A new viral trend calling out the “glass child syndrome” is flooding TikTok.
Many people who say they are glass children have been using the social media platform to share their experiences, family dynamics, and life stories.
What is a ‘glass child’?
A ‘glass child’ is someone who grew up with a sibling who their parents had to give more attention to.
Urban dictionary says: “Glass children are children who are growing up in a home with a sibling who takes up a disproportionate amount of parental energy. This can be a child with an obvious physical or emotional disability, it can be a child with an addiction, a serious illness, or significant behavioral issues.
“The siblings of this child are called glass children because their overwhelmed parents look at them and rather than see their needs…. look right through them.”
Traits include being more mature than their pears because they have been given more adult responsibilities, and some may feel that their needs were overlooked.
Experts have also suggested that they can feel hopelessness, isolation, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
The term was popularised in 2010 by Alicia Maples, who described being a glass child in a TED talk.
She had a sibling who had autism.
Why is it trending?
The phrase has reached a new audience after some who believe themselves to be “glass children” used TikTok to share their experiences.
The videos are usually accompanied by audio with the lyrics “Did you get enough love, my little dove? Why do you cry?”
One, who also grew up to be a family therapist, said: ” “If you grew up with a sibling who had a disability or was struggling in some way. They may have had a chronic illness or were just taking up a disproportionate amount of your parent’s energy; you might be considered what is known as a glass child.”
Another wrote, however, that: “I may be a ‘glass child’ but I got to meet the cast of Wizards of Waverly place for my sister’s wish trip and do tea parties with my grandma while she was doing chemo.
“Yeah my mom didn’t pay me as much attention but I also don’t have literal cancer.”