I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n' cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

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I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

DAY-LONG sessions of watching YouTube, mac ’n’ cheese for breakfast and 11pm bedtimes may sound like any child’s dream routine.

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But this is reality — if they choose it — for Biba Tanya’s daughters Tabitha, seven, and Lola, four, who don’t have rules and are never told “no” by their mum.

I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

Global Tech News Daily

Biba Tanya with her daughters Tabitha, seven, and Lola, four

I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

Global Tech News Daily

Biba says: 'I never say ‘no’ to my kids'

Recently, TV presenter Davina McCall, 54, mum to Holly, 20, Tilly, 18 and Chester, 15, revealed she has lived by “never say no to a teenager”.

But Biba, 40, believes parents should ditch the word much earlier.

“I never say ‘no’ to my kids,” says Biba, who has lived in Portugal’s Algarve region with her girls since leaving Clitheroe, Lancs, in 2020 to “world-school” them.

She adds: “Tabitha and Lola don’t have bedtimes, are allowed to wake up when they want and dictate what they do all day, including what they eat.

“If more mums followed my lead, they would have healthier, happier children, with less tantrums, less stress and less mental health issues.”

Biba, a life coach and author, has never sent her daughters to school or nursery — so the entire day is theirs to play with, often until quite late.

She says: “The girls are frequently up past 10pm. We go on evening walks to the beach, stargazing or looking at the moon.

“The beauty of unschooling — where kids learn through life instead of in class — and me being self-employed is we don’t need to get up for anything.

“We never wake up to alarms.

“The girls sometimes ask for unhealthy food for breakfast like biscuits and mac ’n’ cheese, and I oblige.

“I just ask that they listen to their bodies and note how they feel afterwards. They rarely ask for processed crap, but I never deny them if they do.

“My four-year-old once asked to watch YouTube all day. I said: ‘Of course.’ But she came back crying two hours later, saying her head felt funny and she didn’t like the screen.

“By giving my girls responsibility, they naturally choose better habits.

“Strict parents only make kids more likely to rebel when out of sight.”

Biba adds: “Some people think I’m negligent.

“Others see how happy and healthy my children are and ask for my advice.

Tabitha and Lola don’t have bedtimes, are allowed to wake up when they want and dictate what they do all day, including what they eat.

Biba Tanya

“I get looks in public if my girls are doing something society deems dangerous and I’m just sitting there — especially when my seven-year-old is playing with knives or is climbing rock-faces barefoot.

“But I’m always watching and would step in if they were at risk.

“I’m teaching my children to listen to their bodies and respect their environment.

“It staggers me that kids in schools need permission to use the toilet or have a drink, and can be told ‘no’.

“My children have power over their lives. ‘No’ isn’t a word they hear.”

Her daughters’ dad lives in the UK and is in favour of their unorthodox upbringing

Biba says: “Their dad is very supportive of my decision to leave the UK. Although he misses the girls, he puts them first.

“He is still an enormous part of our lives, he just lives in a different country.”

But Biba has not always let her kids rule the roost, with her son Sebastian, 17, from a previous relationship, having led a much more structured childhood.

She says: “I was way too strict with Sebastian, who still lives in the UK with his dad.

If more mums followed my lead, they would have healthier, happier children, with less tantrums, less stress and less mental health issues.

Biba Tanya

“I had him in the Gina Ford (childcare author) routine, where feeds and nap times are scheduled to the minute. He went to nursery as soon as he was one.

“When I had my first girl, ten years later, I wanted to raise her differently.

“Eighteen months ago, when my eldest girl was five and my youngest two, I left the UK to start ‘world-schooling’ them, so they could learn from travel.

“We live in the Algarve now.

“The girls have dictated their own schedules ever since — so we spend most days at the beach.

“There are certain things I do daily — dancing, journaling and chanting — but it’s not mandatory for the girls to join in.”

TV’s Davina was introduced to the “never say no” idea by her friend Katie, and insists her children are now less stroppy.

She says: “Katie said, ‘When they get to their teenage years, you have to enter into a discussion with them as they are turning into young adults.’

I get looks in public if my girls are doing something society deems dangerous and I’m just sitting there — especially when my seven-year-old is playing with knives or is climbing rock-faces barefoot.

Biba Tanya

“I thought you got stricter with teenagers. I was like, ‘What? You’ve got to be kidding?’

But Katie said, ‘You will never have a teenager strop out of a room if you don’t say no.’”

Biba insists her kids have NEVER thrown temper tantrums.

She says: “I’ve not had to deal with these and they rarely ask to watch TV or eat sweets, as they prefer salad and fruit.

“I allow them to eat what they want but they have noticed how sugar and processed food make them feel.”

Biba, whose own parents were strict and sent her to boarding school, adds: “My kids will never be obese because they have a healthy, balanced diet.

“It’s the same with screen time.

“When I ask them what they want to do every morning, the answer is almost always to spend time outdoors, which I love.

The beauty of unschooling — where kids learn through life instead of in class — and me being self-employed is we don’t need to get up for anything.

Biba Tanya

“I don’t teach my kids.

“They have both naturally learned to read and write by being curious.

“People ask if they are ‘behind’ — but behind what?

“My four-year-old can name over 60 different edible herbs.

“My seven-year-old can cook a nutritious meal from scratch.

“The education system boxes every-thing off into subjects when there’s no need. It’s all just life.”

  • Follow Biba on Instagram at @biba_tanya/

I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

Life coach and author Biba says: 'Tabitha and Lola don’t have bedtimes, are allowed to wake up when they want and dictate what they do all day, including what they eat'

I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

Biba says: 'If more mums followed my lead, they would have healthier, happier children, with less tantrums, less stress and less mental health issues' Credit: Biba Tanya

I never say no to my kids, my 4-year-old stays up til 10pm & has mac ‘n’ cheese for breakfast – people call me negligent

Biba says: 'I don’t teach my kids. They have both naturally learned to read and write by being curious'

I’m a parenting expert – here’s the trick to disciplining your toddler WITHOUT telling them off

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