rebelling against low expectations

3 Ways to Break Free from the “Teenager Mold”


I’m a teenager. And I love the new journeys and responsibilities that accompany being a teen like getting a job, learning to drive, and being trusted with important tasks.

But what I find frustrating is the “teenager mold” our society has created.

Until we turn twenty, most adults’ expectations of us are so low, it’s depressing. They assume all of us between thirteen and nineteen are just selfie-taking, entitled, rebellious, shallow, self-centered young adults. But why are the expectations for us so low? What if teens become like that because of the expectations placed on them? Why isn’t there a higher standard for us?

Aren’t we capable of so much more?

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when these low expectations are placed on me just because of my age. I want to be so much more than our world expects. I want to live like a daughter of the King to His glory. I want to break free from the mold, and I hope you do too.

But how do we do this? How do we use our teen years for Christ instead of for ourselves? How do we take time to see others and their needs? How do we serve others even when we don’t feel like it? How do we become examples for other believers?

Here are three ways we can break the mold society has placed on teens today:

1. Be Humble

Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

We love to talk about ourselves. We love to share our stories, discuss our new clothes or new cars, or even what we had for lunch. I admit, I do it, too. In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to talk about themselves. It’s our favorite topic of conversation.

But wouldn’t it shake things up a bit if we started to ask our friends, siblings, or coworkers about their day? Asked them questions about their interests? I can guarantee they will notice a difference in you and feel seen and loved.

In Philippians 2:3, Paul talks about having the humility to count others as more significant than ourselves. What does this look like in our daily lives? It can be simple acts of service like holding a door for someone, asking if they need help with anything, or following up on something like, “How was your game on Thursday?”

The key is being humble and putting others’ needs above your own.

2. Love Others Well

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

What would the world look like if everyone followed the example of this verse? The Bible talks a lot about love. First Corinthians 13 tells us what love is and what it isn’t. I encourage you to spend some time in this amazing chapter.

But one of my favorite verses about love is John 13:35 which says, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What would it look like if we went out of our way to love others? What does it look like to honor someone? Honoring someone could look like refusing to partake in gossip about them. Going out of your way to love others could look like being their shoulder to cry on or helping them with a hard task.

How much would our world change if we all loved others well?

3. Set the Believers an Example

First Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Sometimes, we might think we are too young to make a difference. But 1 Timothy 4:12 commissions us to set an example for the believers in what we say, how we live, in our love, in our faith, and in our purity. Share on X

Sometimes, we might think we are too young to make a difference. But this verse commissions us to set an example for the believers in what we say, how we live, in our love, in our faith, and in our purity.

We can be good examples by keeping our heads up and our eyes open to see the needs of those around us. We can be good examples by being kind to a difficult person. We can be good examples by serving in Sunday school at church or helping stack chairs at youth group.

We should always be looking for ways to serve and bless others.

Break the Mold

If, like me, you are tired of the low expectations placed on teenagers, let me encourage you, you don’t have to sink to that level. You can rise above and break the mold.

Let’s use our teen years for Christ instead of wasting them on ourselves! God is calling us to a purpose far greater and bigger than ourselves. We need God’s help with this. We can’t go against the flow on our own.

So how should we live? Live like you are a son or daughter of the King. He is faithful and He has plans for you! Friend, it starts with us. Live as a light and an example of Christ in this lost world. We can say no to the status quo because by the grace of God, He has made us new!

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About the author

Emma Kate Hagg

is a 15-year-old who was born and raised in Texas. She is homeschooled and loves being a part of a small church plant and youth group. She enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, reading, and listening to all kinds of music. She loves to encourage others and point them back to the Bible.


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  • Emma, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful message!! You’ve put it into words so well and it has been a great reminder and a real encouragement to me!

    Looking forward to reading more of your articles on here 🙂 God bless you!!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →