Some children are simply mature beyond their years. Sometimes it's because of the good influence of their parents, and other times they are just like that. In either case, witnessing a child exhibit adult behavior is always an interesting thing to see. Here are the most adult things people have ever seen children do:
#1 The Translator
It's not uncommon to have kids perform as a translator when with parents, who don't speak much English, come into our clinic. One young boy stuck out, though, because he was so earnest. He was about 6 or 7, translating medical information as best he could. He was learning as he went, asking very good questions so he could understand and relay the information well to his mother. I was so impressed with his politeness and patience, as well as his intelligence. After they left, he ran back in just to say "I forgot to say thank you for your help!" That is a kid I would hire in a heartbeat down the road.
#2 May I Take Your Order
I've worked retail and fast food in an area of America where Spanish is very commonly spoken. Since my Spanish is limited and a lot of adult customers' English is limited, a lot of transactions went through kids barely big enough to see over the counter. They were always polite and happy to help their parents, and customers were always happy with me trying to use the little Spanish I know to kind of meet them halfway.
#3 Anything You Want
I’m a nurse. We had a teen girl as a patient for about a week who was Guatemalan. Our translator service couldn’t provide a translator for the dialect she used. Her 8-year-old brother spoke English fluently. Her parents would leave him there all day while they worked because he was the only way we could communicate with her. He wasn’t explaining medical procedures for us; he was just telling us she was thirsty or needed to go to the bathroom.
He was a great kid and all the nurses tried to spoil him. I took him to the cafeteria for lunch one day and told him to choose what he wanted. He kept asking me if he could really have anything he wanted. He probably gained 5 pounds the week he spent with us—the kid had a serious love for Snickers and Mountain Dew. Yes, I made him eat real food before the junk, and I encouraged fruit, but it was hard to say no to that sweet: “Really? Anything?”
#4 Tough Love
Growing up, my mom would take me to a lot of places, especially government offices, to help translate for her. It didn't help that Cantonese-Chinese is my first language. I was seven years old, and a lot of schools are not accommodating to Asian speaking language, so I was NOT helpful at all. When I didn't know how to translate: "We cannot give back your tax refund," I'd get whacked in the back of the head and be told, "WHY DO YOU EVEN GO TO SCHOOL FOR?"
#5 Mommy Issues
To put it simply, my niece’s mom is an absolute brat. My niece is eight years old and her mom has been in and out the entire time. My niece hasn’t seen her in over a year. She constantly looks forward to the next time she will see her even though her mom disappoints her every single time. So this past Mother’s Day, instead of being depressed about not seeing her mom, she and her friend (who I think also has mom issues) decided that each month they would pick a woman in their life to look up to. My niece has a ton of women in her life and it was just really amazing to see her begin to accept that she will never have a genuine relationship with her mother. She’s always been way too intelligent for her age.
#6 Sunscreen Police
I work as a waitress near the beach, and I always get a sunburn at the start of the season when I forget my sunscreen or something like it in the chaos of the shifts. This little girl comes up to me to tell me: "Miss, you are burning and you need to put on sunscreen." Then she handed me her 50-SPF kids' sunscreen. I don't know if her parents maybe said something to each other about me or she was just really bright and caring.
#7 Grumpy Old Man
I saw a kid, maybe five years old, walk into the grocery store saying in total seriousness: “Okay, so the deal is we’re just going to grab what we need and leave, right? Because I don’t want to be here longer than I have to.” His parents replied, “Yes, that’s right.” And he was like, “Okay good because I didn’t want to come shopping in the first place.” That child had the soul of a grumpy old man and I loved it.
#8 Grocery Limit
I have this conversation with my kid nearly every time we go to the grocery store. “How many things are on the list? 5? Okay, I’m holding you to that.” It’s been early March since either of us has been grocery shopping because I have an immunodeficiency. He may let me slide with a few extra items next time. For the moment, he has to make do with theatric sighs over how long it’s taking for me to put together the Instacart order.
#9 A Comforting Presence
I was roommates with my cousin when she was pregnant with her twins and just after they were born. When they were about two, I moved to another state and rarely saw them. When they came to my wedding four years ago, I hadn't seen either of them in five years and they were about eight or nine. Context is important because while I was there for some important parts of their life, we weren't close.
Just as the wedding march was going to start, I was sitting in the back on the stairs waiting for the prompt and everyone had taken their seats... except (let's call her) M. M is one of the prettiest little girl ever—she has this absolutely Disney Princess kind of temperament and she is just sweet and soft-spoken. Anyway, for whatever reason, she was the only person not seated and she was back there with me on the stairs. She then said:
"Wow. So, it's your wedding."
I was like, "Yeah, it sure is!"
She said, "Are you nervous?"
I was a little taken aback that not only did she even know what that meant but that she had the presence of mine to actually give a heck. Most kids don't really think about other people's feelings very much let alone something so abstract. So I told her "A little bit."
She then put her little hand on my shoulder, like she was an old wise woman, and said, "Just breathe." Then she took a deep breath and said "You're going to do great. You look beautiful." Then she got up and ran out of the room.
It almost felt like I dreamed the interaction it was so bizarre.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 Good Baby
My little nephew and niece were having a serious discussion about what should be done about “the baby,” this morning. My nephew wanted my niece to put the baby in her bed so that it could continue sleeping there. My niece argued instead that the baby was better off on the couch where both “parents” could keep an eye on it.
The baby was me. I crashed on the couch and they came downstairs very early in the morning and I guess they started playing pretend that I was their baby. They then tried to cram ice cream down my throat as I pretended to sleep, because I’d been a “good baby.”
#11 A Parent-Like Move
One of my pre-Kindergarten students, an awesome five-year-old boy, was sitting at a table with myself and a handful of other students. We were working on a project and a student's crayon rolled away towards the edge of the table. Without looking, this boy reached over to grab the crayon and put it back in front of the other student. It was a very parent-like move.
#12 A Good Run
There was a kid that memorized the alphabet backward. When he was two years old, as well as hundreds of dinosaur names and facts about them when he was four. He wouldn’t even talk to kids his age because they couldn’t have a proper chat. Other parents, teachers, and just people, in general, were shocked by this kid's intelligence. I was this kid. Then eventually, I became lazy and depressed.
#13 Little Protector
I have friends that are married with two kids. They both eat a lot of junk. By the age of four, the son knew it was bad to eat that much junk. He would find their unhealthy snacks and throw them away. As he got older, he realized that they could just take them out of the garbage. So he started crushing them and running them underwater before throwing them away. They would get annoyed but never mad at him. He would say, “I love you and I don’t want you to die!”
#14 Dealing With Trauma
My son Ethan. My wife’s mom passed when he was only a year old, but in the span of about four years, he lost the rest of his remaining grandparents. After my mom passed away, (his last remaining grandparent), I waited a few hours before I told my children. I’m sure that they knew because I was home and had not been home in three days, but I waited anyway.
A few hours later, I was walking by his room and could hear him crying, so I went in there to talk to him. I made sure that he understood that she wasn’t in pain anymore and that she wouldn’t suffer from cancer ever again. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said: “I know that, dad. It still hurts. It just feels like every time someone dies, a part of me is ripped away.” There’s nothing you can say to that.
#15 Fighting Tears
My grandmother practically raised my nephew. She was everything to him and he was everything to her. He loved her more than anything in the world. He was about 10 or 11 when she passed. We all knew this would be really hard for him since his parents weren’t the most reliable (they had him when they were young and didn’t really know how to be parents. Not that that is an excuse, but they wanted to still live their lives and basically just left him to live with her).
At her funeral, he got up and read a poem. Everyone expected he would break down and cry (understandably) but he didn’t. He read through the entire thing, fighting tears. I was so proud of him for getting up in front of all those people, some he didn’t even know, and getting through that.
#16 Understanding Pain
When my mom was dying, I was rushing around packing a bag to be at the hospital with her. My daughter caught on to my frantic energy and calmly helped me remember everything I needed. Then, when I was going to pick her up from my father-in-law's house, I got a call from the hospital that they were putting my mom on a vent. I got to the house and just sobbed at their kitchen table.
She sat across from me (she was nine at the time, 16 now) and calmly told me she loved me and that I would be okay. She hugged me. I was told that after I got myself together and left, she let herself have her own breakdown. I often tell myself that I don't deserve my daughter. I must have done some great in a past life to be blessed with a kid like her.
#17 Young Wisdom
My daughter shows so much maturity and wisdom that if it weren't for our age differences, she could be my best friend. Her brother is autistic. He can be a sarcastic prick to her. I'm aggressively trying to teach him respect towards her and others. She stands up for herself and yet, understands he can't always help it. She somehow gets that her brother is different from other boys.
More than once she has been my right-hand man, making dinner, assisting with housework, helping me with my mom, and general household management. She almost always cooperates and is unusually kind and caring.
I got pregnant with this girl during a really bad time and was not looking forward to her arrival, yet she has been the biggest blessing I could ever ask for. I'm not sure I deserve her.
#18 Sorry, Mom
I was the laziest babysitter for my two-year-old sister at the time. She would grab scissors, medicine bottles, or forks, then call me to look at her, saying: "Hey you! Look here! I'm grabbing something dangerous!" And I would go: "Good job baby, okay I'm watching TV." Then she will return the item with a disappointing look on her face and continue playing with her legos. Now she's five and she makes herself green tea every day. She drinks it while sitting on the bed and staring at the window... Sorry, mom.
#19 At Summer Camp
I work at summer camps. Last year, I had a group of 9-year-olds. One was on the spectrum and had gotten overstimulated while drawing, causing him to hit another camper. Another camper came to console the child who had gotten hit, explaining that the camper who hit them did not do so because he was a bad person or that they had done anything wrong.
In other words, children have exceptional empathy with regard to mental health and development. They just need some compassion and show these traits with utter humility.
#20 Meltdown Management
I volunteer in the mornings for a group of autistic kids to help with their fine motor skills. Sometimes, one of the kids will be having a meltdown first thing, usually because they didn’t want their parents to leave. One ten-year-old just casually got up and closed the door to the room that the rest of us were in. He'd announce, “Matthew is having a bad day today, we all have those.” Then he'd sit down, and everyone else would carry on with their tasks. Miss these kids.
#21 Growing Up Fast
One time at Target, I overheard a mother and her son speaking. She was asking if they could buy something, and this kid said, "No mom, we just cleaned the car, we don't need any more junk laying around." My mom said, "Please?" in a whiny voice, and he replied no again. I was pretty shocked by their conversation.
I remember there was more but clearly, she was the child in that relationship and the kid (who couldn't have been older than 10) was parenting her. At one point, I saw her speedwalk out of an aisle with something in her hands and a mischievous grin. To this day, I think about that kid and wonder how he's doing. They were clearly experiencing hard times and it breaks my heart that he had to be such a grown-up.
#22 Proud Best Friend
My best friend taking care of her family. Let me break it down: She cooks for basically everyone. She has two older sisters who are almost always at each other's throats. She tutors the middle sister daily. Her brother (who's the same age as her) just minds his own business. Her little brother is always fighting with someone and she has to mediate it.
She also tutors him. She lives with her grandparents and her grandfather is working all the time. Spare time is spent at church. Her grandmother has multiple health issues that limit her mobility, not to mention the multiple appointments she has to attend with the kids weekly, if not daily. My best friend basically runs her household all while maintaining straight A's her freshman year of high school and earning two varsity letters. I'm proud to call her my best friend.
#23 Value Of A Dollar
My son went to the store with my parents and saw a few toys he wanted. They said no. He was okay with that. The next day, he asked them if he could do work to earn money and they said yes. For a week, my son did work for my parents all day to earn money to buy a toy he wanted. He saved his money and when he went with them to the store, he brought his money.
Even though he wanted this big LEGO set, he saw a few smaller ones. It would be over his budget to buy both, so he ended up buying two small LEGO sets he really wanted. He then saved the rest until he could work off the difference to get the big one. He’s only six and understands the concept of money.
#24 Calm Diffuser
I don't know if he counts. He was 15 and was left in charge of her sister while their mother was working. The girl was riding her bike but somehow her foot got stuck in the chain and she was wearing strappy sandals. He reacted quickly, grabbing her and bringing her to the clinic I was working at. I've seen people in their 30s and 40s freeze in these situations, but he didn't.
#25 Existential Debates
I was supervising Scout Cubs (so like regular Scouts but for younger kids) at a sleepover event. As I was making food, I came out into the hall and they were all sitting at these long trestle tables with very passionate, serious faces. A debate had broken out. Dozens of six-year-old kids were going back and forth on religion, evolution, the meaning of life. I'd never seen kids that serious. I just went back to making food. I mean, what do you even say to that?! At least they weren't having a brawl I guess.
#26 Car Enthusiast
A couple of years ago, I was at the Barrett-Jackson car auction with my parents. While we were sitting down and watching the auction, we watched this small boy; couldn’t have been older than 8, by himself, walk over to the end of our row, sit down, pull out a pen and a notebook, put on his glasses, and begin to write down the make, model, and the sale price of each car that went through the auction. For like five hours. It was hilarious and adorable!
#27 House Cook
A kid in my year at school at 11 years old had to cook dinner for his younger siblings regularly, as his parents were either out of the house or they couldn't be bothered to do it. I was amazed at how he cooked for his entire family. Sadly, I found out later his parents were emotionally unavailable, so he had to 'grow' up quite quickly.
#28 Mom's Sidekick
I learned how to cook and do my own laundry around the age of 11. When your single mom doesn't make a lot of money as a teacher and tutors kids at night to make ends meet, you grow up pretty quickly. You can probably imagine why I have a real tough time asking for help with almost anything. I didn't mind though, I recognized my mother's struggle and it was just natural for me to step up to the plate.
#29 Playing It Off
My friend’s daughter, who was a year old or so, walked into something and tried to play it off. She kind of tumbled and got up to straighten up her hair while looking around to see if anyone had noticed. Then she walked away quickly. The whole thing happened in less than a minute. The kid had just started walking but was embarrassed that she walked into a wall. Most kids that age would have cried.
#30 The Phone Call
I had a student who was in foster care once. The last day she was in my class, she asked to spend lunch in my classroom. I agreed, she was being picked on a bit. She was being released into her grandmother’s custody the next day. She spent lunch on the phone with her mother, explaining that if her mother tried to move back in with her grandmother, CPS would take her away again. It was the saddest phone conversation I ever overheard.
#31 Good Sportsman
The kids were playing touch football at recess. Carter was by far the best player and the only one who knew all the actual rules for football. Another kid touched him as he was running to make a touchdown. No one else saw it (except me, but they didn't know I was watching). Carter stopped, announced that he was touched, congratulated the kid who caught up with him, and told his team: "Watch out for him. He's really good. You guys are too, but he's having a good game today!"
#32 Don't Mess With Samantha
I asked my class a question. Hands shot up in the air. I called on Samantha. Another kid yelled out the answer as she took a breath to answer. The look she gave that other kid was the most disgusted, how dare you, and "can you believe the nerve of that kid" look I have ever seen. It was hilarious. Don’t mess with Samantha.
#33 The Little Poet
When my daughter was eight years old, she got up and read a poem she'd written for my best friend's sister who had died from breast cancer. She held it together so well and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. She gifted her copy of the poem to my friend's mom. She still has that poem 18 years later. She was always trying to gift little pieces of art she made.
#34 Kissing The Girl
It was at my mom's friend's wedding I believe. I was 4 years old and there was another girl my age. I’m not sure how it happened because when my dad told me this story he was scant on the details (this happened a long time ago), but I kissed her. I stole the show at the wedding and her dad almost got into a fight with my dad over it. Keep in mind, I was 4 years old at the time (just in case you misread that).
#35 Finance Enthusiast
My brother met with stockbrokers at age 12 to start his investments. He wasn't pushed or anything, just really enjoyed finance. He had been following the markets for a while and decided he had enough savings to start investing. You know, I'm not really surprised he turned out Republican. To be honest, I don't even know if that whole shebang was legal.
#36 Growing Boys
I know these twin boys who are now in the eighth grade but I met them when they were in kindergarten. They would act like adults constantly and they were pretty good at it. They would give big speeches to everyone saying stuff like: “We are all going to do inside now. Remember to take off your boots when you get inside. Pick up all your toys and follow us.” What kind of six-year-old does that? They are so cute so nobody minds it, but it’s starting to become annoying and as they grow up and the cuteness wears off.
#37 The Generous Kid
Backstory: my dad is a truck driver and he runs up and down the eastern half of the United States. One day, when my father was stopped at a large truck stop (usually full of people, over 200 people in there at one time), he saw an elderly couple preparing to head inside. Before they could leave their car, a 10-year-old boy went up to the car and offered to go inside to order for them. He took notes on a notepad and headed inside, then about 10 minutes later, he came back out, giving the couple their food and money back, due to the fact he used his own. My dad has told this story countless times to family and friends since it happened.
#38 The Economy Cop-Out
I remember one time visiting a friend's house once. They had their six-year-old son hanging around but he had a glum look on his face. So I asked him, "What's wrong?" and he sighed, "The economy. It's not doing great." Turns out, whenever he asked his parents for a new toy or something, they'd say: "Sorry son, the economy's not doing great. We can't afford it."
#39 That's A Good Question
When my middle son was in kindergarten, Fireman Bruce visited his class. When it came time for questions, my son asked the fireman: "What if the fire can't be put out with a fire extinguisher?" Both the fireman and the teacher were floored by the question. His teacher said she had never thought of that. They were astonished that a 5-year-old would even think that water or a fire extinguisher wouldn't always put out a fire.
#40 Better Brother
When I was 4 years old, I started going into anaphylactic shock from eating something I was allergic to. We were walking outside, but I was drooling and spitting and slowing down. My dad was with us at the time, but he’s never taken my allergies seriously and continued walking. He didn’t even notice I was lagging behind.
My brother, 8 years old at the time, was the one who noticed. He convinced my dad (yes, he had to convince him) to get us back to grab the EpiPen (which my dad purposefully left behind to prove a point to my mom). An eight-year-old kid looked out for me better than a full-grown adult could.
#41 Paying The Bills
Funny story. My parents weren't financially responsible people. So once I got a job, I started paying the power bill when they weren't looking (they were too proud to let me). I found out a few months later my little brother, who was 13, had been paying water bills the same way. I don't think my parents ever noticed, or at least ever bothered to find out why their utilities weren't being shut off. But remembering my little brother going to school, then working, and all his money going toward that one bill. It made me want better for my own kids.
#42 Adult-Like Manners
I was in my local corner shop buying some snacks. Two middle-aged women walked in with a young child, probably eight years old. The two women were in a full-on argument, screaming at each other in the middle of this small shop. I just ignored them and went about my business. After a minute or two, the young girl said, "Mom, be quiet! You're embarrassing yourself!" When your eight-year-old daughter has more comment sense and better manners than you, you know you've gone very wrong somewhere in your life.
#43 Space Balls Fan
I watch my favorite "classics" with my kids. When my oldest was like 8, her favorite was Space Balls. Good kid. One day, I asked her to retrieve the tennis equipment from the basement, and she took it upon herself to get ALL of it in one go rather than make two trips. She came up the stairs with two duffel bags in each hand and a tennis racket held in her teeth by the shoulder strap. She walked into view, dropped them all at once, and said "Her Royal Highness' matched luggage!" just like Barf did in the movie.
#44 Nephew Drama
Two of my little nephews were fighting over a toy, then one of my cousins who were about the same age as the other two put his hand in his hips and scolded one of the boys: "Hey! You have to share your toys!" It was so adorable, I wish I'd recorded it. I decided to intervene because some of my nephew's cousins were about to do something to my nephew who refused to share the toy (those kids were at least twice as old as my nephews).
#45 Refusing Candy
Back when I worked in a convenience store, I remember this man walking in with his four-year-old son. The guy grabbed some stuff he needed (probably for supper) and then asked his son: "Do you want some candies or a chocolate bar? You can have anything!" To both our surprise, he said no. When the dad asked why he simply replied, ''Because it's not good for my health!'' He grabbed a banana instead.
A seven-year-old took care of his own T1 diabetes without help from his parents. His parents had immigrated from a developing country and had little education, so they didn't speak English nor did they understand how to count carbs, etc. His teachers, doctors, nurses gave him tons of support, and he managed his condition by himself.
#47 Not A Baby, Baby
We were at a family-oriented music festival and there was this naked two-year-old running around. My wife exclaimed "Oh my! naked baby! The two-year-old turned around and with a distinguished tone proclaimed, "Excuse me, I'm not a baby! Clearly this was a baby, acting like a baby, but not realizing it. It blew our minds.
#48 Emotionally Aware
My five-year-old daughter was mad at us and went to her room. A short while later, my wife went to check on her and she was crying. My wife asked why and she said she was sad because she was mad at us and didn't want to be. I know many adults with less emotional awareness. It was also interesting to hear her talk so in-depth about her feelings at such a young age.
#49 Wealth Of Knowledge
My five-year-old grandson was telling me about generators in relation to solar energy storage. I honestly don't even remember the conversation so much as being enthralled with his knowledge and reasoning abilities. The kid has blown my mind since his eye locked with his daddy's at only hours old like he was seeing an old friend for the first time in ages.
#50 No Upbringing
I don't know if this counts but it is a personal one. At fifteen, I was paying for a room to rent in a random's house whilst trying to finish school. Very few people would recognize how hard that was and there was a ton of bias about it. Some kids just don't have parents and it doesn't matter how well you behave. You are still on your own. I am more childish as an adult than I was as an actual child. It is so sad to look back on.