Pseudoscience

Daddy, I Think I’m Drunk

My 10 year old son was staggering around. He was babbling like an idiot (not unusual, but this was way more than normal). He was slurring his speech. If I didn’t know better I’d swear he was drunk. He wasn’t; I knew better. He, however, did not.

He’d been given a glass of a light, golden liquid to drink by his step-brother. The bottle it came from look for all the world like a wine bottle, sans a label. I’d been summoned by my daughter because my son, so she said, was drunk.

I knew there wasn’t any wine, or other alcohol, in the house, so I suspected foul play. Sure enough, his sister and step-brother were laughing conspiratorially when I walked into the kitchen.

I pulled my step-son aside and asked him what was going on. He said that he had taken the label off the sparkling grape juice bottle and gave it to my son and told him that it was wine.

It took me a few minutes to convince my son that he was not actually drunk. I told the other two kids not to play tricks on him again like that. My son has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is easily taken in. I told them that it was unfair to do that to him.

It was an interesting thing to watch. The power of suggestion is, well, powerful. Granted, my son is more easily swayed that most, but the ability to believe something just because we are told it is so is something any of us can experience.

This is why we should question everything. This is what I’ve always taught my kids to do. Obviously, my son isn’t too good at it, but after this particular experience, plus a few others that got him into real trouble, he’s gotten better at it. His sister is almost a pro.

I explained to my kids that in situations like this, and, in fact, in almost any situation where they are not sure about something, they should ask questions to find out what is really going on.

In this case, my son could have asked himself if the stuff in the glass he was offered smelt like something he had smelt before. Since he’d had grape juice plenty of times before, the smell might have tipped him off. He could have done the same thing when tasting it. Of course, he could have just come and gotten me.

Teaching kids to think rationally isn’t always easy, but kids are really good at asking questions and that’s something that should always be encouraged.

Featured image by dalem

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Jay

Jay

Jay is a dad, husband, and pet lover. He has a degree in Theater Arts and works as a Unix systems administrator, mainly because he has a degree in Theater Arts. He used to be a single dad, but now he is married to the perfect woman. He has two teenagers, a daughter, and a step-son. He also has an adult son. He shares his home with his wife, kids, an Australian Shepherd, and a bevy of adorable chihuahuas. He is a skeptic and humanist and tries to contribute to spreading rationality by writing about skeptical topics. You can find samples of his writing on his personal blog at Freethinking For Dummies, the JREF blog, and in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

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