When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents, By Mark A. Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets
When Children Come Out
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: December 13, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0008
  • ISBN: 9781514000083

*affiliate partner

If you are a parent wrestling with God, you are not alone.

When a child comes out as LGBTQ+, Christian parents often find themselves navigating unfamiliar, unsettling terrain. Mark Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets, therapists and researchers with decades of experience, have written this book to provide perspective, insight, and the chance to learn from others who've shared a similar journey. Using data from studies of Christian parents of LGBTQ+ children, they deliver research-based insights and faithful wisdom that is accessible for parents, their friends, and church leaders.

Yarhouse and Zaporozhets reframe the focus away from "culture war" questions that are not helpful to families in favor of practical counsel for maintaining and deepening relationships. Parents and the church leaders who care for them will benefit from understanding key developmental considerations among teenagers and emerging adults who are navigating questions around sexual and gender identity and faith.

Identifying common patterns while acknowledging the uniqueness of each family, here is a book to guide parents in processing their own experiences, beliefs, and relationship with God. They will also discover techniques to reduce fear-based parenting choices and to express love, as the parent-child relationship continues to change and grow over time.

Filled with stories, hard-won advice from Christian parents, and questions for reflection, When Children Come Out is an essential and hopeful resource.

"I have often wished that I could clone this team for thousands of parents. They arrive in therapy or Christian ministry disoriented and distressed about their children coming out. This book is a grounded, fact-based resource that is also full of personal stories, bringing hope to these families in a personal and relatable way. Some of the research may be difficult to hear, but it offers a realistic view of the path ahead. Yarhouse and Zaporozhets have shared their valuable experience for families who have landed in the middle of a culture war. It is a guide to loving their children well in this circumstance."

Jennifer Ripley, Hughes Endowed Chair of Christian Integration at Regent University

"This is the very book I've wished I had on my bookshelf every time a Christian parent reaches out to me after their child comes out to them. In these pages, they hear their own story—what has been, what is, and what might yet unfold—and they see that they are neither alone nor way off mark in walking this journey with their child, with God, and with their church. Yarhouse and Zaporozhets provide grounding, empathy, and hope for parents as well as insight and direction for pastors and churches who want to minister to them."

Janet B. Dean, psychologist and professor of pastoral counselor education at Asbury Theological Seminary

"When Children Come Out is an essential read for conservative Christian parents who have discovered their child is LGBTQ+. Mark Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets have done an extraordinary job in marrying statistical data with real-life stories. This book lays the framework that helps parents become educated on the topic and provides applications that will bring hope and healing to hurting families. We wish this book had been available to us when we found out our son is gay. This book will indeed save lives."

Greg and Lynn McDonald, cofounders of Embracing the Journey

"This much-needed research is a gift not only to Christian parents of LGBTQ+ kids but also to the communities that love them. In these pages, Christian parents can learn from others with similar experiences and be reminded that they're not alone, and supportive communities can gain insight into the likely milestones of these parents' journeys. As an LGBTQ+ kid who loves my own Christian parents (and many others as well), I'm thrilled to see this book out in the world."

Gregory Coles, author of Single, Gay Christian and No Longer Strangers

"Yarhouse and Zaporozhets helpfully illumine the complex realities Christian parents face when journeying with their children who identify as LGBTQ+. Drawing from decades of research and the extensive experiences of other parents who have already taken this road, this book offers wise guidance for both Christian parents and churches. In particular, it offers a map of what to expect along the pilgrimage and advice for loving conversations in pursuit of redemptive, Christlike relationships along the way."

Perry Glanzer, professor of educational foundations at Baylor University

Read an Excerpt


What This Book Is About and Why It Matters, or Who We Are and How to Read This Book

1. How Parents Become Aware
2. How Parents Seek Help
3. How Parents Maintain the Relationship
4. How the Parent-Child Relationship Changes
5. How Faith Changes
6. How Parents Come to Terms with Reality
7. How the Church Can Help

Sidebar Notes


You May Also Like

Mark A. Yarhouse

Mark A. Yarhouse (PsyD, Wheaton College) is the Dr. Arthur P. Rech & Mrs. Jean May Rech Endowed Chair and professor of psychology at Wheaton College, where he directs the Sexual and Gender Identity (SGI) Institute. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and author or coauthor of several books, including Understanding Gender Dysphoria, Modern Psychopathologies, Understanding Sexual Identity, and Family Therapies.

Olya Zaporozhets (PhD, University of Toledo) is an associate professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University. Dr. Zaporozhets is coauthor (with Mark Yarhouse) of Costly Obedience: What We Can Learn from the Celibate Gay Christian Community. She has diverse clinical experiences and has trained Christian leaders in mental health counseling in Europe and Asia.