Never Say No by Mark and Jan Foreman

How did Mark and Jan Foreman raise their sons (Jon and Tim Foreman of the band Switchfoot) to be successful yet grounded in a media-saturated world? In Never Say No, Mark and Jan hope to inspire readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

{More about Never Say No}

Never Say No (David C. Cook, May 2015)

The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.

This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Mark and Jan Foreman

{More About Mark and Jan Foreman}

Jan and Mark Foreman live in the San Diego area, where Mark is lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel. Mark is the author of Wholly Jesus, and holds advanced degrees in Theology, Education and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Pastoral Care. Jan is a gifted teacher, artist, and she also facilitates partnerships with underprivileged women and children both locally and in developing countries. Together they love surfing, sailing, travel and especially being with their family.

Find out more about Mark and Jan at



    When I first got this book I was a bit skeptical about it as never saying no is not something you would think is a good idea in a parenting book and yet when I got the book and began reading it I found it to be a very insightful, wonderful book and loved how it focused on teaching ones children to live beyond themselves which is exactly what the Foreman’s appeared to have done. I really enjoyed this book and feel like it would make a great addition to anyone collection. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Written by Perfect Beginnings on June 1, 2015


    I’ve read a lot of parenting books, but I think what I like most about this book is what its tagline proclaims, it’s about “raising big-picture kids.” And that’s exactly the kind of book it is. This isn’t a nitty-gritty how-to-parent book, it’s a big-picture look at parenting, and about raising children who love the Lord and who are fully living out who God created them to be.

    Written by Nicole V. Bennett on June 1, 2015 


    Another thing the author addresses is TIME. Time spent with your kids is showing how much you love them and want to take care of them. Both the authors believed that if they invested their time heavily in their children it would benefit them in the long run. I truly believe that!

    Since I work full time outside the home, I spend the majority of my evenings and weekends doing things for my kids and with my kids. We do workbooks, exercising, crafts, going to the library, going to the park, etc. Yes after a long week at work I would rather stay home and do chores and relax, but spending time with my children and enjoying my time with them is how I show them that I love them.

    Written by EmpowerMoms on May 31, 2015
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    Never say no?! WHAT!!!!

    Well, this book isn’t saying to let your little darlings run wild and become spoiled brats that no one wants to spend time around!

    Instead it’s full of ideas to help you evaluate your parenting and be intentional.

    It reminds us that God is our Father and he parents us with grace. We should in turn offer that grace to your children.

    The book is not heavy or hard to read and at the end of each chapter includes questions to help you consider what you just read and to evaluate areas in your parenting.

    I am enjoying it and if you’re a parenting book junkie like I am, I’m sure you will too.

    Written by A Dusty Frame on May 31, 2015


    It’s more making your child feel loved and accepted by acknowledging what they want and how they feel and saying yes to the fun things. Make those memories. They’re not going to look back and say gee I wish my parents would have told me no that they wouldn’t play trucks with me or no we couldn’t do this fun thing. But if you tell them no, they will eventually stop asking. And that will damage your relationship.

    Never Say No is a powerful book about how to cultivate a loving relationship with your children both for now and for the future. It doesn’t mean always doing what your child wants. It doesn’t mean you can’t say no, but it does mean thinking and listening. I think this is a good book for all parents to read and should be something given to new parents.

    Written by For Him and My Family on May 29, 2015


    This is an awesome book that’s full of ideas that could change our relationships with everybody, not just our children. But if you have children, so yourself a favor and try this book. It does not set itself up to be an owner’s manual, an instruction book, or a recipe. After all, we are dealing with human beings- not rifles, engines, or collie dogs.

    There are so many things to consider as you read this book, little things that you can integrate into your days. They discuss all the usual stuff- praise, boundaries, discipline, confidence, responsibility, goals, dreams- but they set each topic in the context of relationship, and that’s what makes this book valuable.

    Written by Found a Christian by His Grace on May 29, 2015
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    This book was a parenting manual of sorts for me! I really enjoyed hearing their stories and seeing how normal my feelings are as a new parent. It was funny, relateable, and full of information to create a good foundation with Christ as the focal point in your family. It is an easy read with guided questions at the end of each section! Great tool for parents of all types!

    Written by Finding My Yellow on May 29, 2015


    It is hard work raising a child. And, as a parent, you will find yourself asking yourself time and again if you are doing things right…I sure do! But, then I remind myself that we are not perfect and that with the help of God, we will be able to guide our children to becoming the best they can be. No one is perfect, so we shouldn’t be expecting the world from our children either. This book opened my eyes to parenthood and provided relief when I read about how the two authors also struggled with parenting their two sons.

    The title itself, Never Say No is just how Jan and Mark Foreman have chosen to raise their boys. They call their parenting style transparenting, as if you are thinking they are crazy for never saying, “no,” to their boys, you will see why it really is the perfect

    Written by Inspired by Savannah on May 28, 2015


    What if someone told you their secret to parenting was so radical that it just might work? What if this someone happened to be the parents of two amazing adults … two adults who declare that this secret works and it works well? Three weeks ago I had never heard of Mark & Jan Foreman … but I did know their sons, Tim and Jon who are members of the band Switchfoot. Behind the success of Switchfoot is two parents who said yes to raising two of God’s ingenious creations.

    This is one of those “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” books. This is not about free-range kids, no rules, no boundaries, hands-off parenting. It is about parenting and parenting well. It is about saying YES to being there for everything. It is about saying YES to exploring the world with and through the lens of a child.

    Written by on May 28, 2015
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    I get what the Foreman’s are trying to say, they didn’t want to limit their children’s (who are now grown) view of the world – but most parents I know aren’t going to just say hey, you want to do that, go for it – without looking at the cost involved and those may be more than just financial costs. I think the one thing I did glean from this book is I should say yes more – want to go to the park, yes. Can we take a walk? Yes. I do think that we, as parents, do say no too often and too much – saying yes gives us and our children more freedom.

    Written by Growing for Christ on May 28, 2015
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    Such a great book on a topic that I am extremely passionate about (thus the name of my blog!!). Mark and Jan are the parents of Tim and Jon Foreman…You know, from a little band called Switchfoot? In this book they teach about “Transparenting”. (Not sure if I made that word up.) Anyway, looking at the heart of the child and guiding them through love and discernment instead of harshness and discipline. The idea is to Never Say No when the child asks if you can play. Enjoying them while you can.

    I hope that what is taken from this book will be to really seek your child’s heart. When they are misbehaving, why? What’s really going on? Also, being able to say “sorry” when we are wrong and being transparent in our lives as we are the model of what they will become.

    Written by aTransParentMom on May 27, 2015
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    This book opened my eyes to a different way of looking at parenthood. Well, maybe not really different, but it opened my eyes to things I’m doing which are contrary to what I believe I SHOULD be doing. Never Say No is basically an invitation to lead your children to become the best they can be… to truly become who God is calling them to be. In essence, we need to spend more time saying “yes” to them than we spend saying “no.” It’s not saying that we don’t need to discipline and correct… it’s saying that we need to spend more time WITH our children. Understanding them. Guiding them. Letting them be free to find themselves. We need to help our kids understand that there is a greater purpose behind every choice they make, which develops character and strength. Not rules-oriented.

    Written by Grow Where You’re Planted on May 27, 2015
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    The book tells stories of their children growing up and how they dealt with the strange things that kids do. There are silly titles like Pizza with God and Thank You for Passing the Salt but when you read the chapter and learn what they mean. The great writing of the authors was wonderful to read and even better to learn all of the great insights that they had in raising kids. The best part was never saying no which seems like a silly statement for a parent to believe because setting limits is the major job of the parents like no swimming in shark infested water and no crossing the road without looking both ways but but the authors don’t want you not to set limits for your kids safety but they want to teach the children to make better decisions themselves without negative words like no!

    Written by NOVA Frugal Family on May 27, 2015
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    Walking from childhood to adolescence to adulthood with Mark and Jan was such an enlightening and fun ride. Like they said, “This is not a blueprint for parenting.” The Foreman’s do a wonderful job of painting a broad picture with excellent and practical advice on how to parent well all the while making the purpose Jesus.

    The tone of this book is that of parents that thoroughly enjoyed being parents and now grandparents. Listening and learning from those who love what they do, I think, can inspire that same authenticity in others.

    Wherever you are in your journey of parenthood or like me, just involved and invested in children around you, you will benefit from this book immensely. When you read this book sit down with a highlighter and get ready to underline!

    Written by Slow It Down on May 27, 2015


    Never Say No is an inspiring and intriguing book that welcomes to the reader into a journey of growth in parenting, a journey that doesn’t separate the parent from their child, but rather shows a parent and child can grow up together, hand-in-hand.

    Mark and Jan take alternating turns telling stories of their own upbringings and of their two sons, Jon and Tim.

    Mark and Jan do not dare label themselves as “parenting experts,” but only two people who have stories and lessons they’ve learned to tell. I found myself agreeing quite a bit with much of their parenting ideals, which fostered trust between me and the authors, while still finding I have much to glean from their journeys.

    Written by Under God’s Mighty Hand on May 25, 2015
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    Never Say No. If someone gave you this piece of parenting advice, what would you think? Chances are you’d think they were pretty crazy, right? I mean, that sounds like awful advice. Never say no? How will our kids learn boundaries? How will they learn how to overcome challenges? How will they learn that they are not the center of the universe? Never say no sounds like just the advice that would lead to a generation of spoiled kids who always get their way. Not the advice of parents raising Godly children who put others before themselves.

    And yet, when asked the question, “How did you raise your kids?” this is just the answer that Mark and Jan Foreman- parents of Switchfoot’s Jon and Tim Foreman- gave. And this is the topic they discuss in their new book, Never Say No.

    Written by A Modern Day Fairy Tale on May 25, 2015
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    I love these parents’ approach. I remember days when I would tell the kiddos no when they wanted me to get in the floor or go outside to play with them. I was too busy or mostly too tired. Just the other day my daughter made a comment about “that look” when I don’t really want to listen to what she has to say. She says dad has a look, too. That hit me hard. I want to be an involved parent. I know I have other things on my mind but when I’m conveying to my child(ren) that they aren’t important enough to be listened to, I am doing something wrong.

    While this book covers more than my need to listen enthusiastically to my children, that is what has spoken to me the loudest while reading this book.

    Written by This Mom’s Delight on May 25, 2015
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    Definitely not what I expected! A fantastic tool, resource, guide and journal into parenting. It opened my eyes to my behaviours and helped me put into motion better parenting.

    Written by Working Mommy Journal on May 25, 2015


    Never Say No has challenged me to say yes more than I say no. I want kids who want to be with me, who have a deep, meaningful relationship with me. I also want my kids to believe they can do anything God has called them to do.

    Written by Cara Putman on May 24, 2015
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    I was not really sure what to expect with this book, as the title honestly caught me off guard. However, the very first page dove my into my doubts and also immediately hooked me on the book. Never Say No is a must-read parenting book and really taking each moment and enjoying it and enjoying your kids. This addresses picking battles and finding that right balance between limits, freedom and saying yes in order to spend time together with your children discovering their interests and building your relationship together.

    Written by Moments on May 23, 2015
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    Raising children is no easy task. It is probably one of the most overlooked responsibilities because so many people do it, and it is just seen as a normal part of the average person’s life. I immediately embraced the parenting style of Mark and Jan Foreman who embrace and cherish their children the way that God does to us. I love the intensity of this book as you read through and answer the questions at the end of each chapter to learn more about what kind of parent you are, and what things you can do to get the most out of your relationship with your children and theirs with you. Inspiring, thought-provoking and miraculous are a few words I would use to describe my feelings after reading through (and working through) this book. I would highly recommend this book to any person with kids!

    Written by Momma of 2 Review on May 22, 2015
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    Never Say No surprised me and challenged me as a parent. I have to admit that I’ve held onto many bad habits from my parents instead of creating my own parenting style. Mark and Jan tell great stories about raising their two sons and then use those as teachable moments and give practical advice.

    I love the fact that there are questions at the end of each chapter to help you really dig into the book and really examine your own parenting situation.

    I highly recommend this book for parents or future parents.

    Written by Small Biz Dad on May 22, 2015
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    There is a lot in the book, from stories the Foremans share about how they raised their children and the struggles they had along the way, to Biblical wisdom and questions to ponder as you examine your relationship with your children….

    As a result of reading this book, I am looking carefully at my daily activities and priorities, which also involves setting aside certain things, at least for a season, to have more time to spend with my children, showing interest in the things they’re passionate about and really listening to them as they talk to me. I have a long way to go, but I can already see the delight in their eyes as they realize they have my undivided attention.

    Written by Jennifer A. Janes on May 21, 2015
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    No means No. Maybe means No. Sometimes Yes turns into No. These are universal rules that most kids know. At least knew. But Mark and Jan Foreman are ushering in the Never Say No era of parenting in their book of the same title and this is not the over-indulgent yes to everything mode of parenting where everyone wins everything. This is parenting where there is always an alternative to NO. Finding alternative choices and paths that work for the individual are stressed over negative reinforcement. I really like the way this reinforces positive self-esteem and enhances problem solving skills. Not just for children but for parents as well. When we know we are being good parents and following our path, what does this teach our children? Simple yet profound, really. AND Never Say No even works on dogs. (See new puppy picture below). Instead of No, Don’t, Stop we are actually teaching our new dog of two weeks positive reinforcement and watching our eleven-year-old daughter implement these practices with him while we implement them with her. The Foremans CAN teach old dogs and new dogs these tricks!

    Written by Worth Getting in Bed For on May 21, 2015
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    Don’t be distracted by the title of the book. The Foremans certainly did tell their kids “no” when necessary. This book is more about helping your kids imaginations grow and challenging them as they get older. It’s about letting them fail. It’s about letting them try new things and change their minds. It’s about finding the best way to discipline as well as nurture each specific child. It’s about allowing your child to make mistakes and not flipping out about it. It’s about allowing your child to be a child in your home – and not having so much invested in your material possessions that they can’t build forts and have pillow fights.

    I think this book is well-written and it has great personal stories and advice throughout the book. I highly recommend it for parents to read.

    Written by The Talbert Report on May 20, 2015
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    Never say “No”….it may not sound like the best parenting advice, but I dare you to read further and allow Mark and Jan’s book to revolutionize the way you parent.

    The Bible tells us that all things in Christ are “yes”, so perhaps we could take this approach with our own children.

    Mark and Jan share personal stories and years of wisdom in the pages of this book, encouraging readers to examine their own parenting style.

    I especially liked the sections on discipline, sharing your faith with your children, inviting yourself into your childs playspace…everything was informative and just wonderful.

    The authors remind us parents that we are preparing our children for independent lives and guiding them to seek God’s plan.

    I highly recommend this book to parents!!!

    Written by JoJo’s Corner on May 20, 2015


    Written in a personal, down to earth style, the writers have captured the essence of what most Christian parents want for their children. I was humbled and inspired as I read. I want this for my children. The stories and examples shared gave me a jumping off point and the concepts, while to the point, also left room for individuality. This is the parenting book that I will be recommending to everyone. It’s just that good.

    Written by Book Reviews by Tima on May 20, 2015
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    I would recommend this life changing book to anyone who is seeking a new book about Christian parenting and raising children. I liked that they covered a wide range of topics that they have learned in raising their two boys. I liked how Mark and Jan shared how it is important to never say no to our children. They strongly believed that always saying no to our children when they ask us to play with them can have such a negative impact on their lives that they will eventually stop asking us to play with them. I also liked how they covered how critical it is to make sure we fill our children’s love tank by speaking their love language. They also noticed that when their children love tank was full, they didn’t act out as much.

    Written by Andrew Smith’s Blog on May 19, 2015
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    When I read a good book, I find myself with my pencil, underlining here and there the little things that stick out, or that I want to remember. I have worn out my pencil on this book. I think I might have underlined more than I didn’t. I have stars marking specific sections, I have notes to myself in it. And I have plans to re-read this amazing book as soon as I can with my husband and go through it slowly and digest it even more, and work through each of the questions at the end of each chapter.

    Written by Book Reivews on May 19, 2015
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    Mark and Jan Foreman’s new book “Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids” is by far one of the best parenting books I have read.

    Written by Reading Corner Reviews & More on May 18, 2015
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    A lot of the stories Mark and Jan Foreman share in Never Say No are actually not painting them in the best light.

    It’s how they’ve learned in dealing with their children and their own upbringings: which parts they’ve chosen to rewrite and the freedom for their readers to do the same thing. It’s a lot of common sense. And it’s asking the question: If I’m keeping them alive, what am I keeping them alive for?

    What makes the Foremans’ message so attractive is the fact that their view of Christianity is not that Christianity is Christianity, but that it’s how they’re living out their lives. This book offers a look at Christianity on a life level – relatable and genuine and personable in the same way Switchfoot’s music and lyrics are, and the way they live their lives.

    Written by Emily McFarlan Miller | Seek truth and report it on May 18, 2015
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    I enjoyed this parenting book! It is written in a great style for busy parents, this book is filled with great ideas on how to parent creatively, raising kids to best use their unique gifts. I love some of their creative ideas on how to make family dinners and time together as a family more fun and meaningful! They use a great combination of personal experiences, stories, and scriptures to bring home important points.
    This is a wonderful parenting tool that I will return to again and again.
    I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

    Written by Inklings and Notions on May 18, 2015
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    There is something to say for having a great title. When I first saw this book come through my emails – I wanted to read it solely for the purpose of finding out what the Foreman’s had to say about parenting – based on the title Never Say No. And they raised two creative children (Switchfoot) and I want to know how to bring out my sons’ creativity.

    I was really surprised by this book and how much I liked it. It was practical, not at all saying your children should run the home or the universe. They had an underlying focus on the grace that Jesus offered to us at the cross, and how that enables us to parent with eyes focused on Him and handing out more grace. “Everything is grace. Be thankful. Give grace away.” (pg 21)

    Written by Kcreatives on May 16, 2015
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    There are several Christian parenting books out there but very few that take us through the imaginative and inspiring parenting world of YES. Mark and Jan Foreman’s new book Never Say No: Raising Big Picture Kids is by far one of the best parenting books I have read in years!

    Many words have been used to describe the book including: holistic, road map, inspiring, wise, authentic and game changing. I agree wholeheartedly. The central theme of the book is the premise that “God is one big YES for us, and we want to pay it forward to our own kids.”

    This book will challenge you to connect with the heart of your child and delight in raising wise young people who will one day leave your home well-rounded and ready to take on the world!

    Written by Istoriaville on May 16, 2015
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    There’s a lot of information to digest, so you shouldn’t try to get through it in one quick sitting. At the end of each chapter, there are questions for you to ask yourself and your spouse, to get a better idea of what you’re currently doing right and wrong in your parenting. You can really tell that they both love the the Lord so much and they both love their boys fiercely. They don’t claim to be perfect parents. But the mistakes they made, as well as the successes they had, can help all other parents with their own child-raising. The book’s like a mix of a parenting help book, a memoir and a devotional. I love the book and would recommend it to all parents.

    Written by Busy Being Blessed on May 15, 2015
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    This book the experience of one family and the facts of how they defined their family culture to success. These experiences are taken to find general principles that lead to effective parenting. There are a great many words of wisdom to be found in this book, and I believe that many parents will find this to be a challenge to do something different and to focus on their relationships with their children. While the decisions that they made may not be the same as all the decisions that we have made in our family (because of our different family cultures), I believe that they’ve produced a beautiful book that is a stepping stone for a family wanting to step into a more grace-based or gentle parenting approach.

    Written by Raventhreads on May 15, 2015
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