Parents can gain insight into their sons' behavior

Dan Bush has a few ideas about how to raise teenage boys.

For the past six years, Fowler Middle School’s principal has taught parenting classes in Newberg and Sherwood, and last year brought his parenting classes to Tigard.

“I think there are some parents who are pulling out their hair wondering, ‘What do I do?’” Bush said.

Bush’s workshop is designed to help parents better understand their 8- to 18-year-old boys and learn how they can better help their children navigate school and life situations.

“As associate principal (in Newberg), I dealt a lot with discipline, and I used to joke that my clients are boys,” said Bush, who was named principal at Fowler a year ago. “And on top of that, I saw a lot of other boys quit trying. There was a lot of apathy from boys in the classroom, even ones who had strong academic skills — you were just not able to light a fire under them.”

Bush’s classes have grown from 50 to 60 people in 2008 to more than 150 participants.

“There is obviously a need for this,” Bush said.

Bush has spent several years researching about adolescence, particularly in boys.

Brains develop differently in boys and girls, Bush said. Teaching parents about what is going on in their sons’ minds, chemically and biologically, can help them to understand where their children are coming from.

“People joke about it, but it’s true that the male brain doesn’t multi-task as well,” he said. “It’s biological.”

The free classes also give parenting tips on how to avoid enabling their sons.

“Parents often think enablement is ignoring bad behavior, but it’s also when we take on responsibilities that aren’t ours,” he said. “We want to get them to own their own decisions.”

The first parenting class will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Grace Point Community Church, 11705 S.W. Gaarde St., with additional classes offered March 4, 11 and 18.

To register, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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