors and heroes in their own right.
  • A theme on Young Justice (2010): the team initially formed when the original sidekicks felt their mentors weren't giving them as much respect as they deserved. The Justice League agreed to accommodate them (albeit with issues continued to be hammered out throughout the first season). And of course, it sometimes comes up with villains too; Mister Twister actually claims to be disturbed to fight children and asks if they have any adult supervision.
    • It also comes up when the Justice League discovers that one of their own members, Captain Marvel, is actually only ten, leading to a vote about whether or not to keep him on. They do.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: There are some children who are really, really good chess players. If you see a kid playing chess in a park, you underestimate him at your peril.
    • The same could be said about kids playing the most brutal Fighting Games in arcades.
    • Lazer tag is another game children dominate because they can hide in the shadows.
    • Children as a whole are a hell of a lot more intelligent than many seem to believe. There's a vast difference between "undeveloped brain" and "lacking knowledge", and actually being stupid. People who don't realize this and underestimate children can be in for a rude awakening when that child easily figures out the parental controls code, how to sneak out without their parents catching them, or how to use Dad's credit card to buy something online.
  • Several notable bands who are known as extremely talented have had teen members, Primus among them.
  • There were those that thought that about Charles XII. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.
  • All of Europe thought that about Maria Theresa. They proved mistaken.
  • No matter how old you are or how much experience or education you acquire you will always be a child in your parent's eyes.
    • This could be part of the reason behind teenage rebellion. When teenagers start seeing that the world is seeing them as an adult and being given more responsibilities (being able to drive, vote, enlist in the military, etc.,) and you parents still see you as "my little baby," it's entirely possible that most rebellion is the child saying, "No, I'm not anymore." Most go in the wrong direction, but still as good a theory as any.
    • Sometimes the opposite happens- being seen as that baby is meant in a meaningful, loving way, because they got the pleasure to raise you. Unfortunately, this isn't true for all families.
  • This was part of the real reason Joan of Arc's ability to lead an army was questioned. Women soldiers were not unheard of (especially as all the men were getting killed), some had even commanded, and it was not the first time someone had reported being asked by God to fight the English. It was the first time someone did all these things at the age of fourteen.
  • These Cracked Article
  • Kids often have disagreements with their parents, so any kid who complains about their parents are often dismissed and/or called spoiled or ungrateful. Unfortunately, this mentality can make actual child abuse victims feel helpless or afraid.


Video Example(s):


"But you're a kid..."

Davis learns that his kidnapper and their ruthless enemy the "Digimon Emperor," who's been enslaving and abusing Digimon all over the Digital World is... a kid his own age.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / JustAKid

Media sources: