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Kids Versus Adults

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In the aftermath, it was learned that Superintendent Chalmers drew first blood.

When the "generation gap" turns into rivalry or all-out war between children and adults.

Often goes hand-in-hand with Adults Are Useless. A war between kids and adults will, of course, almost always include Child Soldiers and/or Abusive Offspring on the side of the children, and Abusive Parents on the side of the adults. May contain one or more children (intentionally or not) becoming Self-Made Orphans or one or more parents (intentionally or not) Offing the Offspring. However, may also be a Velvet Revolution or a Friendly Rivalry.

If the children win, this may lead to a Teenage Wasteland. If the adults win, may invoke a Childless Dystopia.

May be invoked by an Enfant Terrible, Adult Hater or Antagonistic Offspring on the side of the children, or a Child Hater, Evil Matriarch, Archnemesis Dad or Abusive Parents on the side of the adults.

Closely related to Intergenerational Rivalry. Contrast Intergenerational Friendship (A friendship between two people from different generations) and Precocious Crush (when a child falls in love with an adult). However, these relationships may still leave room for conflict.


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  • This was a pretty common trope in children's advertising during the early to mid-1990s (examples are Frosted Mini Wheats, Hi-C, and even one anti-smoking PSA from 1992/93).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Battle Royale 2 goes down this road. It also occurred in the backstory of the original.
  • Children of the Corn film series is an endless parade of cultist children killing adults.
  • While it's only two adults and two children, Little Sweetheart is a prime example. Two bank robber criminals vs. two blackmailing, stalking, thieving little girls.
  • Carrying on from the series it's based off of (which heavily zig-zags the trope), Odd Squad: The Movie features a rival adult-run group called Weird Team driving the kid-run Odd Squad out of business due to the former being able to (presumably) solve cases faster than the latter, and the laid-off agents needing to get their jobs back and expose Weird Team as people who do a half-fast job at solving oddness.
  • The 1968 film Wild in the Streets has the voting age lowered to 14; the 24-year-old rock star subsequently elected president then has everyone over 30 put in re-education camps. The film ends on a punchline suggesting a Full-Circle Revolution when the young president pisses off a couple of 7-year-olds.

  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is about a Fallen States of America in which 98% of all children died of a strange disease. The surviving 2% of them received uncontrollable psionic powers, so they are declared a threat and locked up in labor camps. Of course, those children start to mistrust the adults as much as the adults mistrust them. Subverted when the main protagonist meets the adult rebel group The Children's League.
  • "The Grandfathers' War", one of Murray Leinster's Med Ship stories, featured a war between generations (although the younger was of the age of maturity).
  • Stanley Kiesel's novels The War Between The Pitiful Teachers And The Splendid Kids and Skinny Malinky Leads the War for Kidness take this trope quite literally.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel No Future by Paul Cornell, the Doctor and Benny visit the Mediasphere, a sort of 1970s British collective unconscious comprising TV of the period warped by the anxieties of the age. At one point they see a vicious fight between teenagers based on The Tomorrow People (1973) and pensioners based on Till Death Us Do Part.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's certainly been the premise of a couple of game shows over the years:
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete had the International Adult Conspiracy.
  • Two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes about conflict/war between kids and adults: "Miri" and "And the Children Shall Lead".
  • A majority of Kamen Rider Gaim is spent focusing on the conflict between the teenage Beat Rider dance crews and the adults in the Yggdrasil Corporation; however, the sides get skewered as the series goes on. Most of the teens have grown up ideals (fighting for what is right, compassion for others) while the adults generally have childish goals (half of them wanna be an all-powerful being); though exceptions to both groups, with selfish teens and noble adults, do exist. The conflict between Sid and Kouta perfectly highlights this, as Sid's banters often involve how kids are stupid and need to be ruled over by their adult superiors.

    Video Games 
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has this as the center of its conflict, though with the adults as the heroes and the kids as the villains. The Warriors of Hope, a group of kids who hate adults due to their Abusive Parents, attempt to stage a revolution in Towa City. This means slaughtering the entire adult populace of the city in order to create a peaceful paradise for children. Komaru, the protagonist gets caught up in the middle of it all. Although, it turns out to just have been a lie by Monaca, who didn't really care about a children's paradise; she just wanted to reignite the Tragedy by starting a war between adults and children, and also to drive Komaru into despair with the news that the children killed her parents.
  • Kids vs. Ice Cream:
    • The premise of the flash game involves a newbie ice cream vendor having to fight against waves of bratty kids obsessed with destroying ice cream trucks by using their ice cream products and ingredients as ammo.
    • The Christmas-themed sequel Kids vs. Santa is very much the same, with Santa Claus and his elves taking the side of the adults and using objects commonly associated with Christmas as weaponry/ammo. The only notable difference is that Krampus is the Token Adult on the kids' side, being the one responsible for taking away the flying powers of Santa's sleigh and the Final Boss of the game.
  • This serves as the main conflict of the Final Season of The Walking Dead. Clementine finds a community of children and teens living in an isolated boarding school. She then becomes their de facto leader when it is threatened by an all-adult group of raiders.

  • Avogado6's "Country of Children" short manga concerns a nation of children living alone in a guerilla war against adults with masks over their heads. One child has an older brother around middle school age, who frets about what'll happen to him as soon as he's considered an "adult". The child later is able to kill an adult, who turns out to be his older brother after he disappeared one night. His spirit is so broken by the time he is an adult himself that he's perfectly willing to follow the Adult Kingdom's orders.

    Western Animation 
  • This is the entire premise of Codename: Kids Next Door, with the KND fighting against adult tyranny (and other threats).
  • The Musical Episode of The Fairly OddParents!, "School's Out", has this as a major theme. During summer, the adults want to reign in the chaotic kids, so Flappy Bob introduces his "Learnatorium", which is overly-sterilized and boring. Timmy decides that adults ruin everything and wishes that kids ruled the world. He gets his wish, and it devolves into both sides at each other’s throats because of the manipulations of the Pixies, who engineered the conflict to gain control of Fairy World.
  • The The Simpsons episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" involves the adults of Springfield enforcing a curfew, and the kids rebelling against it by broadcasting all the adults' dirty secrets. Subverted in that, during the grand finale song-and-dance number, the elderly got in on the fight and won, forcing everyone under 50 to adhere to the curfew, allowing them free roam of the streets. The irony to all this is that the mess started because a few adults (namely Homer, Barney, Lenny and Carl) went on a drunken bender after seeing the hometown baseball team win the championship, trashing the school in the process. And thus were never found out, so it was instantly assumed kids were the culprits.
  • South Park: In "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", Kyle's parents won't let him go to a concert with his friends (for no apparent reason), and so as payback, he calls the police and claims that his parents molested him, and so Kyle's parents are arrested. All the other kids in South Park, seeing how much fun Kyle is having without parents, get the same idea and claim that their parents and teachers molested them, to the point where every single adult in town has either been arrested or moved to avoid being arrested.