cover image When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents

When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents

Mark A. Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets. IVP Academic, $20 (200p) ISBN 978-1-5140-0008-3

Psychology professors Yarhouse and Zaporozhets (Costly Obedience) deliver a pragmatic guide for Christian parents of queer children. Drawing on surveys and interviews with Christian parents, the authors offer encouragement and perspective for parents navigating their faith and their relationship with their LGBTQ child. The authors report a study that found that though the parent-child relationship is often tense immediately after disclosure, many relationships improve over time. Yarhouse and Zaporozhets recommend that parents suspend judgment, writing that “it is important that doctrine not overshadow relationships.” Cautioning that faith communities often fail to provide support for families wrestling with theology after a child comes out, the authors warn parents to “demonstrate prudence in whom they talk to about their child’s sexuality.” Yarhouse and Zaporozhets share how parents they interviewed reconciled their faith with their child’s coming out, noting that one mother found peace after realizing that God wanted “a gay son to be part of my story.” The emphasis on fostering parent-child relationships rather than rehashing theological debates is refreshing, and the authors succeed in taking seriously the inner conflict parents may face as they revise their faith while insisting on the need to affirm a child’s sexual or gender identity. Parents will be grateful for the compassion on offer. (Dec.)