USMLE Answer 12

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12. The correct answer is B. This statement from the father would reflect his understanding of the egocentric nature of school-aged children. That is, the child is assuming that he is responsible for the divorce between his parents. The anger and withdrawal reflect the child’s frustration with the situation, but the tears and apology suggest the child’s fear and assumed responsibility for the breakup.

“Big boys don’t cry” (choice A) is a demeaning and belittling statement.

“I’ll see you in 2 weeks”(choice C) ignores the child’s felt responsibility for the divorce.

“You’re the man of the house now” (choice D) places too much responsibility on a 7-year-old child.

“Your mother was too hard to live with” (choice E) places all the blame and responsibility for the divorce on the parent, with whom the boy lives on a daily basis. It ignores the reality that divorce is usually due to difficulties that both parents have with each other.