Glass Child

What does Glass Child mean?

A child who doesn’t get their parents’ attention because it’s all given to their sibling

A glass child is a term that refers to a child who may feel overlooked or invisible to their parents due to the greater needs of a sibling with special needs. This term became widely known after a 2010 TEDx talk and later gained more attention through a series of TikTok videos in 2023 highlighting the experiences of these children.

The term was brought to the spotlight by a speaker named Emma Johnson during her TEDx presentation. Johnson, being a glass child herself, explained that siblings of children with special needs are often referred to as glass children, as their parents are so focused on the specialized needs of their other children that they seem to look straight through them, as if they were made of glass.

This phrase has since then become a symbol of the often unspoken experiences and emotional needs of these children who, while their sibling’s needs are being attended to, can feel as if they are being completely overlooked, like they’re invisible or made of glass.

In the present day, the term glass child has been widely shared and discussed on platforms like TikTok, bringing more awareness and understanding to these children’s experiences.

Example for using ‘Glass Child’ in a conversation

Hey, I’ve been feeling kinda invisible lately…

What do you mean? What’s going on?

Well, my little sister has special needs, and my parents are always focused on her…

Ah, I see. You’re a glass child…