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Troubling Unchildlike Behavior

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"TWELVE? Twelve years old? You lost your virginity when you were twelve? ...You couldn't have been a full member of the golf club!"
Arnold J. Rimmer, Red Dwarf

Kids should be kids, at least that's how the saying goes. That means worrying about kid things and doing kid things, such as playing outside, 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 only associate with adults and older teenagers. Yes, many adults get upset when a 15-year-old drinks beer, but when a 10-year-old does it, outrage turns to concern and worry.

In fiction, there are 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. Children who are Conditioned to Accept Horror are often tragic examples, being forced to age quickly in order to survive their surroundings.

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.

Troubled Child (and its teenage counterpart, Troubled Teen) is a more sympathetic portrayal of this trope, as the child is engaging in this unchildlike behavior as a result of a Dark and Troubled Past rather than contempt for authority.

For when kids see things (or have things happen to them) that they shouldn't instead of doing things they shouldn't, see Harmful to Minors. A Teenage Wasteland runs on this.

If most of the kids in the work exhibit Troubling Unchildlike Behavior in general, Most Writers Are Adults can be tied into it.

Contrast with Wise Beyond Their Years and Adorably Precocious Child (which are 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). If the child has unchildlike media consumption, it's Entertainment Above Their Age. See also Age-Inappropriate Art.

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 unchildlike behavior.

This is Truth in Television insofar as there are indeed preteens out there who smoke, drink alcohol, have sex with each other, etc. This is often the result of a neglectful or abusive family or by finding out themselves without their parents knowing. This is also subject to Values Dissonance, due to differing cultural opinions what's considered appropriate behavior for children and when children "grow up."

Examples of kids engaging in such behavior as though it's normal for them:

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  • This humorous 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.
  • A print advertisement campaign for Caribú bitter chocolate, called "The Dark Side of Sweetness", consisted of two ads. One showed a young girl grinding up a baby chick to use the meat in her play kitchen; the other showed another girl poisoning her sister during their pretend tea party.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • 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 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 doesn'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:
      "A group of junior high students are joyfully discussing an assassination. If you look at it normally, this is the pinnacle of madness."
    • And among them, there are Nagisa and Karma, the former displays this trope on an even higher level, as it's shown that he will not hesitate to kill even if the opponent is human. While the latter, Karma, continuously demonstrates violent tendencies throughout the anime in the way he is prone to beating up bullies, has no problem carrying out a Suicide Attack on Koro-sensei, his teacher, without being scared, and he generally has a psychotic look on his face.
  • Attack on Titan practically runs on this trope, with its exploration of Child Soldiers and other violent children.
    • Eren and Mikasa's backstory, which involves them killing a trio of human traffickers. While ruled self-defense, 9-year old Eren calmly justifying the brutal killings by explaining that they weren't "people" anymore leaves the Military Police shaken.
    • The Warriors all exhibit such troubling behaviors, as a result of being raised as Child Soldiers. Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie were respectively 12 and 11 years old when they destroyed Wall Maria, slaughtering thousands in the process. This turns out to have been at least the second time they'd participated in mass murder, having previously been used to conquer a rival nation as a test run for the Paradis Operation. By the time of the battle of Trost, all of them are seasoned killers only just beginning to comprehend the magnitude of the things they've been doing since childhood.
    • Zeke Yeager came up with a masterplan involving turning his parents and their friends in La Résistance over to the government at the age of seven. Later it turns out that he was persuaded into it by his mentor, Xaver, as a way to save himself and his grandparents. Zeke was initially a normal child, but after being used by his parents as a pawn in their restorationist schemes, he grew up to be a cynical, ruthless nihilist.
    • Gabi, a 12-year-old girl who is Reiner's cousin and also a Child Soldier, has no problems with killing anyone she sees as an enemy (in a similar vein to Eren), and is arguably brainwashed by the military to the point where she's the in-universe equivalent of a Holocaust denier (in her words, she didn't see the attack on the walls happen, so, therefore, those living in the walls didn't actually suffer). She's also willing to sacrifice herself on the battlefield and at one point cheerfully makes a hand grenade before pretending to surrender to the enemy (which involves taking off her military uniform).
  • In Berserk, the Lost Children arc has the "Forest Guardians", kidnapped children who were mutated into insectoid "elves" by Arc Villain Rosine but still maintained a childlike demeanor. They're shown partaking in a rollicking game of "war" in which they actually murder each other, tearing each other apart and hoisting up ravaged bodies on multiple spears, all with huge monstrous smiles on their faces. One of them cheers "ADULT ATTACK! ADULT ATTACK!" as it leaps onto one of its fellows whose wings have been destroyed... and then rapes it with its stinger.
  • 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 that 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.
  • After adopting Pinoko, Black Jack is more than a little disconcerted to discover that the 10-day-old (who insists that 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?
  • 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.
    • From what can be gathered from the tiny flashbacks, Revy was raised on the street of the Big Rotten Apple, learned her gun skills from gangsters, and killed her own father using a pillow as a silencer when she was still pretty young.
  • 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.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Given the story is set in a Crapsack World after a big war, quite a few.
    • Q is a somehow bloodthirsty Creepy Child who killed dozens of mafia members before being sealed up eventually. Subverted when he says he just wants to be normal.
    • Dazai was already a suicide enthusiast at 14. And he helped Mori have a Klingon Promotion willingly without much intention to gain personal benefits.
    • Oda used to be a teenage assassin before he met Soseki Natsume.
    • Rendered homeless in the ghetto since young, Akutagawa never hesitated to kill just to live. He was called the "emotionless child" and "the kid without a heart", one left only with survival instincts and the ability to hate.
    • Elise's introduction is her drawing a picture with Akutagawa's head chopped off. Subverted as she is no human at all.
  • Case Closed:
    • 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 walking into 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.
  • A Certain Magical Index: All the time, especially with Academy City's Dark Side. Since almost everyone in Academy City is a student, this includes all the black-ops spies and assassins. Organizations like ITEM and GROUP might be primarily spy organizations, but none of them hesitate to eliminate witnesses or kill their targets when things get too complicated. They all think this is normal, and mock the students who aren't trapped in the Dark Side for being weak and willfully blind.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ten-year-old Ryoko in The Demon Girl Next Door is a bit too into the idea of Yuko taking over the world. She frequent reads books on weaponry and military manuals, and when Yuko swaps one of her books of treachery and tactics for a children's book Ryoko still manages to find dark themes and inspiration from it.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Broly in the eighth movie is 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 stems 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 Freeza's destruction of Planet Vegeta with his father).
    • Broly is an extreme case, but Saiyan children, in general, are pretty disturbing by human standards. Originally, Kakarot was sent to Earth with the full expectation that he would wipe out all life forms, but brain trauma made him less aggressive. They may look cute and innocent, but looking is as far as it gets.
    • Again, Saiyan children definitely don't meet with human standards, but Vegeta is shown in Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku to already be a mass murderer by about the age of five, having wiped out the population of an entire planet and then, apparently, eaten some of the bodies. He also has a very unnaturally subdued reaction to learning that not only his father, but his entire planet and species, has been wiped out. Of course, his unfortunate circumstance of being under the thumb of Frieza probably played a role in it.
    • During the Cell Games, after going Super Saiyan 2, Gohan shocks everyone present when he gleefully tortures Cell during their fight, going so far as to deliberately let Cell regenerate rather than finish him off when he had the chance on the grounds that he deserved to suffer as much as possible. Keep in mind that Gohan was chronologically only nine (eleven in the anime) when he did all of this, and such rage has been lurking inside him since he was four.
  • Durarara!!:
  • Elfen Lied:
    • Lucy (and to an extent most of the Diclonii) 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. Or being bullied by the other kids at the orphanage.
    • On that note, Lucy's bullies appear to be no older than preteens, but they beat her puppy to death just for the heck of it. They find themselves on the wrong end of Bullying a Dragon.
  • When in one of the (many) flashbacks of The Five Star Stories, Bosjathfort comes to the Float Temple to challenge Amaterasu-no-mikami to her post of the Divers Guild head, her son Amaterasu-no-mikado, who's just a kid when the flashback takes place, banishes him into the very fires of Hell. Which was but one of the signs that something is odd with the lad, and the first sign of his future Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Teenage Sawa Nakamura in The Flowers of Evil 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 and her attempts to "get to the 'other side'".
  • 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.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Natsu's Start of Darkness was when he found his sister raped by a gang of thugs, after which she killed herself. He then went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and killed them all, at the age of 12.
  • Seeing how it's a story about Child Soldiers, it's no surprise that this trope shows up a lot in Gunslinger Girl.
  • Heavy Object:
    • The concept of "clean wars" and the push to recruit Elites while they're still young and easily indoctrinated has led to the age of soldiers rapidly decreasing. As a result there are pre-teens such as Catherine Blueangel who can remain chipper and bubbly even as they gun down enemy soldiers.
    • Skuld Silent-Third is pre-teen serial killer who behaves in a disturbingly sexual manner for her age, especially when it comes to her victims. Even before becoming an Elite there was something wrong with her, as reports indicate she tortured all of the pet rabbits at her elementary school, attacked two people, and burned down the houses of four students or teachers.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Killua Zoldyck, as a side-effect of entering his family business of assassination at a young age, displays this. His entire story arc revolves around him trying to move out of this, though. His siblings Kalluto and Alluka also fall headlong into this, Kalluto who is perfectly fine with becoming an assassin and Alluka who grants wishes to those who fulfill her demands. Demands that include vital organs.
    • Gon's behavior falls into this more and more as the series progresses. His casual attitude towards death is perhaps the start of it, but by the Chimera Ant arc he can cheerfully talk about murdering someone if they betray him and is fine taking and killing hostages as a way to force compliance in an opponent.
  • 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 
  • Maria no Danzai: Okaya and his fellow bullies entertain themselves by attempting to strangle a student to see how long he lasts before begging for mercy, feeding Kiritaka cockroaches and blackmailing him with an edited sex video of his mother in order to make him jump off a cliff, not caring one bit if he breaks his legs. And they are still in middle school!
  • The countrynote  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.
  • Kanna and Saikawa's relationship in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid feels more like that of high school teenagers than children in elementary school at times. The best example being when they almost have sex during a playdate. Mind you, Kanna is the one who instigates it and she's Really 700 Years Old (though still a child by dragon standards), but Saikawa isn't exactly averse to the idea.
  • Mikazuki Augus of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is a Child Soldier who has no qualms about gunning down his enemies and prisoners without letting them finish their last words. Although when Kudel, one of his enemies, calls Mikazuki out and accuses him of enjoying killing, he's outright disturbed. In a brief flashback, it's implied that he was forced to kill since his childhood. Shortly after Biscuit's death, he decided he'll crush whoever blocks his way.
  • Monster:
    • 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.
  • The Monstrous Duke's Adopted Daughter: As sweet a child as Leslie is, several characters notice behaviors that are the result of her abusive upbringing before turning to the Salvatores for help. For example, a distrustful Ruenti's attempts to intimidate her go completely unnoticed because, Ruenti realizes, she's used to being treated roughly. Her manners are more like a maid's then a noble's despite Leslie's high birth. Leslie's maid at the Salvatores', Madel, lays it out to the Duchess in detail, describing how Leslie is frightfully intelligent yet ignorant of things like Pinky Swears and hot chocolate, that she handled disappointment far more maturely than a twelve year-old would be expected to, yet still lights up like a little kid when she eats. Leslie's driving ambition, though only Duchess Salvatore knows it and tries to sway her from it, is to wipe her abusive family off the face of the planet in vengeance for herself and the many, many children they used as Human Sacrifices over the centuries.
  • Played with in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. In his past life, Rudeus Greyrat used to be an Otaku in his 30s when he died, only to Reincarnate in Another World. In spite of being an infant, his mind — and thus his predilections from watching anime and porn — carried over from his previous life. As an infant, he is seen stalking women such as his maid Lillia, stealing and playing around with panties, and making unnaturally perverted and sexual expressions. However, to anyone In-Universe who does notice it (such as Lillia and her daughter/Rudeus's half-sister Aisha), it comes off as a straight example as they are not aware he is mentally a 34-year old man in a child's body.
  • Michio Yuki, the Villain Protagonist of MW, has become this the moment he becomes Ax-Crazy by the titular chemical warfare.
  • In My Hero Academia, one of the villains of the Training Camp Arc is Mustardnote , who is confirmed to only be thirteen. He's immature but surprisingly intelligent and skilled; aware of his Quirk's limitations, he casually takes out a gun and manages to eliminate Tetsutetsu's gas mask in one shot.
  • Naruto:
    • It's downright creepy what children do in the series, and even more so 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's 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 is peculiar, since it's billed as a C-Rank, but in terms of difficulty and danger is an 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. Most ninja become chunin before they're sixteen.
    • In the beginning, Naruto himself is especially fond of doing inappropriate things like sneaking into girls' 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. When he was younger he tried to cut his wrist to see what pain is like because he was physically unable to get hurt.
  • One Piece:
    • 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.
    • 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: he coerces Doflamingo to recruit him into his crew by covering himself with grenades, and while introducing himself states that he wants to destroy as many cities, houses and people as he can before he dies in three years. It's the reason Doflamingo initially takes a liking to him.
    • Charlotte Katakuri, Sweet Commander of the Big Mom Pirates, murdered his childhood bullies after they cut the face of his younger sister, Brulee, to get back at him for beating them up. He was 10 at the time.
    • Kozuki Oden. Hoo, boy, where to even start? He threw his wet nurse when he was less than a year old, caught two rabbits with his bare hands when he was two, killed a bear by throwing a boulder at it when he was four and started frequenting the Flower Capital's Red Light District when he was six. By the time he was eight, he was already drinking alcohol and picking fights with gamblers, with the freaking Yakuza banishing him from their casino when he was nine. Oden set their casino on fire in response, and got sent to prison a year later after almost killing someone. He left the prison a reformed boy, but unfortunately he turned out to be a Hero with an F in Good: when the Flower Capital went through a drought while he was fourteen, he tried to fix the problem by channelling a river into the city, flooding it. After going into hiding, at fifteen years old he threatened a priest into sheltering him, after which he started kidnapping women from the Flower Capital to start his own harem. While the women were free to leave whenever they wanted, they ultimately preferred to stay with him; this did not sit well with their loved ones, who went after Oden himself. Oden picked a fight with all of them at the same time, starting what would come to be known as the "Harem War". If you think all of this is ridiculously outrageous, then you clearly haven't met Kozuki Oden.
  • In Ōoku: 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.
  • PandoraHearts:
    • 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.
  • Pokémon Adventures: Being based on a franchise which uses Kid Heroes regularly, mature children are basically expected. However, Adventures takes it even further, so children are basically treated exactly like adults (though in possible Early-Installment Weirdness, protagonists are addressed with terms like “brat” way more often earlier on); a 14-year-old can own her own talent agency and a 12-year-old can be an elite secret agent and no one thinks that’s weird, with a significant proportion of Dex Holders acting like teenagers at youngest. But it probably isn’t a coincidence that a great many of these main characters also happen to have a Dark and Troubled Past (and indeed, many of those who don’t have a dark past, like Red, Black, and especially Diamond seem to act more age-appropriate).
    • Green (known as Blue in Japan, not to be confused with the character Blue Oak who is known as Green in Japan) is introduced flirting with and scamming (an albeit similarly aged) Red with bootleg stat boost items, makes flirty comments towards adults, steals and pickpockets regularly, and her idea of a stealthy place to hide Pokéballs is her chest (before which she taunts Sabrina with how her chest looks bigger than hers despite her younger age). She seems to basically think she’s Fujiko or some other such typical anime Femme Fatale of the era, and talks and acts like such... at 11 years old. While her age, this being Pokémon Adventures, is rarely brought up, this behavior may be related to the fact she was kidnapped and traumatized at a very early age and raised as a Tyke Bomb, forming a close bond with and becoming like an older sister to young fellow Tyke Bomb Silver, himself an incredibly precocious kid, with the two later escaping and having to fend for each other and later on their own, all this going down before she was 11 and Silver was 8; Arceus knows where or why she has acquired this behavior, or how long she’s been like this. Fortunately, she has toned down her sexual behavior by the time she becomes a main character again at 16 in the FRLG arc.
    • Gold is already a gambling addict and a pervert before he's thirteen.
    • Ruby already has very Camp Straight hobbies and a personality to match at 11 years old; while this by itself wouldn't be cause for concern, the entire reason he took on such camp hobbies and attitude was because of a deeply traumatic incident that happened to him and his best friend Sapphire when they were extremely young, an incident so severe that it deeply affected both his and Sapphire's developing identities and personalities. He also doesn't even hate battling deep down, it's just that the aforementioned trauma is blocking him from realizing his potential there. He also goes about his hobbies less like a girl playing dress-up or beauty pageant contestant and more a full-on hardcore fashion designer.
  • In the anime for Princess Connect! Re:Dive, Misaki, who is 11 years old, does a pole dance at one point to try to distract some bandits who stole things important to her, Suzuna, and Kokkoro. The bandits' response can be summed up as "this girl is really messed up in the head" followed by taking her prisoner. The amount of skill she has at pole-dance suggests that she had at least had practice, and perhaps even used her skills at it before. Not helping is her stripperific, Age-Inappropriate Dress.
  • 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 more so 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.
  • Popuko and Pipimi from Pop Team Epic drink liquor, smoke cigars, swear like sailors, and commit acts of brutal violence on an almost regular basis despite both of them only being 14. Like everything else in the series, this is Played for Laughs.
  • This is how Puella Magi Madoka Magica treats the business of being a magical girl. They essentially go to war against often sentient beings and are very prone to get injured or even die. All of that can prove to be really traumatizing for pubescent and teenage girls. For everyone, in fact. The show initially seems to partially lessen the impact by making the witches, more like Always Chaotic Evil entities than anything else. However, they feed on negative emotions, therefore being the cause of human conflicts and psychological problems such as depression and suicide attempts. Things that girls of such a ripe age (the youngest known was 8 when contracted) should be sheltered against. Granted, the older ones would benefit from knowing, but not the full extent of it. Then matters are complicated by the fact using magic not only darkens their soul gems but the darkening worsens their mental stability. To top it all, we then discover the witches used to be sentient beings — they are magical girls who ran out of magic. Yeah, this whole ordeal is definitely NOT kid-friendly and the characters are fittingly traumatized from it.
    • A more straightforward example is presented when Kyoko suggests Sayaka to break her crush's limbs (magical girls have super strength) so as to make him eternally dependant on her care. Sayaka is understandably disturbed by the idea.
    • Later, when Sayaka's sanity finally slips down the slippery slope after learning the awful truths, she kills a pair of misogynistic men who were talking trash about their girlfriends within Sayaka's earshot.
    • Seeing Homura's magical ability is to stop and rewind time, she doesn't have access to magical weapons, so to speak. As such, she has resourced to steal fire weapons, from pistols all the way up to missiles, from the military and the yakuza. She also crafts grenades and bombs in her free time. It's out of necessity, but troubling nonetheless.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Yukari Sendo is an 11-year-old Child Prodigy, but is openly bisexual and often behaves in ways kids that age really shouldn't act. In her debut alone, she repeatedly gropes Moka's breasts in public and uses her magic to torment Tsukune in increasingly troubling ways, even having him grope Kurumu against his will using a Voodoo Doll.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Seta Soujirou, 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), 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.
  • Almost everything about Tooi Kuji in Sarazanmai. He sells marijuana and tortures people for interrogation with his toxic older brother, and has no trouble pulling a gun on other people at the age of 13. Not much surprise that at the end of the story he gets sent to juvenile prison for three years for his involvement with at least one of those incidents when his Un-person attempt is foiled.
  • Shadow Star is absolutely full of this, most infamously when a bunch of bullies rape another girl with a test tube, and said bully gang's leader is in an incestuous relationship with her brother.
  • 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...
  • Commander Gabriel Miller in Sword Art Online was highly curious about souls at a young age ever since his father, a bug collector, told him that bugs keep on living for a bit even if their heads are severed from their bodies. This spiked Gabriel's curiosity, which led to him wondering if human souls hide somewhere in the head and, while alone, murdering his childhood friend with an iron stake through her ear. He apparently claimed that her soul got into his mind for a moment and let him experience brief flashes of her life, and from there on, he gained a psychotic fascination for murdering people to experience that feeling again. It says a lot that a hi-tech virtual world can only find a void in his body, so he may just be speaking the truth.
  • 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.
  • Being a series about teenaged Japanese Delinquents, Tokyo Revengers is rife with this trope, with several of the characters being willing to brutalize and murder their peers. It might be explained by the abundance of Adults Are Useless.
    • One of the earliest examples would be Kiyomasa, who runs a fighting ring behind Mikey's back while profiting from spectators placing bets. Just mentioning Mikey's name, even though he is effectively his superior, is enough to send Kiyomasa into Tranquil Fury, whereupon he will demand one of his goons to hand over his bat so he can beat the offender senseless with it, as Takemichi learned. When Mikey coincidentally catches on and Draken humiliates Kiyomasa for not paying Mikey proper respect as their commander, Kiyomasa takes very little convincing by Kisaki to take revenge by stabbing Draken to death. And when Takemichi steps in to stop him, Kiyomasa decides to kill him, too. Right in front of Hina, no less. All because he got beat up for overstepping his authority.
    • Osanai and his cronies beat up one of Pah-chin's friends, then raped the man's girlfriend. Everyone quickly agrees that he crossed a line, but Pah-chin is not content with Mikey flooring Osanai since that's getting off too easy and, while Draken is holding him so that he won't attack Mikey, stabs Osanai In the Back, much to everyone's shock. In the future, Osanai reveals to Takemichi that, like most examples here, the whole incident was orchestrated by Kisaki so that he could get into Toman through the assimilation of Moebius.
    • Hanma is a sadistic Blood Knight who takes great pleasure in fighting strong people. He's always smiling, even when he's being beaten senseless, and only follows Kisaki because he expects the latter to keep things interesting by manipulating people into fighting each other. Draken even describes him as if he's some kind of zombie who won't feel pain no matter how hard you beat him up.
    • Kazutora got sent to juvie after he accidentally murdered Mikey's brother Shinichiro while trying to steal a bike from his workshop (which Shinichiro was planning to give to Mikey for his birthday). Of course, Kazutora would'nt have killed him if he knew it was him, but after spending two years in rehab, Kazutora has all but convinced himself that it was all Mikey's fault, and joins Valhalla for the express purpose of killing Mikey. It takes Baji committing suicide so that Kazutora won't have technically killed him before Kazutora gets some sense knocked into him.
    • Taiju Shiba regularly beats his younger siblings for the pettiest of reasons even though he is a devout Christian. It's so bad that Hakkai is flat-out terrified of his brother, and Yuzuha eventually decides she can't take his abuse of their family any longer and is convinced by Kisaki to stab him to death. Taiju beats her up for it. Yeah, Dysfunctional Family is in full play here. It's later revealed that Taiju was trying to toughen up his siblings. While he doesn't apologize, he concedes that maybe he went about it the wrong way.
  • Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen: Flashbacks reveal that even before her Evil Uncle Vlad Le Fanu fed her the heart of a demon, Elisabeth Le Fanu was prone to killing cats and shredding dolls and stuffed animals. It got much worse afterwards: Vlad groomed her into a Torture Technician by casting it as a way to make the pain from the demon flesh go away, and by the time she became a young adult she had tortured the entire population of the town to death, triggering her metamorphosis into the eponymous Torture Princess.

  • Drinking Bacchus: Bacchus is portrayed as a toddler drinking from a bottle of wine with a disgruntled look on his face. The painting is An Aesop about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

  • 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. note 
  • Craig Ferguson ended one of his comedy specials with one of these: A police officer goes to a house because of a noise complaint. When he knocks on the door, it is answered by a nine-year-old boy wearing a corset, a g-string, garters, and smoking a cigarette and holding a bottle of gin. The police officer asks, somewhat taken aback, "Son, is your mom or dad home?" and the kid shoots back with "What the fuck do you think?"
  • 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.
  • 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...

    Comic Books 
  • Afterlife with Archie: Jason Blossom has always been too into his twin Cheryl. As a child, he murdered her puppy and made it look like an accident, all because he thought Cheryl liked Sugar more than him.
  • 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.
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Monster Maker", Batman goes up against a gang that recruits children, encountering eleven-year-olds who wield automatic firearms proficiently and without hesitation and have more felonies on their rap sheets than they've had birthdays.
  • At the start of Barracuda, Rafi is already a seasoned killer despite being no more than 13 years old. When they attack a ship, his father Blackdog demands that Rafi kill two men for every one he does, and Rafi complains that it is not a hard enough challenge. He is also a seasoned enough drinker that he can down an entire bottle of rum and experience no more than mild drunkenness.
  • Black Hammer: The child superhero Golden Gail drinks, smokes, and swears like a sailor, much to the shock and consternation of the Farm's neighbors. Justified in that Gail is actually a middle-aged woman trapped in the form of a nine-year-old girl who doesn't age. She hates this, and acts out as a way to vent her frustration.
  • Crossed children appear to be no less foul-mouthed, kill-happy, or rape-happy than their adult counterparts.
  • Recurring but lesser-known villain The Gorgon from the Marvel Universe 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 he 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 he 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.
  • Damian Wayne in Batman (Grant Morrison). 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.
    • Several characters have acknowledged that it's 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. In Tim's case that makes sense as Damian came very close to murdering him when they first met, and he for all intents and purposes stole the Robin identity from him (not helped by the fact Dick allowed Damian to become Robin without ever asking Tim). It isn't helped by how frequently Damian slides back into a vestige of the obnoxious brat he was when he first appeared, as he seems to be perpetually re-learning how to not be a vicious, manipulative little creep.
    • 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.
  • 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 that she's screwing with him.
  • Rachel Rising:
    • Zoe engages in a fair amount of this, considering she looks like a cute 10 year old girl but is chillingly efficient and calm about carrying out various crimes, including murder, which she proceeds to cover up with equal calm and efficiency. Downplayed when it gets revealed that Zoe has a case of Never Grew Up, so while her mind and behavior are quite childlike in many ways, the cute 10 year old is actually almost 60.
    • Jet and Rachel made a childhood pinky swear to be best friends to the grave and the afterlife. When remembering the incident Rachel points out how weird it is for young kids to use that particular wording and asks what sort of kids get it into their minds to make such an oath, Jet replies "Kids that live in Manson."
  • Minor Batman villain who shows up more often opposing Tim Drake in the pages of the Robin, "The General", is a boy-prodigy that's 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?
  • Transmetropolitan, in the issue "Business", addresses 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.
  • Twisted Dark: The story "Peace And Quiet" is about Amy, a little girl who never smiles, whos default expression is a simple blank stare, and who freaks out when she hears sounds. The darkest example of her behavior is when she kills her father because the sound of his snoring bothered her, and when she finally DOES smile, it's as she's watching her mother being pretty much arrested as the prime suspect.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Lyta Milton, as a four-year-old at most, was quite supportive of the suffering and chaos her mother inflicted on others, cheerfully walking around and pestering her mother's tortured captives and cheering on Circe's murders. She quite simply didn't know any better due to being raised by Circe, and during her early years in the care of the Amazons after Circe was imprisoned she unsettled a number of them with her behavior.
  • 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 make 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for Laughs by the first title character of Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is only six years old, but he creates macabre scenarios when he makes snowmen (everything from depicting them as being hit by a car or Buried Alive to collecting shrunken heads), writes disturbing essays for school assignments (claiming that he has Abusive Parents who chain him in the basement and throw him meat that he has to fight rats for). From his parents' perspective, there are plenty of things that *appear* to just be Calvin acting strangely but are actually caused by Hobbes, like taking his clothes off to play cars (Hobbes tackled him and knocked his clothes off) and splattering his breakfast all over the hallway (Hobbes started playfully chasing Calvin while he was eating breakfast).

    Fan Works 
  • Before We Had Wings: Reki's age isn't mentioned, but it is stated that she's too young to be smoking as much as she does.
  • Best of My Love: Downplayed with Mo Xuanyu. The stories he writes at school are a lot sadder than most kids' and his paintings are disturbing. That said, it’s justified, as he’s had a hard life, and he's in therapy.
  • Blood Moon: Katara kills Hama (albeit in self-defense), and at the end shows resentment towards Sokka for coddling her. Four years of prison definitely took its toll on the poor girl's psyche.
  • 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?
  • Child of the Storm has a good chunk of the younger cast act this way, mostly because they've been forced to grow up far too fast - and they are juxtaposed quite dramatically with those who had more normal and stable family backgrounds.
    • Diana is about 11 when the story starts. She is also disturbingly insightful and far wiser than she should be, thanks to being entirely aware that her fostering in Asgard is all that keeps Hera, her great-aunt, from murdering her out of spite, and being a powerful and troubled empath.
    • Carol is one of the more normal examples, but is noted as having a disturbingly old and cynical laugh by Hermione in the sequel, will unhesitatingly threaten painful death towards those who threaten her loved ones, and when Harry is kidnapped by the Red Room, immediately considers the angle that what comes back may not be Harry - and instinctively starts plotting how to a) stop him, b) manoeuvre Jean, his older cousin who loves him like the the little brother she never had, into fighting him. When called on it, she bitterly states that she hates that part of herself - but also points out that it's necessary.
    • Then there's Harry. He's initially a relatively normal teen, but becomes a frighteningly talented liar, actor, and manipulator, and a deeply cynical Shell-Shocked Veteran with an alarming capacity for Dissonant Serenity in the face of events that disturb even his grandfather, Odin. All this, by the time he's 14. This is thanks to a rapid pile-up of horrifying experiences including death, a possession by an Elder God, and a truly nightmarish encounter with the Red Room. Oh, and he's entirely willing to go for the kill. Even as he mellows out into a kinder and wiser Knight of Faith later in the sequel, it's telling that after he gets together with Carol, his classmates are genuinely shocked that he's actually acting his age.
    • However, the stand-out example is Maddie a.k.a. Rachel Grey, Jean's Separated at Birth twin. She's 17, and... imagine Jean Grey with the personality halfway between X-23 and the Winter Soldier, minus a positive parental influence, or any positive influence at all, until she met Gambit, who's still figuring out his own moral compass. She was raised by Sinister, who not only gave her a purposefully skewed moral education (Mind Rape? Perfectly normal, go ahead), but taught her to believe that she was simply a mixture of genetic experiment and bodyguard/enforcer/hunting hound. As a result, she's the perfect weapon, an expert psychic, and has absolutely no idea how to be anything else - or, initially, understand why she should want to be. Her most human trait is her curiosity. She gets better, with time, but she's still seen as somewhat odd at best.
  • In the Pokémon fic Denounce the Evils, it's implied that Jessiebelle raped James when they were younger, likely even when they were kids.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 9 of the third story, Diplomacy Through Schooling, Cozy Glow (while attending class at Twilight's school) shows an unusual interest in Tirek's methods for attempting to take over his country and Equestria. Diamond Tiara later tells Twilight that she's been saying stuff to people that sounds friendly at first but is really set up to make them doubt themselves, and pretends to be nice to others so she can get them to do stuff for her. However, it is later revealed that she's actually an adult with a medical condition that causes her to look like a child.
  • In Fate of the Clans you find out Cú Chulainn had an...interesting childhood. Mikoto labeled him as a problem child.
    • There's a dog said to have The Strength of Ten Men and Cú Chulainn killed it through strangulation without much effort when he was around 11, possibly younger. He says it was the adrenaline from it trying to kill him that made him do it.
    • Shortly after, he requests to be made a full Red Branch Knight and gets accepted. After threatening his uncle, Ulster's king, by smashing all the spears in the castle and a chariot, then goes up to the king , saying "Now try tellin' me one more time I ain't strong enough to be a warrior!"
    • He lost his virginity shortly after becoming a Red Branch Knight.
    Cú Chulainn: It was a different time!
    • Right after he became a Red Branch Knight he killed three guys who boasted about their strength.
  • Fractures (ATLA): Azula and her psychopathic tendencies, full stop. Which is somehow topped by Aang and his friends agreeing that she should be stripped of her bending and actually following through with it.
  • Gensokyo 20XX:
    • 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. 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's noted that she tried to stab someone with scissors, but it's never revealed 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's after the latter kicked her in the face.
    • In that same vein, we have Yume Ni. 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, and this isn't the first time she has been that cruel to them. Also, the trying to kill Reimu thing arguably isn't new, seeing as she did come close to seriously injuring the other kids.
  • 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.
  • In The Gods Awaken, Boscha is portrayed as being just as sociopathic as a kid when she first meets Amity. One of the things she does is produce a toy that she stabbed with spikes claiming that it is meant to relieve stress.
  • In the Creepypasta-inspired tale Hey Arnold: The Furnace, Harold pushes Sid into assisting him with murdering Stinky and later Arnold when they believe that they unknowingly killed police officers at an old building scheduled for demolition.
  • Inconsistency: As more adults find out about Lila Rossi, they become disturbed by her sociopathic and ruthless attitude to get what she wants. Besides spinning lies about a luxurious life, she also tries to frame Marinette for both theft and having a Secret Relationship with an older man (both of which thankfully failed), attempting to force herself onto Adrien regardless of his consent, sabotage her parents' marriage so her father couldn't warn her mother about her true nature, and spiked Sera's coffee with enough pain-killer that it could have killed her if she wasn't a vampire. When Officer Prowl reviews the information, he remarks that he has only seen this behavior with adults and never a child.
  • 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". 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.
    • Nui, Mako, and Nonon, who are also delinquents and smoke, as well as the fact that, as a first time offender, Nui has gotten multiple charges, which she shrugs off like it's nothing.
  • Know Thyself: Looking past his knee-jerk hatred for Potters, Snape could not help but notice how unlike a regular eleven-year-old Harry acts; spartan, calm, quiet, asking only necessary questions, is unfazed by his unfamiliar surroundings, is unafraid at the seedier parts of Diagon Alley (confident that Seraph - his "guardian angel" - is watching) or the hideousness of Gringotts goblins and keeps an impressive amount of muggle currency on his person. The fact that Harry doesn't behave like an irritating ball of energy seems to stress Snape out more than if he had followed his expectations. Later, it is revealed that he was desperately containing his enthusiasm.
  • In The Liar, Snowbank, a colt at the orphanage where Trixie lives, learns a spell to create fake bruises on a pony's body and uses it on another filly (with her permission) so he can frame Trixie for beating her up and get her thrown out of the orphanage. He does this so he can become popular with the other foals, who hate Trixie and bully her for no reason.
  • 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.
  • Brought up in Lost in Camelot when Merlin recalls Mordred attacking the knights during their last encounter. Merlin can accept that Mordred had the right to defend himself, but recalling how the knights Mordred attacked are still feeling the pain of their injuries, Merlin can't shake the thought that he would have been disturbed to do that kind of damage to someone if he'd been in that position at Mordred's age.
  • As a kid Nui from Maim de Maim is 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 Nui herself. Giving her an My God, What Have I Done? moment doesn't help this.
  • In Marijuana Simpson Maggie can't be older than ten, yet she smokes pot constantly with the rest of the Simpson Family.
  • In Now That You're Bleeding, Elsa's suicidal thoughts and Self-Harm began at age eight or nine.
  • 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.
  • The character of Rivka ben-Divorah in the Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal. Introduced as a girl of perfect doll-like beauty and innocent mien, she grows into one of the most lethal Assassins to graduate from the school.note  As her teachers discovered early, a look of cherubic innocence can be incredibly misleading. Her ability to stand there and look innocent whilst various School Bullies are stretched off to the School Infirmary was considered to be a most effective Assassin strategy, and she was marked down as having great promise.
  • Sabrina's Start of Darkness in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines began with her writing a school essay about a figure in a story she admired. Her subject of choice was Twenty Gyarados Bill, an infamous criminal who brought death and destruction to coastal Johto and the in-universe reason why there's a six Pokémon limit for trainers. While she acknowledged him as a mass murderer, the fact that she praised his better qualities (such as his determination and drive to rise from being a nobody to the most powerful trainer in the world in just one year) quickly alarmed her father and teachers.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: Arial Kuyumaya, a yuki-onna the same age as Yukari, displays this, aside from her Yandere obsession with Dark. Not only does she literally claw Mizore to pieces in a rage upon discovering that she's Dark's girlfriend (Mizore is healed by Ceal), but in chapter 13, she breaks into Mizore's bedroom in the middle of the night to threaten her with death should she not stay away from Dark.
    Arial: Dark is my demon. He's going to be my husband, and only I'm going to have his mark over my heart. Do you hear me? If you kiss him, I'll claw off your lips. If you touch him, I'll cut off your hand. If you take his seed into you, I'll carve it out of you. He belongs to me. Everything about him is mine.
  • At age five, Neo from RWBY: Scars stabbed a classmate in the hand. It's implied that she did it because the classmate made fun of her being a Faunus. However, Neo's behavior escalated as she got older.
  • In The Sea or the Mountains, Yamai Ren broke the arm and a few ribs from one of her classmates when she was only 9-years-old. She only got worse from there.
  • 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.
  • The frequently unchildlike behavior of the Powerpuff Girls is used in court against them in The Utonium Trials. They're on trial trying to prove that they're just normal kids that just happen to have superpowers, and that they aren't a danger to society, but it's hard to keep this image up. They're much more precocious than normal eight-year-olds (especially Blossom, who is outright more mature and intelligent than most adults), and to make it worse, they still look five. One such example used against them is that Buttercup publishes stories online as escapism, but her stories include sexual content.
  • Many examples in Massive Multiplayer Crossover With Pearl and Ruby Glowing, which is set in an abuse survivors' support group, that usually being the cause of said behaviour. Specifics range from kids making False Rape Accusations to re-enacting their own abuse on weaker kids to murdering their classmates.
  • Kanade Otonokoji from Super Danganronpa Another 2 got her start as an Ax-Crazy murderer as a small child, when she butchered the family dog into Ludicrous Gibs out of nothing but petty jealousy. It gets worse from there. By the time the Deadly Game starts, she's murdered or maimed at least 60 people - and those are just the ones she remembers!
  • Still Stand in the Sun: Once Katara learns how to do bloodbending all by herself, she uses it to escape from the Waterbender Prison and kill any Fire Nation soldier she comes across.
  • Things Are Gonna Get Easier: The Morioh group is very unsettled by the discovery that Hayato had been setting up video cameras in his parents' room before suspecting that his father was an imposter, not helped that Hayato never realizes how creepy and invasive it was. That said, they are patient enough to explain the issue with him, with Hayato horrified and disturbed learning about how wrong invading one's privacy is and agrees to remove the cameras before his mom finds out.
  • The Infinite Loops plays with this as many loopers were children in Baseline and often still appear to be to non-loopers, which naturally leads to confusion when they or talk about things children really shouldn't know about, like being in serious relationships or drinking.
  • Akechi zig-zags this in Throw Away Your Mask; several characters notice that he seems far more world-weary and ready to murder things than an eleven-year-old should be, but that's because he's actually a nineteen-year-old Peggy Sue. It's one of the reasons Takeharu believes him when he lets slip that he somehow time-traveled.
  • What Is Written In Blood has Angel who has not only lost her virginity at 7, but started murdering before that. She looks at those time fondly.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: It's implied that Lumalee's a child given his voice. However long he's been in Bowser's castle, it must have taken its toll since all he talks about is hopelessness and he's been driven to wanting to die. At a later point of the film, being saved from lava by Donkey Kong prompts disappointment from him.

    Films — Live Action 
  • 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 Airplane!, the little girl who takes her coffee like she takes her men — black. The boy reads a serious magazine and checks out the girl passenger.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed (1956) is a multiple murderess before hitting puberty... and completely calm about the whole thing. They changed the ending for the film, though...
  • Leonardo DiCaprio portrays 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.
  • Battle Royale is disturbing enough even before you consider that (apart from Kawada and Kiriyama) the children fighting to the death are ninth graders, no older than fifteen. Many of the characters take great delight in killing others, even if not all of them want to.
  • Becky: Becky shoplifts, barely speaks (let alone shows kindness) to anyone except her dogs, and doesn't hesitate in the least to begin slaughtering the criminals invading her home.
  • Blood Diamond has Child Soldiers swaggering around and swearing profusely in broken English, which is funny until they start shooting people.
  • In City of God, Lil Dice goes on a shooting spree in a hotel. Also, many children are involved in gang warfare. (Horrifyingly enough, this is more or less Truth in Television.)
  • Considering the characters are in high school, Cruel Intentions has characters who are promiscuous and horrifyingly sociopathic.
  • Cuties:
    • The Cuties are a dance group who specialize in highly suggestive choreography with the music to match, including twerking. In addition, they are very curious about boys and sex in general despite only just starting puberty. Their behavior eventually rubs off on Amy.
    • In one scene, the girls, with Amy overhearing them, are seen examining an off-screen porn video and discuss among themselves whether or not it's rape because of the woman's facial expressions.
  • Detainment is a Based on a True Story film of the terrifying 1993 murder of James Bulger, a 2-year-old boy, by two ten-year-old boys. See Real Life below.
  • In Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Heather (a 10-year-old girl) dances a very adult and overly sexualized routine for her tryout. To the point that Dickie openly calls her a slut and one teacher is subconsciously covering herself up more.
  • Eve's Bayou:
    • Eve 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 fledgling 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 Fresh, 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.
  • 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.
  • Grandpa's Psycho: Late in the movie, we see Megan have a tea party with her dolls, and Kelly, her grandfather's latest victim. Megan doesn't seem disturbed in the slightest bit that there's a bloody, naked woman chained up in her grandfather's house.
  • Hail the Judge: Auntie San, owner of a brothel, brags to Nifuo Lai Lai during a quarrel that she's been seducing men since the age of 10.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Henry Fool Crosses the Line Twice when Fay comes upon Henry and her three-year-old son in a bar.
    Fay: You gave him beer?
    Henry: The cigarettes made his throat dry.
  • 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.
  • The controversial Hounddog has Lewellen, its 11-year-old main character, drinking alcohol. This is considered normal in her family.
  • Hummingbird: As a young girl, Cristina killed the gymnastics coach who was sexually abusing her.
  • Jojo Rabbit: The Hitler Youth are taught to be soldiers, including being expected to break a rabbit's neck with their bare hands. Jojo himself is initially more fanatical than the adults around him who are more aware of the crumbling military situation.
  • Mindy/Hit-Girl of Kick-Ass cusses like a sailor (from random F-Bombs to her introductory quote: "Okay, 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, Chloë Grace 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In The Last Boy Scout, Joe Hallenbeck's daughter Darian swears like there's no tomorrow and draws a picture called "Satan Claus", and was crazy enough to hide in Jimmy Dix's car and bring Joe's .357 and hide it behind her stuffed lion saving Joe.
  • The Last Rites of Ransom Pride: In 1901, half-breed Juliette Flores saw her tribe and village slaughtered by Mexican troops. Still a child, she takes revenge by slipping into the home of the soldiers' commander, General Juarez, and cutting his throat in his bedroom.
  • 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. The following is a quote from the movie's screenwriter.
    Naomi Wallace: 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.
  • Lilya 4-ever has its title character drinking, smoking, and sniffing glue at the age of 14. Then family troubles (more specifically, the lack of any family) force her to enter prostitution. It all goes downhill from there.
  • Jodie Foster as the murderous and seductive Rynn in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.
  • Thelma and Elizabeth in Little Sweetheart. Both of them are guilty of stalking, theft, and blackmail. Elizabeth also mentions 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.
  • 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.
  • M3GAN: Brandon. He shows disturbing signs of sociopathy that are on full display when he bullies Cady (he forcefully jams a plant with spines into her palm) and later takes and assaults M3GAN.
  • Marvin's Room: Downplayed. 10-year-old Charlie is unperturbed by Hank burning down their house, and he knows how to light up a cigarette. However, the cigarette is for Hank rather than himself, and overall, he's the more well-adjusted sibling.
  • 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.
  • 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 she was "about to start some shit". Word of God and the novelization actually confirm that he was right.
  • The titular character of Mikey murders entire families, kills animals, and peeps on an older girl named Jessie, while she is undressing or sneaking into her room.
  • Scamming, scheming, stealing, swearing, smoking little Addie in Paper Moon.
  • Pistolera: As children, Angel and Rico gun down half a dozen or so armed thugs who murdered their parents. Also, Rico has been smoking cigars since he was a young boy.
  • Problem Child:
    • Seven-year-old Junior, who causes chaos for the sake of it. He delights in hurting people, torturing cats, getting behind the wheel and driving recklessly and causing accidents, all without remorse. In one scene, Junior sets fire to someone's house; blows up a girl's birthday party, making her cry; takes pictures of nuns while they're undressing; and takes a good shot at a priest using the toilet. Junior also looks up to a criminal the majority of the film and pretty much aspires to be just like him. Ben, Junior's well-meaning, good-hearted adoptive father, puts up with Junior's behavior for the majority of the film and is patient about it, despite the rest of his family telling him to get rid of him, with his wife even suggesting to replace the boy and get another cat. Averted in the ending, when Junior does a Heel–Face Turn after he is kidnapped by his "idol" and apologies to Ben for his behavior. While Played for Laughs, Junior's behavior can be seen as accurately depicting a severe personality disorder and some of his actions, especially his knack for harming and almost killing cats, can be seen as horrific to many.
    • Somewhat downplayed in the sequels. Though they have the same concept, this time with two children taking part of destruction and mischievousness, the fact that it has a lot more slapstick and more comedy than the first makes it hard to take seriously, being more like a live-action cartoon. There is also no abuse inflicted on animals as in the first.
  • The Professional starts with 12-year-old Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman) smoking and hitting on the middle-aged neighbor Leon (Jean Reno). This is all before she becomes an assassin's apprentice. Mathilda is only sad about the death of her four year old brother instead of her abusive father, stepmother, and half-sister. She also swears quite a bit for a young child especially when she is angry, expresses a desire to become a professional assassin to avenge him, fires a gun wildly out of a window to convince Leon to teach her how to kill, expresses a desire to use real bullets during a mock assassination session on a U.S. politician, and at one point freaks out the manager of an apartment she and Leon are staying at by lying that he's her lover instead of her father.
  • Prospect: Ezra is creeped out by how calmly and efficiently Cee amputates his arm. She reveals that she spent some time working in a slaughterhouse. She also doesn't like Ezra very much, so there's not much sympathy there to begin with.
  • 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.
  • River Tam in Serenity. Better than 50% of the on-screen kills are hers. She's a teenager.
  • The Squid and the Whale: Twelve-year-old Frank Berkham 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).
  • Everybody Smokes in Stand by Me, especially the twelve-year-olds. Even by The '50s standards that's quite young.
  • Sugar Cane Alley has eleven-year-old José Hassan and his friends get so drunk (one, a girl who is probably no older than eight, bought the vodka and said it was for her parents to the clerk) that they laugh as they set a shack on fire.
  • 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.
  • Tales of Halloween:
    • The murderous children in "Trick" attack and kill the homeowners silently and with no expression on their faces, using a variety of weapons including knives and an Aerosol Flamethrower. However, the kids are actually the good guys, attacking a gang of Serial Killers to rescue one of their friends. Their behaviour is still creepy and unsettling.
    • In the flashback in "The Wicked and the Weak", Alice and her two sideboys are shown as children, casually watching as two people burn to death in a fire that she set.
  • 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 is by far the most unsettling thing about the film, even overshadowing de Niro's own performance as the increasingly sociopathic Travis Bickle.
  • 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.
  • Almost the entirety of Thirteen (2003) 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.
  • Thor: Ragnarok plays this for laughs: Thor tells Valkyrie and a horrified Bruce Banner about the time Loki stabbed Thor when they were both eight while Loki smiles fondly at the memory. Banner is disturbed, but Thor cannot help himself from also smiling softly at the memory, showing Thor regards this as a harmless prank.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Total Eclipse: Leonardo DiCaprio 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.
  • Trick 'r Treat: In the "Halloween School Bus Massacre" flashback, Sam is seen on the outskirts of town, poking at a dead crow with a stick. This is our first real indication that he's not an ordinary kid, especially since this scene is set thirty years prior to the main events of the film.
  • The Tripper: During the prologue, child Gus kills the protestor who struck his father using a chainsaw.
  • 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.
  • Underworld U.S.A.: At age 14, Tolly is roaming the streets after midnight and rolling drunks.
  • Kevin Griswold from Vacation is ten years old and he swears constantly; expresses desire to kill his awkward older brother, and attempts to by suffocating him with a plastic bag and trying to stab him with a syringe; gets his father in trouble by accusing him of being a pedophile; and brutally assaulted a man with a chair.
  • Played for laughs in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Early on there is a rather heartwarming, nostalgic moment where Eddie rides on the back of the red car with a group of local boys. His parting words to the boys are "Thanks for the cigarettes."
  • The movie Young Thugs: Nostalgia has protagonist 6th grader Riichi Nakaba get drunk twice in the movie. In one scene, his family and the guests at the party encourage him to get drunk.

  • The 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".

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ALiCE (2014): Mickey is unusually mature for his age, and some of the drawings and notes Christopher finds in the school are so disturbing that they aren't described
  • Artemis Fowl: The titular criminal mastermind is twelve years old in the first book, fifteen or sixteen in the last.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: In the story's main setting, child labor is the norm and children start their apprenticeships at age seven. This includes High-Class Call Girl type jobs. This results in the story showing no less than two different girls whose age is still in the single digits talking about how they are going to be someone's mistress or concubine later. Myne, who only knows what those positions entail because her mind is that of a modern-day Japanese young adult, is quite disturbed by this.
  • In Bad Girl by Margaret Clark, 15-year-old Ruth fakes her death after a train crash. She begins taking drugs, drinking, and having underage sex, which she thinks is fun but realizes she's a little too young for it. Since she's adopted, she tracks down her biological mother. Ruth is shocked to discover she has a 13-year-old sister who's sexually active and drinks and parties heavily; and a 5-year-old brother who swears frequently and has already tried alcohol.
  • The novel The Bad Seed was very controversial, portraying, as it did, a pre-teen girl who's a multiple murderess.
  • When in Memphis, shortly after his father left him, his mother, and his brother, Richard Wright describes in the semi-biographical Black Boy how he begged passerby to buy alcohol in a saloon, and later how, after his first day at school, he wrote curse words on windows. He was six.
  • Mormon in The Book of Mormon begins leading the entire Nephite army at the age of 15.
  • 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?
  • Casteel Series: Fanny has already begun fooling around with boys by the time she's eleven. 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. It's not textual that Fanny was sexually abused as a child, but the reading that she may have been is more implied than speculation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Clubland Heroes, the Kid Detective "Clever Dick" Cleaver is worryingly blasé about violent death, whether of the victims whose death he's investigating ("Blood, brains, bits of bone... nothing interesting.") or of the culprits he catches ("Served them right when they got shot.").
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Crocodile God has a downplayed example in Mirasol's children with the sea-god Haik; when she and Haik lose their first baby after her Spaniard master shoots her while she's pregnant, their later children grow up deeply affected by their parents' grief (and their sister's constant pain in the otherworld). As Mirasol is the only full mortal in the family, her teenage children have already been watching her nonstop to keep her safe when Haik isn't there; both are noted to act too serious, they constantly shape-shift into crocodiles, and their daughter is especially angry at the Spaniard for causing their family so much grief.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    Aaron Fidget, a stuffy little boy from Hogfather, is an example of such a child. He 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 was pregnant with her, Alia behaved more like an adult than a child, which made the Bene Gesserit afraid of her, considering her an "Abomination". She also killed Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and several soldiers, earning the nickname "St. Alia of the Knife".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Harry Potter: Tom Riddle 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.
  • In The Hammer (2022), Erina's friend Emma notices the change in Tiny's behavior following his Mental Time Travel when she sees him eating soup with complete composure in front of his sister's corpse. She's unnerved by how eerily calm he is and the strange maturity he presents himself with when he promises to repay Emma's kindness to him.
  • Hothouse: Every kid is forced to become a warrior, learn to kill, and have more children quickly, because the death rate is so high in this future.
  • The Hunger Games: The main plot point — 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.
  • I Am J: J began smoking in fifth grade when he began emulating older boys. He also started getting into fights at that age, but as self-defense against bullies.
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer has a downplayed example in John, whose cold and occasionally violent behavior comes off as even creepier given that he starts the series as fifteen. One of his talks with his therapist reveals a straighter example: he dissected a live gopher. At the age of seven.
  • 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.
  • It:
    • The Losers Club. They regularly smoke, swear like sailors, and after their first battle with It, they all make love with Beverly, the only female of the group, all at the age of 11.
    • Henry Bowers, the local town bully. He's only one year older than the Losers, and he's so violent and crazy that fellow bullies are shocked by some of his actions. Throughout the novel, Henry does such things as attempting to drown Bill in a dunk tank, white-wash Stan's face in snow until it bleeds, poison Mike's pet dog just to hurt him, break Eddie's arm, attempt to carve his name into Ben's belly (only managing the "H" before Ben gets away), and later kill his father with a knife. Needless to say, it's easy for It to use him as a scapegoat for It's 1957-1958 killing spree.
    • Patrick Hockstetter, another member of Henry's gang, is even worse. He kills small animals for fun by smothering them in an old refrigerator, fondles the girls in his class, gives Henry a handjob and offers him oral sex, and is revealed to have smothered his own baby brother to death with a pillow when he was only five.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Origin of Laughing Jack: Isaac's reaction to accidentally causing the death of his neighbour's cat (although it was his friend who constricted it) is... laughter, and tearing up over his own joke that cats don't have 9 lives after all.
  • 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."
  • My Sweet Audrina:
    • Sylvia Adare 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.
  • Barely 14-year old Ponyboy from The Outsiders is addicted to smoking and regularly gets into gang fights. He and his friends have been smoking for years; one started at 9.
  • Five-year-old Kassandra in The Painter Knight provokes Oh, Crap! moments in captured traitors and various other condescending adults when they realize that 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.
  • The Phantom of the Opera mentions "the Little Sultana" who enjoyed torturing people with the Phantom's wonderful devices.
  • In The Pillars of the Earth, the protagonist Jack burns the orginal Kingsbridge cathedral as a child so his mother's lover, Tom will be able to feed the family by working on the building of its replacement. he is never punished for his act of sacrilege and arson.
  • In Ragged Dick, the titular fourteen-year-old Street Urchin smokes heavily, as do many of the other boot-blacks, even the youngest ones. They do it despite the damage to their health because it helps them stay warm, and because some of them are addicted.
  • 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 Secrets Not Meant to be Kept, Adri and her friends are squicked when her three-year-old sister, Becky, French-kisses Adri's boyfriend, Ryan, who is a high school senior. Later, Ryan tells Adri that, when he suggested that he and Becky play hide-and-seek, Becky got undressed in front of him, saying that this is how the game is played. These are some of the clues that lead Adri to realize that Becky is being molested at her preschool.
  • Amma Crellin from Sharp Objects is casually promiscuous, drinks, does drugs, and rules the school with an iron fist. She's thirteen.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    Snicket: 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.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Arya Stark 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 Arya's sister, the beautiful and sensitive twelve-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 kills peasants from his palace's borders with his crossbow and tells them to go eat their dead, has people fight to the death, torments his younger brother, and abuses Sansa Stark, all before turning fourteen.
    • However the one who might possibly beat Joffrey is the psychopathic knight Ser Gregor Clegane. When he was only 12 years old, he pushed his little brother's head into a fire just because he saw Sandor playing with one of his toys. Who knows what other sick things Gregor did before he became a baby-killer and a rapist at only age 16.
    • Cersei Lannister initiated an incestuous relationship with her twin brother Jaime, physically bullied her other brother Tyrion when he was just a newborn, and is heavily implied to have murdered one of her childhood playmates for having a crush on Jaime, all before the age of ten. Not surprisingly, she's the mother of the aforementioned Joffrey.
  • Storm from Survivor Dogs unnerves her pack because, even as a pup, she was quite aggressive and bloodthirsty.
  • 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.
  • 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 Veldt: Peter and Wendy's fixation on playing in a simulated Afterican velt while lions kill and eat something in the distance disturbs their parents enough to call a child psychologist, and is a sign that there is something seriously wrong with them.
  • Walker's Crossing: By the second half of the book, just about every word out of 12-year-old Matt's mouth is from a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic viewpoint and uttered with smug, frightening certainty.

    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 Anne with an E, Anne innocently talks about sex at school (as she understands it), resulting in a scandal and her ostracisation until the adults in the community realise that she can’t help what she’s been exposed to at her young age by abusive adults and resolve to be a bit kinder.
  • 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.
  • Breaking Bad gives us Tomas Cantillo, who shot and killed Jesse's friend Combo as part of a rite of initiation into a gang.
  • The Brittas Empire: Ben, Carole's rarely seen son, slowly begins falling into this beginning with Series 4. He carries around a knife with him at all times, has shown the desire to own an air rifle, and has a toy bunny hooked up to an electric chair. Series 6 makes him particularly physically violent, with him biting other children, dangling his Montessori teacher out of a window, and possibly cutting off the hand of a child entertainer. It's implied that Carole's eccentric upbringing, plus the fact that he is being raised in a cupboard in the leisure centre, is why he is so out-of-control.
  • Child prostitute Annie in Copper - and that's before she kills the man who killed and raped, in that order, her twin sister. It's also demonstrated in more mundane ways, such as her acting like Kevin Corcoran's wife by doing things like cooking him breakfast and cleaning his house. (Corcoran is in his mid-30s by appearances.)
  • One episode of Criminal Minds focuses on a series of murders of young children. They turn 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."
  • One episode of CSI has one in the form of a 12-year-old girl who's taking senior level high school courses. At her older brother's trial for the 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's a D student in chemistry and the murderer needed to know how to handle pure sodium) and that there's too much doubt to convict her (she's 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's 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.
  • 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.
  • The Devil Judge: As a child Yo-han killed a bird just because it landed on the desk beside him. He also made Sun-ah jump from a second-storey window, and according to Ms. Ji he poisoned his father's dog.
  • 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 isn't helped by the fact that she became more sadistic and a demon child as Flanderization kicked in. She is even let off the hook real easy for them!
  • Although he's an adult when you meet him, on Elementary the antagonist of an early episode 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.
  • In Euphoria, Rue's drug dealer Ashtray looks like he might be 13 at most.
  • Firefly:
    • Jayne Cobb. 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 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. She's also terrified of herself because she knows she isn't fully in control and if she ever loses it completely she'd be a practically unstoppable killing machine.

      A flashback opening showing River 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.
  • 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. Though once his overprotective mother dies, he becomes a more mature and nicer person.
    • 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 refuses to put him out of his misery, instead robbing him and leaving him to die slowly and alone.
    • In Season 6, Qyburn has turned a cohort of Varys's spies into a gang of creepy silent children who don't hesitate in slicing Lancel's spinal cord or swarming Pycelle and stabbing him dozens of times.
  • 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.
  • House:
    • There's an episode 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.note 
    • In another episode, an eight-year-old boy whose sister is a patient displays sexually aggressive behavior towards Cameron. The sister herself also has a variation; while her behavior is normal, her body is doing things that are extremely atypical for a child her age (many of her symptoms are near-unheard of in children), which leads the doctors to believe the two might be related. They end up finding that both children were inadvertently exposed to high levels of testosterone (due to their father's carelessness with an erectile dysfunction treatment), causing the boy's behavior as well as his sister's illness.
  • 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!
  • Jessica Jones (2015): 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, but if the situation were reversed, it would likely be taken far more seriously.
  • The Law & Order franchise:
    • 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 is 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 later taunts Jack McCoy about getting away with it, openly brags that she plans on doing it again to another boy because, in her own words, "That's what boys are for", and actually has the brass balls to pick her next victim in front of McCoy, who's horrified when he realizes what she's doing.
      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 involved this trope. Usually the behavior itself is relatively harmless and the primary concern is that it's an indicator of an underlying problem (i.e. a kid suggesting getting naked with a friend because they were sexually abused and it screwed up their compass for appropriate behavior), but there are a few examples where a child commits horrific acts for no reason, just because they feel like it, as well as at least one case where the kid completely failed to recognize that he was hurting anyone. A couple of episodes ("Damaged", "Quarry", "Web") contain elements of both, where the perpetrator was abused, but then goes well beyond the usual acting out as they knowingly, intentionally inflict similar abuse on a younger/more vulnerable child.
  • Leverage: Poor Parker. It's mostly 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.
  • Any of the kids from Malcolm in the Middle, easily qualify.
    • Francis Wilkerson, 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 bayonet, 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 piercings, 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.
  • In The Mandalorian, the Child misreads a friendly arm wrestling match between Mando and Cara as an actual fight, thinking that Cara was hurting his adoptive father. The Child proceeds to Force Choke her until Mando quickly stops him. Cara is appropriately disturbed.
  • Bill Tench's adopted son Brian in Mindhunter is largely nonverbal, and has gotten in trouble for biting other kids at school. Then in season two, he is implicated in the death of a toddler alonf with a group of older boys. Tench, who studies the lives of serial killers for a job, is extremely conserned as he recognizes several familiar troubling behaviors.
    • Ed Kemper mentions ripping apart his sister's dolls as a kid, that coupled with other troubling behavior led to his mother believing he was evil from a young age, leading to her making him sleep in a locked basement.
    • When investigating the Atlanta Chil Murders, the team comes across some very precocious black boys who immediately peg Gregg as a cop immediately and demand he take out his penis to prove he's not. Later, Ford encounters Tanya's son alone at the hotel, and when he offers him money for the arcade, the boy initially assumes he's propositioning him for prostitution, which is implied to be a common occurance for boys he knows.
  • Mouse (2021):
    • The series starts with Jae-hoon setting a rat loose in a snake's cage and watching the snake hunt it down.
    • After witnessing his mother's murder and his brother's attempted murder, Mu-chi gets a knife and attacks the murderer.
    • Jae-hoon cuts open a rabbit to see if it's pregnant. He also scratches his own arm because he's annoyed with the other children but can't take it out on them, so he takes it out on himself. Then he pours ammonia into a fish tank to kill all the fish. Then he drowns his father's dog. And at the end of episode one he apparently kills his father.
    • Hyung-chul is a child when he kills his younger sister and his mother.
  • Psychopath Diary: As a child In-woo planned to kill Ji-hoon because Ji-hoon had taken In-woo's room.
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Flashbacks show eight-year-old Ning Yi forcing a man to choose between his child's life and the life of Dacheng's last prince.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Gallagher children in both the British and American versions of 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 (the American version even gleefully goes to prison for a time so he can learn the crime trade). Ian's somewhere in the middle, being self-disciplined and responsible but not taking as active a role in raising his younger siblings.
  • The Big Bad of Series 4 of Sherlock has genius-level intellect like the rest of the Holmes family but has always been... off, ever since childhood. Her parents once found her cutting her wrists, just because she wanted to see how her muscles work. When asked if she felt pain, she responded: "Which one's pain?" Shortly afterwards, she trapped Sherlock's childhood friend in a well and left them to drown, and burned her house down. She was quickly institutionalised after that.
  • Supernatural:
    • Alluded to in one episode:
      Dean: This is my first sawed off! Sixth grade...
    • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • "Life, in a Nutshell" by Barenaked Ladies opens with this line: "When she was three, her Barbies always did it on the first date."
  • Eric Burdon and the Animals' "When I Was Young" says "I smoked my first cigarette at ten", "I met my first love at thirteen", and "I learned quite a lot, when I was young."
  • The protagonist of "7 Years" by Lukas Graham mentions doing drugs and drinking alcohol at age 11.
  • The third verse of Ludacris's "Runaway Love" is about an eleven year old named Erica who does drugs to deal with her trauma. She gets pregnant by her sixteen-year-old boyfriend, who promptly abandons her. Erica doesn't know what to do as she's too scared to tell her mother and doesn't think her family can pay for an abortion. She ends up running away from home.
  • 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 games.
  • "Come Out and Play" by The Offspring is about youth gang violence:
    Like the latest fashion
    Like a spreading disease
    The kids are strappin' on their way to the classroom
    Getting weapons with the greatest of ease
    He-ey, don't pay no mind—
    You're under eighteen, you won't be doing any time
    He-ey, come out and play
  • 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
  • Due to working with Subverted Kids' Show themes, this is a constant theme of Eminem's music up until his haitus.
    • "Brain Damage", "As The World Turns", and to a lesser extent "My Name Is" and "Just Don't Give A Fuck" from The Slim Shady LP all describe Slim's childhood antics, which involve murdering kids at school, raping other eleven year olds, battering a school bully with a bunch of things that rhyme with 'orange juice', doing drugs in class, and sexually humiliating his mother.
    • In "I'm Back", Eminem's bloodthirsty, Undiscriminating Addict serial killer alter ego Slim Shady is welcomed back by an adoring children's chorus shouting his name.
    • In "Stan", Stan's brother is 'only six years old', yet he loves Slim Shady even more than Stan - he shouldn't even be listening to that music at all, yet!. Despite this being a clear red flag, Marshall doesn't think anything of it, and instead signs a starter cap for Matthew and sends it to him (which becomes a Brick Joke in "Bad Guy").
    • The intro to "My Dad's Gone Crazy" is a skit where Hailie wanders in on her dad snorting a line of coke. Much of the humour in the song comes from the combination of obscene lyrics and Hailie chastising him for them.
    • "My Mom" and "Insane" from Relapse both return to Slim's abusive childhood, with him being force-fed drugs by his mother to make him sick, getting raped by his stepfather, and watching porn with his babysitter ("I only get naked when the babysitter tells me.").
    • "Stepdad" from Music To Be Murdered By is a song about a young Marshall attempting to murder his stepfather.
  • "Hot Nigga" by Bobby Shmurda:
    I've been selling crack since the fifth grade

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Allysin Kay sells a T-Shirt that, playing off of her Red Baroness "The AK-47", shows a silhouette of a little girl taking a sip of some tea with an AK-47 behind her.

  • True Capitalist:
    • One of the regular, rather young trolls 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. Ghost nicknamed him "Ashhole" for a reason.
    • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Malvina Hazen, who would later grow up to be the Khan of Clan Jade Falcon, once killed two of her fellow children to make sure there was enough food to go around. As she grew up, her behavior became worse. And by "worse" we mean "interstellar war crimes" worse.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Because of the Space Marines' unique transhuman physiology, anyone joining the Adeptus Astartes needs to be a natural born killer by the time they hit puberty. The Night Lords legion took this a step further by recruiting children that were already full-blown serial killers.
    • In general, the Imperium's fascistic nature and dependence on training programmes beginning as early as birth make this endemic to the setting, one way or another. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, and so on.
    • Many centuries ago, a young boy on the planet Colchis grew envious of another boy, a well-respected member of the planet's priest caste. In order to gain the benefits of such, the first boy strangled the second boy to death and stole his name and identity. Thus began the career of Erebus, who would become one of the most hated men in the galaxy in- and out-of-universe.
  • Wicked witches in Witch Girls Adventures and the comics that spawned it are big on Evil Smoking. Children aren't an exception.

  • Rudolf from Elisabeth proudly tells Death that he killed a cat the day before. Slightly subverted in that he did it in an attempt (most likely orchestrated by adults to toughen him up) to prove that he could be a hero, and immediately wished he didn't have to do it. He would go on to kill himself (and his Adapted Out mistress Mary Vetsera) in a Murder-Suicide.

    Video Games 
  • Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2 is the world's deadliest 13-year-old and an explosives expert. In her introduction cutscene, she proceeds to blast a Psycho into oblivion while singing to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel". And that's just the start.
  • Nox from Child of Light is a girl from a fantastical Magical Land seemingly in her early- to mid-teens, and is a manipulative sociopath and sadist who takes pleasure in traumatizing a child no more than ten years of age by forming a close sisterly bond with her under the alias "Norah", only to later lead her right to the Big Bad who wants to kill said child, under the guise of taking her home. It's even implied that Nox is involved in genocide, as she waits at the end of a dungeon guarded by an ogre that devours the entirety of the Piscean race save Genovefa and her guardian Drustnote . Clearly, there is something very wrong with Nox.
  • B.B. Hood 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.
  • Disco Elysium:
    • Cuno in is a twelve year old with an amphetamine addiction and an aggressively foul-mouthed, homophobic personality, who spends his time truanting from school to throw rocks at a corpse. His father is an incoherent alcoholic and drug dealer.
    • Cuno's 'friend' Cunoesse is even more deeply disturbed and violent and has probably killed someone.
    • In a different definition of 'unchildlike', Anette works promoting her mother's bookshop in a surprisingly adult manner (especially as she should be in school), but this is revealed to be due to her being viewed as an 'asset' by her mother in her desperate attempts to be a businesswoman. You can find out that she's been chewing off her nails due to stress, and get her mother to bring her inside, though she is still made to concentrate on homework.
  • Gregory, the child protagonist of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, sees nothing wrong with the idea of significantly damaging the other three Glamrocks in order to take their upgrades to install into his new friend Freddy, even justifying it by saying they "deserved it" for the trouble they caused them. Keep in mind the Glamrocks are not just lovable mascots gone haywire but on some level capable of feeling emotional pain, making it closer to the robotic equivalent of Organ Theft rather than the simple exchange of parts. Not only that but it's made clear throughout the story that they're very dear to Freddy, who has been steadily forming a bond with Gregory... who has also been lying to him about their demise. The one-star ending gives a possible reason for his apparent ruthlessness, as he's shown sleeping inside a box in an alleyway, implying that he may have been living on the streets.
  • All over the place in Kindergarten and its sequel, and it's all played for Black Comedy. The cast consists of a kindergarten class and its staff, but nearly every mission involves killing at least one person, often intentionally, and even the ones that don't will still likely have someone getting hurt either physically or mentally. Just to name a few examples:
  • 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.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Mission Vao, a fourteen-year-old twi'lek living in Taris's 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.
  • The Last of Us has Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl who can shoot, swear like a sailor, and her biggest reaction to someone being shot to pieces is "Oh [insert swearword here]".
  • 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 that 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.
  • Persona:
    • 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.
    • This occurs after you find out "Black Mask"'s backstory in Persona 5. According to the timeline, Goro Akechi couldn't have committed his first murder any older than fifteen, and just got worse from there.
    • In Persona 5 Strikers, even before being brainwashed, Akane's utter hatred towards her dad and lack of trust in any law enforcement is not the most child-like thing to begin with. After being brainwashed, she starts raving about changing the Phantom Thieves' hearts and believes she has every right to violently lash out against those who "betrayed" her, namely the Thieves and her father. Shadow Akane is no less hostile or dangerous as any other adult Monarch.
  • 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 has a very extreme obsession with strength. His violent, curel, misanthropic behavior and already proficient thievery/burglary skills can be kind of disturbing when you remember that he probably is no older than the protagonist; i.e. an 11-to-12-year-old boy. Silver's concerning behaviour is especially apparent when contrasted with the bratty rival Blue in the previous generation, who acts way more like his age, or subsequent preteen age rivals who are generally friendly to you. And it's implied it's all he knows. He's revealed to be Giovanni's son. He hates Team Rocket, the organization he runs, and will use their own methods against them if it means stopping them. All because he just wanted Giovanni to stay home with him and be a father instead of running off somewhere to be potentially killed, what with dealing in organized crime.
    • 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 (who 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.
  • Pulang Insanity: The player character's daughter, Nissa, had quite a disturbed mind prior to her death, including threatening to drown a fellow schoolmate for annoying her. You find out about this when an angry mother lodged a complain during a PTA meeting.
  • Psychonauts:
    • Mildly done. None of the campers are over the age of 13, yet some of the kids have an odd fascination with hooking up and making out. Nils also says his parents let him watch R-rated films, and his favorite films on Campster are all various installments of Girls Gone Wild. He's canonically 9 years old, according to his Campster.
    • 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 out it's because they were being bullied for acting positive all the time and trying to make others happy.
  • In Resident Evil 7, files found in-game heavily imply that Lucas murdered another boy when he was a child by locking him in the attic.
  • Reverse: 1999 has Schneider. At present, she is barely 18 years, but has already been a mafia boss and engaged in countless violent crimes for much longer. A piece of paper implies that she was engaging in "pigeon trades" (contract assassinations), buying bullets to deal with the "neighbors" (rival gangsters), and engaging in blatant bribery of politicians. She also takes great glee in shooting and killing people, even if they're unarmed and panicking; if anything, her massacre of the panicking clients of the Walden Speakeasy has her more amused that she's shooting people left and right yet no one cares.
  • 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.
  • Skullgirls:
    • The gun-toting, cigar-chomping cyborg mad-bomber that is Peacock 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, which include mutilating her best friend Patricia, who would eventually become Peacock.
  • 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.
  • 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, as well as whether you see her as baiting AssholeVictims In-Universe (e.g. anyone who would take her up on her offer deserves early death and financial ruin, and she's just there to give it to them) or as bait for players who want to imagine themselves with her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Xenogears: Many of the character backstories involve some degree of Troubling Unchildhood Behavior, due to one of the major themes of the game being the impact of childhood trauma and violence. To name them all would be a list too exhaustive for the page, but probably your only party member that doesn't have some degree of this in their backstory would be Chu-Chu due to her species's growth/maturity rate, and Emeralda, Maria, and Billy are all currently engaging in fighting/violence/war in the course of the game.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Isabelle Ruins Everything: Played for laughs when a squirrel kid shows the Mayor the torch he made for the protest.
    Squirrel kid: Look, Mr. Mayor! I made my fire all by myself!
    Mayor: Wow, you did! That is so impressive. You made a big boy fire, didn't you?
    Squirrel kid: I made fire like a big boy. (walks off)

  • In Apothecia, an eleven-year-old girl kills a child abductor and feeds his corpse to an alien in the woods behind her house.
  • 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 Catchphrase 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.
  • Played with in The Beginning After the End. Like the aforementioned Rudeus Greyrat, Arthur Leywin retains the memories and experience of his previous life. Unlike Rudeus, who was a shut-in Otaku, Arthur used to be King Grey - a monarch who ruled over a world governed by Asskicking Leads to Leadership and was one of the strongest warriors of that world - and as such is far more intelligent, mature, and experienced than Rudeus was upon beginning the next life. When he is just four years old, he briefly helps his family fend off an ambush, and after being separated from them due to said ambush, kills a few slave traders who had kidnapped an elven girl. He is also noted to be unnaturally worldly and mature for his age by other characters - making remarks and mannerisms more befitting of an old man than that of a childe - and a few individuals are even aware of his past life or are made aware of it throughout the story.
  • 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's later revealed that her hypersexual behavior is related to a form of bipolar disorder, and she joins 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 than the others on this page, but she still made a Slasher Smile when she went into the ventilation system, stole knives, and 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.
  • The Fantasy Book Club: Social services finally get involved when Fiona broke and tried to murder her father in middle school.
  • Forest Hill:
    • Benni, 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. The author of the comic has said that they did not originally plan for Benni to be an abuse victim, but decided 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.
    • Talitha, who is even younger than Benni, 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.
    • It is later revealed that Flora had a romantic and sexual relationship with a pedophile when she was a child, and she didn't realize that anything was wrong with this until she discovered that her lover was secretly keeping naked pictures of her and other children, including her brothers.
    • Colin is disturbed when he finds out that Tanya has tried fingering herself and is also worried about how Hunter enjoys being naked a little bit too much. Flora assures him that none of this is out of the ordinary.
  • Homestuck:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sam's friend Emmett in Questionable Content, has, at a minimum, given themselves a permanent tattoo, blown up gas canisters, made crop circles to the point they were almost shot, stole a backhole which caused them to break the town water main, and consumed enough alcohol that they fell into a ditch, broke their ankle, and nearly froze to death. Emmett is 14.
  • Larisa Korolev of Sandra and Woo is among the most extreme examples of this trope. She likes fire...a lot. She always addresses, and refers to, her parents, father Ivan and mother Jelena, by their first names. 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 keeps a secret from her best friends, contrary to the insulin) gives this already uncomfortable behavior some further uncomfortable undertones. We eventually find out that her behavior is partially a reaction to her having Wolfram syndrome, an incurable illness that will, as she describes it, leave her "blind in ten years and dead in twenty". Larisa knows she's living on borrowed time, and thus feels no need to mitigate her behavior past not physically harming others.
  • Something*Positive's Pamjee has aspirations to become a Monster Clown, and even petting a cat has her look utterly sinister.
    Neighbor: Is all of her affection that threatening?
    Aubrey: Hearing your kid say "I can hear your heart beat" during a hug should be sweet, but there's always that little ring of disappointment.
  • 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.
  • Sock from Welcome to Hell has had a desire to kill things his entire life. When he was younger he killed animals. At the start of the series he has just killed his parents in his sleep.

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Due to using the internet, Bear knows about things that a kid like him should not know, which freaks Cody out to no end.
  • Before her Let's Read 50 Shades Of Grey videos were deleted, YouTube user emmablackery gave us this gem:
    emmablackery: We get it! You want to fuck him! God! You sound like a 12-year-old. [beat] We start young, here in Essex.
  • Entirely Presenting You:
    • Alexis starts the story as an innocent 15-year-old who's quickly forced to grow up in order to deal with her new powers and vampiric thirst.
    • D, a little girl who's willing to crash a bus in order to escape a gang that was after her.
  • 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.
  • Played for Laughs in The Most Popular Girls in School. Even ignoring 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.
    Nostalgia Critic: I had issues.
  • The Brandon Rogers "No Parents!" sketch is literally nothing but this:
    Kid 1: Dude! I know where my dad keeps the spare keys, come on!
  • In Qwerpline the Nsburg Girl Scouts are a heavily armed paramilitary organization who use violence to maintain control of their turf and are regularly deputized by the police to assist in riot control. They also sell Girl Scout Cookies and earn merit badges.
  • Downplayed 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".
  • Ness and Lucas in There Will Be Brawl are bad enough to make all of the other supposed Big Bads nervous.
  • 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.
  • This trope defines every (human - maybe) character your principal one meets in the play-by-post game What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?
  • WayneRadioTV: Wayne's "son", Joshua*. Theoretically a child, his desire to do things like fuck or commit war crimes really make you question things.
    Joshua: "Daddy, can I say slurs?"
  • Worm:
    • 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 forward 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.
  • Unraveled: During the "Perfect Pokerap" episode, Brian David Gilbert talks about how, when he was a kid playing the first Pokémon games, a Tangela named Terry was his favourite, and in order to complete his Pokedex, he needed to trade for an Arcanine... but the only one he could get was from Kevin Punt, his childhood nemesis, who insisted that he would only trade for Terry, because he wanted BDG to "give up something [he] loved".
    BDG: Which is legitimately a wild thing for an eight-year-old to request!
  • When doing a video covering unlicensed Ben 10 flash games, Diamondbolt and KuroTheArtist are somewhat disturbed by the fact that a majority of these games feature a ten-year-old Ben shooting up, stabbing, and/or bombing every enemy that gets in his way.
  • Theo from Meta Runner is a childlike video game character who manifested in the real world. Due to his game having many enemies who need to be defeated, as well as extra lives to bring him back to life, he talks about death and killing casually, which weirds out some of the other characters.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
  • Arcane: Powder/Jinx before the time skip.
    • Powder's attempts at contributing to the efforts of Vi's crew is to try making bombs, and is willing to fill some with nails. Her very first on-screen attempt at using one has her filling it with nails before throwing it, and she looks at it with concerning levels of excitement and anticipation.
    • After getting caught in her own improvised bomb's explosion, Powder can be seen mid-fall in slow motion, her face showing not fear, nor panic or horror, but awe and wonder at the sheer destructiveness of her bomb's power. It's even more pronounced by the Soundtrack Dissonance that plays as this happens.
    • There's also her episode of Tantrum Throwing. While children throwing tantrums is normal, it should be noted that she's not just screaming and throwing her creations around, but also seems to briefly hit herself in the face.
  • 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 eleven or twelve, in a flashback, 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. At age fourteen, Azula isn't much better. She constantly lies and is as cruel as ever. Her introduction scene has her threatening to throw a man off a boat, and by the end of the season she graduates to murdering her 12-year-old adversary. In the end, Azula ends up having a Villainous Breakdown during a life-or-death duel against her brother. Unlike other examples, it is darkly fascinating as a study. As Azula felt neglected or treated like a monster by her mother, she ended up emulating her father, like children tend to do sometimes. It gets a bit gray as to how much of Azula's cruelty is a byproduct of neglect and Ozai's (and by extension, her environment) upbringing and how much was legitimately her own doing.
  • Kevin 11 in Ben 10 tries to cause a subway accident that would result in tons of deaths just so he can pick money from their corpses, attempts revenge on bullies using pyrokinetic powers, and later goes on a crime spree across America where he tries to stab people with diamond blades while grinning maniacally. Any of these actions would be disturbing on their own already for an adult character, and Kevin is 11 years old when he does them.
  • 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 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 more hands-on violent, such as when she beat up another girl scout or when she chased a man with a bat.
    • Lamilton Taeshawn has to have the absolute worst case of this in the series. He's an 8-year-old who steals his grandmother's car and goes on a joyride with it, not giving a damn if he kills people as a result, and does various other horrible things without any remorse, even saying that "It's fun to do bad things". Later, he takes part in a robbery with Riley, and shoots the guard dog outside the house they were trying to rob to death for no reason whatsoever, and threatens to do the same to Riley when he says that he wants to stop being his friend. He was actually based on a real kid named Latarian Milton, who, like Lamilton, took his grandmother's car for a joyride and stated his reason for doing so as "It's fun to do bad things."
  • Code Lyoko's main protagonists have become so accustomed to 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.
  • The Delightful Children from Down the Lane from Codename: Kids Next Door are creepy, monotone-speaking kids who side with the adult villains.
  • On Daria, Brittany's little brother Brian not only acts out of control, but he is also apparently the reason why the family doesn't even bother naming their pets anymore.
  • 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.
  • DuckTales (2017) has a version of Webby who was raised by her grandma to be ready for everything... while keeping her cooped up in Scrooge's manor and therefore very isolated. As a consequence, Webby has no idea what appropriate reactions to social situations are and assumes violence is a solution scarily often. For example, in "Daytrip of Doom!", Louie draws a hand across his throat to tell her to stop arguing with a store manager... and she thinks he's telling her to attack the man with her eating utensils. Thankfully she doesn't get to follow through on it.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Vicky the Evil Babysitter, only 16 but an out-and-out sadist who enjoys tormenting children for money; easily a poster child for the Would Hurt a Child trope. She's also abusive towards her own parents to the point that even they're scared of her.
    • Remy Buxaplenty also shows traits of this trope. While at first, he was just a stereotypical mean rich kid who wanted Timmy to lose Cosmo and Wanda out of jealousy, in "Operation F.U.N", he tries to outright kill Cosmo and Wanda and even laughs about it. And unlike Vicky, who is at least 16, Remy is 11 years old.
  • 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. Aside from his violent tendencies, he is also a Dirty Kid who's done things like becoming a masochist who pleads Lois to step on his "cubes" (in "Peter's Two Dads"), trying to trick the family dog into having sex with him ("Movin' Out: Brian's Song"), or having sex with a CPR doll ("The Cleveland Loretta Quagmire").
  • 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.
  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, whose face is kept at a permanent, perpetual glare and who is not above physically and emotionally tormenting her own friends if it serves her purpose. So rarely does she smile that the one time it happens, it rips apart reality as we know it, and when one time forced to save humanity from impending darkness, she only does it because she vowed she would be the one to do it first.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Its revealed that Harley was messed up long before she met Joker. Her happiest memory is as a child playing with dolls as husband and wife, having the wife accuse the husband doll of cheating, and then cutting the husband's head off with a meat cleaver. A young Harley stalked Frankie Muniz enough to get sent to juvie for violating her restraining order. Harley planned to kidnap him and then pretend to be on birth control to have his babies.
  • 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 he wanted. And in "Ghost Bride" he dresses up as the titular killer to scare his friends because he wanted to be the one to tell the fable instead of Gerald.
    • Curly also freed all the animals from the zoo after painting himself like a tiger. Seriously, the kid is messed up.
    • 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.
    • One episode has a seductive girl who looks like Lila. She can't be older than 9. It all turns out to be All Just a Dream, though (but, as it was Arnold's dream, that might mean something about him).
  • Kaeloo:
    • Mr. Cat is a preteen, yet over the course of the show he tries to have sex with Kaeloo, gets drunk several times, and is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who owns an arsenal of weapons.
    • Pretty exhibits signs of this in season 2, from being obsessed with skinniness to constantly stalking and even sexually harassing Mr. Cat, in addition to her general sociopathy.
    • Stumpy's sister Cramoisie, who is stated to be less than 6 years old, shows signs of this as well. A notable example is that the first thing she says upon meeting Kaeloo is that Kaeloo is ugly because she has saddlebag fat.
  • The Loud House:
    • Lucy Loud's 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.
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart: Adorabat is the five-year-old deputy of Pure Heart Valley, training to be a hero like her mentor, Mao Mao. Unfortunately, she's so enthusiastic about fighting criminals and monsters that she gets outright sadistic about it. Even her father Eugene is afraid of her!
  • My Dad the Bounty Hunter: Lisa is skilled at poker, setting up a gambling ring at school, and even knows how to count cards. She learned at least the basics from Terry, although he certainly didn't expect her to use the skill for sharping.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In the 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!"). Of course, considering that her mother is Spoiled Rich, it's easy to see where she got it from, and she eventually gets better.
    • Even worse than her is Cozy Glow, a pegasus filly who enters Twilight's School of Friendship, and then conspires with Lord Tirek to drain Equestria of all its magic in a plan to take it over, and almost succeeds.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez's adult daughter Beth Smith is revealed to have been like this in the third season episode "The ABC's of Beth". Some of the toys she begged Rick to make her include a "whip that makes people like you", a taser shaped like a ladybug, and a pink, sentient switchblade. Rick also created a child-safe pocket dimension play-park because of her obvious budding sociopathy. Young!Beth trapped a childhood friend, Tommy, there for over 30 years because she was jealous of his relationship with his father (and then forgot about it). Beth and Rick end up getting into an argument over whether Beth's behavior was caused by Nature or Nurture. Beth thinks that she was only acting out for attention because of Rick's terrible parenting and while Rick admits that he is a terrible parent he still insists that his bad parenting is not a sufficient explanation for her actions, and it is left ambiguious which one of them is right.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Maggie is a lot smarter and often ruthless than one would expect from a baby. She was the one who shot Mr. Burns, after all. In the episode "At Long Last, Leave," in which the family is kicked out of Springfield for various transgressions, it turns out even Maggie is disliked for her Enfant Terrible status—a criticism to which she responds with a Throat-Slitting Gesture.
    • Bart sometimes veers into this in later seasons due to Flanderization, doing things like threatening Homer and Marge's marriage to get out of homework in "Postcards From the Wedge" and even showing indifference to the idea of Homer dying in "Love is a Many Strangled Thing". He also drinks coffee and goes from the odd Precocious Crush to actively dating girls in their early teens, despite the fact that by his own admission he has yet to hit puberty. Played for Laughs when the teachers go on strike, with Marge opining that he needs more structure in his life.
      Marge: There's just something about flying a kite at night that's so... unwholesome!
      Bart: [looking up at the window] Hello, mother dear.
    • It's a Running Gag that Bart is proficient behind the wheel, taking his friends on a lengthy road trip after creating a fake ID and eventually managing to obtain a legal driver's license from the town authorities (all of which is potentially justified by the episode "Barthood," which shows Abe teaching him to steer at a young age). Lisa can also drive in a pinch and Homer's been known to hand the wheel over to either kid without incident. Even Maggie got startlingly far on her first attempt.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Most of the Knothole Freedom Fighters are between 14 and 16 years old. Looking at their day-to-day behavior, you'd be forgiven for thinking they're a bunch of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: they routinely make bombs, hijack transport convoys and military vehicles, plant spies in critical places to subvert authority, free prisoners of war, blow up factories, sabotage power plants, destroy airfields, steal resources to live, and openly discuss their intentions to kill Robotnik, all in the name of saving their home planet.
  • Played for laughs in South Park, where pretty much all the kids (even Butters occasionally) cuss like sailors and emanate adult behavior all the time. Taken to extremes with Cartman, however, who has gone so far as attempting to start new Holocausts.
  • Velma: As a child, Velma display tons of troubling behavior as a child: being possessive of her friends, drinking her mother's booze stash, and tormenting her parents (especially her mother).
  • Xiaolin Showdown: As a kid, 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.

Examples of kids trying out such troubling behavior for the first time:

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • 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.
  • In GTO: The Early Years, Natsu's Start of Darkness was when he was 12 years old and he and his friend Jun discovered his sister had been gang-raped (and killed herself the next day). He went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, at the end of which Jun found him surrounded by bodies and covered in blood, while holding a knife.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Day of the Barney has Barney convince his fans, who are all young children, to kill any adult they can manage to. Specifically featured are two children offing their mother.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: While normally polite and reserved, after Gohan transforms into Super Saiyan 2 he becomes bitter, spiteful, and a bit unhinged. He has no problems insulting others or putting them down and takes joy in beating the hell out of Cell. While in the original manga, Gohan just didn't want Cell's suffering to end too soon, here he's actively trying to torture him.
    Goku: Alright Gohan! I think it's time you brought 'er home.
    Gohan: Hold on, I'm not done ripping the wings off this butterfly.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cowboys: Played for laughs. 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.
  • Kill Bill: O-Ren Ishii commits her first murder at the age of eleven, an act of 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.

  • Darth Plagueis has Palpatine running over two pedestrians. His reaction afterwards indicates that he enjoyed it even though it was his first time.
  • 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 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 Judy Blume's 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's the first time Tony and Frankie do this, but Joel has been drinking enough that he knows well the differences between the various kinds of alcohol.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
    • In season 5, Clarke's adopted daughter, Madi, who is about twelve, becomes the Commander, in a plot to overthrow Octavia as leader of Wonkru. At the start of the season, Madi is innocent and bright-eyed, still needing Clarke to braid her hair and enjoying bedtime stories. This flips on a dime when she's implanted with the Flame. She becomes a cold, ruthless leader influenced by the memories of past Commanders, and Clarke is disturbed by the fact her daughter is not acting like her daughter. In season 6, Madi comes under the influence of the most unhinged Commander in the Flame, one that previously required a lot of effort and bloodshed to depose, who has aims to use Madi to come back into power. Madi loses what little grip on herself she has left, and it takes Clarke threatening to kill herself in front of her to get her to snap out of it.
  • 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.
  • 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 beats a bully to death.
  • Jessie: In episode "What A Steal" Ravi's new friend, Madeline, 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.
  • In the Malcolm in the Middle episode "Lois Battles Jamie", there are two instances of this subtrope occurring.
    • The first is 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 him uncontrollable).
    • The second is 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.
  • 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 that this kid is 9 or younger, and has been raised by Gandhi-level pacifists.
  • Played for Laughs in Raven's Home. Chelsea's son Levi starts selling snacks at school at an inflated price in order to save up money for VR goggles. He learned it from his dad, who's in jail for tax fraud.
  • 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 that 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 "Welcome to the Tombs", he shoots and kills the surrendering Jody, initially claiming that Jody was planning to pull an I Surrender, Suckers but later admitting that 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.

  • In the comedy band Dead Cat Bounce's song "That Summer When We Killed That Guy", the singer regales, in a sunny Beach Boys-esque tone, how they once decided to torture and kill a random passerby in their youth when they were bored. It's never explained if they ever did anything like that again, though they seem to look back on the event with nostalgia.
    We were young and full of fun
    Was just a matter of time before we killed someone
    There was nothing special about that guy
    He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time

    I remember it was Tommy's idea
    To make him swallow half his cut-off ear
    But what we did with the baseball bat
    I take full credit for that
  • 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

    Theme Parks 

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television", 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.
  • Kevin from Kevin Spencer, whose age throughout the series ranges 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.
  • Shapey (and eventually Block) are shown playing with things like lighters and drills in Moral Orel, which Bloberta and Clay don't keep out of reach.
  • 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.
  • During the "chocolate pudding" scene in the Rugrats episode "Angelica Breaks a Leg", Angelica is watching TV. If that sounds normal enough, just listen to the gunfire and explosions to figure out that she's watching a violent movie. And laughing uproariously. Keep in mind that she's only three years old.
  • In The Simpsons, Bart's experiments with adult behavior are typically downplayed as he runs up against his own qualms; for instance, he, Milhouse and Nelson buy beer with a fake ID but chicken out of actually drinking it. He does start a moral panic in Springfield when he gets drunk at the St. Patrick's Day parade, but this happened entirely by accident when beer being sprayed from a float got caught in his plastic horn. The seriousness of the Big Damn Movie is aptly demonstrated, though, when having to flee an angry mob and go on the run with his family causes him to down a bottle of whiskey in frustration.

Alternative Title(s): Absurdly Worldly Children, Troubling Unchildhood Behavior, Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour



Apparently Lucy REALLY doesn't like Tap.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TroublingUnchildlikeBehavior

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