Dear Amy:

My husband wants to buy his daughter a car and pay for the monthly insurance. She is a 21-year-old college student and does well in school.

We bought her a car in 2007, and she had so many minor accidents that the insurance tripled.

We took the car away from her and agreed that we would not buy her another. Since then, my husband talked his father into giving her $1,000, and then he gave her $1,000.

His ex-wife then took all of the money out of the daughter's account and bought her a car. This car was totaled in an accident - my stepdaughter rear-ended another car.

I have told my husband that I will not pay for a car or insurance on my stepdaughter. (I am the primary breadwinner and currently pay the car insurance.) I think my husband should buy his daughter something she could actually use - like some driver's education classes or a driver's safety course.

He thinks I am being unreasonable and mean.

I think he's teaching her how to be a spoiled brat. It is clear to me that she doesn't give a hoot about things someone else bought her.

- Step-Monster

Dear Monster: Your arguments about your stepdaughter's values are completely logical.

It is completely reasonable to ask your stepdaughter to successfully complete a safety course before getting behind the wheel again. But this isn't just about your stepdaughter's driving, of course. This is about power, control, money, and parenting.

Rather than putting your foot down and harshly judging your husband and stepdaughter - while he disrespects you by sneaking around you - you should sit down together and talk about the big picture. This issue will resonate in various ways for years to come.

You can negotiate this and other relationship issues with the help of a counselor.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com.