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New Perspectives - Feb, 2000 Issue #66 

 Because I Love You (Bily)
By Edwin L. Watanabe
McKinney, Texas

“As members of Because I Love You, it is our mission to provide support, to listen and to help you in times of crisis. We will not search for fault, blame or guilt. We will not tell you what to do but will share ideas from our own personal experiences. We will provide encouragement so you can face some tough decisions when you are ready. It is our commitment to support you in any way that we can.”

Several years ago, the Dallas and Richardson, Texas “Because I Love You” groups were affiliated with Toughlove. Over the years, Toughlove changed its policies and began charging a mandatory $5.00 per person per meeting. Success with a support group often requires attending meetings for several months. When two of the largest Toughlove groups had several single mothers unable to afford the weekly $5.00 charge, our groups decided to search for non-profit support organizations with no financial difficulties. Our prayers were answered when we found “Because I Love You,” founded by Dennis Pouncher.

BILY charges neither membership fees, nor admission fees; everyone volunteers their time. Groups include new members in major crisis, members slowly making progress with their crisis and members no longer in crisis, who wish to “give back” to the group. Those experienced parents sharing from their own crisis and helping new parents are the glue that keeps it together.

As families discuss every conceivable crisis: runaways, teenage drinking, drugs, pregnancies, truancies, gangs, to name a few, the new members realize they are not alone, in fact other families may have problems even worse than theirs. They are not bad parents, but floundering in tough decisions, trying to make the right one.

Though dialogue and conversation, parents in crisis are helped to realize that their feelings of blame and guilt will only keep them stuck in their crisis, and by releasing those feelings they can begin to gain confidence and hope. Changing their attitudes about their crisis can help them begin to make small steps towards success.

Parent groups help teach how you can love your child yet still exercise discipline, allowing your child to face natural consequences. If sending a child to a rehab facility or special school is necessary, over the course of working our program for several weeks, most parents are prepared to make these difficult decisions. We help parents research facilities, coordinate transportation and support the parents during the entire crisis.

Parents continue to attend our meetings while their child is in rehab. They plan for the “return home phase” which is equally important for the child’s success. Many times one or two other parents will become a “mentor” for a child before, during and after returning home, to help prevent mom and dad from being manipulated and to help keep the child on track during recovery.

As the name of our organization says...we do what we do as parents “because we love you.” Sometimes parents forget that discipline IS love. Locations of local chapters are available on our website. If no group is unavailable in your area, we are always looking for people to start their own BILY group. Many families have been helped by these groups; we’d like to help more. - Ed

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