Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten (Review) Print
Have you ever felt like something was so essential that you were afraid to talk about it for fear that you wouldn’t be able to express how utterly important it was? That’s the way Nancy Thomas’s program, Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten, makes me feel. In essence, the program comes down to a couple of key questions presented by Thomas:

“If a new caregiver were to over-react and provide the extra nurturing and extra care involved in this intensive care program, what could be the harm? If a new caregiver were to under-react and not provide special nurturing and protection what could be the harm? Are you willing to take the risk?"

Thomas very carefully outlines the conditions that “put a baby at high risk for attachment problems and future behavior difficulties.” One such condition is the very act of adoption. Numerous additional factors range from unwanted pregnancy to pre-birth exposure to trauma to separation from primary caregiver (as must happen with any child not adopted at birth.) Our children are AT RISK.

Many of the families from A4everFamily did NOT see problems in the beginning. Many initially appeared to be adjusting well, poster children for “kids are resilient.” It was only later that many of us learned just how long a “honeymoon period” could be.

The beauty of Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten is that it can be done with ANY adopted child, regardless of whether the child is exhibiting attachment issues. It cannot harm a child, but it has the potential to prevent some problems, perhaps already simmering under the surface, from getting worse. Because the program begins upon the child’s arrival home, it promises to reach the child at the lowest possible level of neurological development. By reaching the child at a young age, the family may be able to wire parts of the brain in a healthy manner much easier than if they were to wait until the child is older and the brain has begun to “hardwire.” Even if the child is not a new arrival, the program can be successfully done if the child is still young.

The program is a commitment. For Phase One, a period of six weeks, the child is “kangaroo pouched.” Thomas outlines very specifically how this is to be accomplished and how the entire family can support the primary caregiver in re-bonding the child. Phase Two, the second six weeks, moves the child into a new phase of “limit setting and instruction.” By Phase Three, the child will respond to parenting used with “normal” or “attached” toddlers.

Many families at A4everFamily found themselves using some of the techniques outlined in Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten because an attachment therapist advised us or we found the technique buried in a book about healing children who’d undergone early separation. But we didn’t have a specific set of guidelines to follow for children who arrived home as infants and toddlers. If Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten had been available when my child came home, it could have saved us immense time, energy and heartache. My child, who experienced a long and beautiful honeymoon period, would have been one who didn’t initially appear to need a program like Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten. Looks can be deceiving, especially in a newly-arrived child. This is a program that every adoptive family should be encouraged to do with a newly arrived infant or toddler. It can’t hurt. But not doing the program just might.

For further information on Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten, visit the Nancy Thomas website.

If you are using Taming the Tiger While It’s a Kitten, you're welcome to join a discussion/support group here.

Written by Guest on 2008-10-01 02:35:51
I would like advice for my grandson who turns 4 next month. I am ordering "Taming The Tiger While It's a Kitten" but want to know if it would be effective for him?
Written by Host on 2008-10-01 13:21:09
Yes, it's effective for children under the age of 5. You might contact Nancy Thomas' organization and talk to them directly. Or encourage his primary caretaker to join the support group linked above.
Taming the Tiger
Written by Guest on 2009-08-16 18:49:35
We have spent the summer using the Taming the Tiger program with our almost 3 year old. It has made a tremendous difference. Our child is much calmer, aggression is way lower than it was etc. We still have challenges, but he is "healing" now instead of all of us just surviving.
Available in the UK
Written by Guest on 2009-09-02 03:44:21
Do you know if this is available in the UK. I see it is available for shipping but for the whopping price of $62 which seems quite pricy for something I have not seen yet. Thank you.
Adopting a RAD 5 year old
Written by Guest on 2013-04-24 15:51:05
We are adopting my 5 yr old niece, who suffers from RAD-any advice?? I've heard all the worst, and the hopes for the best, but I want experience baised opinions on what the first few months will be like and anything we can do to make them easier
Join a Support Group
Written by Host on 2013-04-26 09:53:10
You'll find a lot of really good support online that will likely lead you to local support. Check out ATN: 
Families on the Yahoo group, Attach China, are also very knowledgeable and your child does not have to be from China to join.

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