A Problem Child
Annika Williams (Leslie Stevens) and her husband Zeb (Carlton Wilborn), a Baptist minister, decide to add to their family by adopting Carl (Andy Scott Harris) who has been through a few foster homes. But soon after Carl movies in Annika becomes aware that there are two sides to Carl; the good kid who wants to impress Zeb but also a troubled side with anger issues leading to him being craftily vindictive towards her. Whilst initially the other members of the family don't see this side, it soon becomes clear that there is some thing off about Carl as they try to seek answers for his behaviour whilst trying to help him.
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) - a child traumatized at a young age or separated from their parents suffers a problem in bonding with others, acting up and prone to mood swings. That is my rewording of the same paragraph I found in several reviews of "Troubled Child", also known as "The Boarder", which features a foster child who has this issue. Now what I am going to say is that whilst "Troubled Child" brings to the attention of the audience RAD this movie could be about a number of different disorders as what we get is whilst we see the acts of a troubled child the focus of the movie is on the affect it has on others and the harmonious family dynamics being stressed.
What does that mean? Well for one we get to see the two sides of Carl who sucks up to Zeb but then when no one is looking is evil towards Annika, violent to animals, rude and so on. Of course eventually we learn about what causes Carl to act out like he was some sort of a "demon child" but a good portion of the movie focuses on his destructiveness from animal slaughter to pushing Annika out in front of a moving vehicle.
But what we also get is seeing the affect that Carl has on the family. Most of this centres on Annika pushed to breaking point by Carl's behaviour especially as Zeb wants to give Carl the benefit of the doubt, duped by his innocent behaviour and blinded by wanting to do right by Carl. We also see how their other children struggle as with Annika trying to get through to Carl it ends up taking up all her time. It gives a very good insight in to how the adoption a child who you have no history on can put a strain on even the most together family.
What this all boils down to is that from a point of educational entertainment "Troubled Child" works as it draws us into this situation where a newly adopted child causes stress in a family. As to how accurate this is to the true story on which it is based is another matter and I would say whilst the movie makes you aware of RAD some of it feels sensationalized to work as entertainment.