I like to think I am a brave parent, right up until the moment I actually have to be brave.

I talk a good game, know most of the buzz words and occasionally act like I have a few things figured out. All of this works pretty well right up until the moment I actually have to parent my kids. Case in point, the lock in.

Recently, my church held a lock in (or all nighter) that my oldest daughter wanted to go to. It was progressive, meaning they started at a bowling alley and then worked their way across the city from one fun event to another from 7PM until 7AM. My wife was all for it and I thought I would be too.

As a kid, I loved lock ins. As a parent, I knew the importance of giving my daughter freedom to do things like this with her friends. But I was still nervous. Widening the circle of relationships, influences and experiences is fun to talk about but hard to actually do.

It wasn’t necessarily that I feared my daughter’s safety, but I felt like we were sending her out into the unknown. At one point, I even talked about having my wife go as a chaperone. Fortunately, Jenny talked me out of this. But, the truth is, as you try to widen the circle with your kids, you might experience a surprising amount of self resistance. How do you combat it? Here are three ways:

1. Remember why you are doing it.

Fear likes to focus on the negative, instead, remember the positive impact widening the circle can have for your kids.

2. Be honest about it.

Telling Jenny my concerns, even though they were completely unfounded, helped me deal with them.

3. Expect it.

Don’t get surprised by your concern, anticipate it and plan for it.

The lock in proved to be a huge success in the end. My church did an amazing job and L.E. got to do a month’s worth of fun things in one night with her small group. The circle got wider and maybe this dad even got a little braver letting his oldest daughter grow up a little bit.

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