132: Risk-Taking Boys with Mom Judi Ketteler

Would you let your 10-year-old son hang out with a bunch of teenagers you haven’t met? Would you let him attempt a double or triple flip in the trampoline in the backyard – or manage his own Instagram account? Writer and mom Judi Ketteler has.

In a society that spends so much time telling boys to sit down and shut up, Judi has found a way to facilitate her son’s interests and personal growth, even though her son’s preferred sport, Gtramp, is risky and unregulated.  She’s found ways to say yes, rather than no, and her son is thriving as a result.

If you’re not familiar with Gtramp, your son might be. Backyard “flippers” are extremely popular on YouTube and Instagram, particularly among tween boys. They’ve created a whole subculture, which Judi documented for the New York Times and explores with her son Maxx.

Judi Ketteler w her husband, son Maxx & daughter Georgia

Judi describes the experience of watching her son try new tricks on the trampoline as a “balance of absolute terror with absolute awe” – which, when you think about it, is also a pretty good description of parenting.

In this episode, Jen & Judi discuss:

  • Balancing safety concerns against the risk of inhibiting our boys’ motivation
  • Making space for your kids to pursue their passions
  • The sport of GTramp
  • How kids can use YouTube to teach themselves the things they want to learn
  • Learning to trust your son’s judgement
  • The power of peer influence
  • Helping tweens navigate social media
  • “Digital training wheels”
  • How self-directed learning helps kids find community
  • Dealing with judgmental parents
Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 132:

Kaboom! Cody! Rudi! Young Flippers Embrace Gtramp, a New Sport for the Instagram Set — Judi’s NYT article about Gramp

When is a Child Instagram-Ready?  — Judi’s NYT article about helping her son join Instagram

@maxx_flippz — Maxx on Instagram

Maxx on his bike

judiketteler.com — Judi’s website