I am going to try to be concise with this, I tend to ramble sometimes about this subject. I have three teenagers and two small children who are 4 and 7 months. The teens are 16, 13, and 12 ( I guess 12 is preteen, but she acts like a teen). I have struggled for several years with my older kids about the issue of chores. In my conversations with other moms of teens, this seems to be a normal problematic area. As these older three kids have grown, I have become increasingly resentful of this feeling that I am treated as their "servant mother." I ceased full-time work outside of the home when my infant was born and became a SAHM, and I feel this has worsened the problem.
The greatest area of difficulty is with my 16 year old, so I will focus on that. Let me also add that my older three are from my first marriage, younger two from my second marriage, I have zero help from oldest three's dad, so I am parenting them with my current husband, their stepfather. Basically, my 16 year old does nothing to contribute to our home. He refuses to do chores, clean his room, or even clean up after himself once he is done eating. If he does do something (rare) he half-a**es it. Like, taking out the garbage and failing to replace the liner or wipe out the can if something spilled in it. I am becoming more and more angry about the fact that I am treated as if it's my job to constantly serve and do things for him (hand him an allowance, drive him to and fro to activities, pay for those activities, etc.,) while he does not do anything to help out in our home. We've been arguing almost daily.
In the summer, we allowed him to get a learner's permit, and in our state you are required to keep that for six months before testing for a driver's license. We allowed him to drive many, many hours instructing him, and spelled out clearly what was expected before getting his license. We said that A. He needed to find a job quickly and save six months insurance premium (total $240) before getting licensed. B. Once a licensed, employed driver, he would need to take on the responsibility of his own continued insurance cost, gas money (beyond going to school and back) and spending. His $50 monthly fun money would stop. We will continue to buy all his clothes, food, and needs, but expenses associated with driving would need to be paid by him, as would dating costs and the things that come along with that.
Well, that was six months ago and he has not found a job nor put much effort into doing so. He has turned in possibly ten applications, if that many. He spends most of his time "hanging" with his girlfriend either at our house or hers. He recently told me he is getting his bio dad to pay for the six months insurance. I replied "well, you still need a job for the ongoing expenses of driving." He got furious with me, saying he has turned in applications, it's not his fault no one has called. We are now not speaking. When he starts to raise his voice and argue with me, I shut down and refuse to continue the conversation. It is frustrating because though I have a sounding board with my current husband, he does not directly parent the older three with me, it is like I am a single mom. He just gives his opinion, but does not assert direct authority over the kids.
My other area of great frustration is that I cook a dinner meal from scratch nearly every day and no one helps me with kitchen clean-up when asked. My husband works full-time and is a student full-time at night at the university, so I after I cook, drive kids to and from activities, it is time for me to bathe the little ones and put them to bed, and none of my older kids will put away the food and or rinse dishes or wipe counters or anything. I have tried various systems of consequences and rewards but nothing sticks. I mostly expect my 16 year old to do most of this job because he has no after school activities right now and does NOTHING, where my girls help with little kids and at least keep up their own rooms and such. I am considering not cooking anymore. I feel resentful, taken for granted, frustrated and overwhelmed. If anyone has insight for me at all, is dealing with teenagers or has in the past, please give me your thoughts or ideas that might improve this in some way. Thanks in advance.