Child of Rage

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6 and a half year old Beth Thomas, once labeled “The Child Of Rage” by HBO, tells the story of her healing from Reactive Attachment Disorder in a powerful story you will never forget. What happens when a child is deprived of love? What are the ramifications of a very young child be physically and sexually abused? What do you do when you are a naïve family who adopts a child who has been deeply damaged at a very young age? Can a young child really be capable of thoughts of murder? These are some of the issues which were addressed in the original HBO documentary Child of Rage which was produced in 1989. Child of Rage is the story of Beth, an extremely disturbed six year old who has seen more horrors than any child should have to endure. As the film opens, we hear the voice of a child screaming “I want to kill you mommy,” as the opening credits roll. This is the voice of Beth, a six-year-old child who had faced the loss of a mother, physical abuse, and sexual abuse all before the age of 19 months. Both Beth and her younger brother Jonathan were put up for adoption. They were adopted by a minister and his wife. This unsuspecting couple quickly learned that something was extremely wrong with Beth. This terrifying and disturbing documentary traces Beth as she goes through therapy in Colorado. The video explains that Beth suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, an inability to trust and attach to others. This is frequently caused by severe abuse or neglect. As Beth is questioned about the things she has done. When asked if she has ever stuck pins in people, Beth answers that she has. The reason that she gives for doing this is, “I wanted him to die.” She also confesses to wanting her mommy and daddy to die. Beth also answers questions about physically assaulting her brother and doing sexual things to him. What increases the twisted factor to this is Beth’s lack of any real emotion about what she is discussing. She is as laid back and nonchalant about these things as you would expect a child talking about there day at kindergarten to be. It is as if she has no conscience. Unfortunately, this is all too accurate of a way to look at it. Beth’s early traumas, experienced before the age of five, have affected her ability to care about others. She is unable to trust others because she had that trust broken and abused at such a tender age when the bonds of attachment are being formed. The good news is that RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), does not have to be permanent. Through intensive and exhausting therapy (both for the child and the adoptive, foster, or biological parent), a child can learn to love and trust again. As the video progresses, we see Beth beginning to feel remorse for the deeds that she has done. This is a chilling video that is not for the faint of heart. Although The video is 30 years old, it is still relevant today. RAD still exists. Very young children are still traumatized by severe abuse and neglect. And unsuspecting families are still victimized by these tiny victimize children turned victimizer. Child of Rage should be required reading for all foster, foster/adopt and adoptive families. You can view this video on youtube. It is divided into three parts totaling a little over 27 minutes.

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7 Comments / User Reviews

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  • Fling

    An interesting watch and very eerie. Its heartbreaking to see how a child is filled with thoughts of darkness like this. Does anyone know what happened to her and what she's doing now?

  • Guest

    As sad as it is to characterize someone with that word, I would have to say yes.. though no fault of her own, had she not received the help she did, she was on the path to pure destruction. And people would have paid with their lives eventually. 

  • Guest

    I watched this video when it came out on HBO when I was a teenager.. so about 20 something years ago..As a child watching this video, I really couldnt understand what was going on.  All I know is I thought this child was crazy!  But as Ive become an adult myself and met people who have been abused in some form or fashion, I come to see this video in a totally different light.  (Hey I was young and didnt understand because I had two parents who loved me!).  Its so sad to see the damaging effects abuse can have on a person.  Sadly, not everyone will get the help that she did.  I hear that she is doing well, and is a RN now.  I wonder how her brother turned out though. 

  • lolaloo

    Have you actually watch this video , if you have and this is the opinion you formed about this little girl then it is you who is the selfish, bullying , self absorbed scumbag . My god how anyone who sat and watch this video without being moved to tears and feeling nothing but extraordinary sympathy for her is beyond me . human compasion alone should of made your heart ache for her. You must be a heartless peice of shit.

  • Marymichelle

    The video isn't 30 years old. It's 23 years old.

  • Smigrobustus

    azz whoopin 101 should take care of this.  IF not, its just another selfish, bullying, self absorbed scumbag added to this world already FULL of "people" like this.

  • Guest

    I am no psychiatrist, but if there had been no intervention with this child, could we be witnessing the birth of a psychopath? 

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