Glass Child

What is a glass child?

A child whose sibling requires all their parents' attention

A glass child is a child whose parents don't pay attention to them, because the parents are too busy with the child's special needs sibling(s). This term entered the public consciousness in 2010, via a TEDx talk, and then went viral on TikTok in 2023, thanks to an influx of videos discussing glass children's experiences.

Origin of glass child

TEDx speaker Alicia Maples popularized the term glass child, when she used it and explained its meaning during a talk she gave in 2010. According to Maples (who is a glass child herself), the siblings of children with special needs are called glass children "because our parents are so consumed with the needs of our brother and sisters that ... they look right through us, as though we're made of glass."


I'm tired of feeling like a glass child. I'm so ready to get out of this house
I'm with you, but also, you've gotta tell your parents how you feel
A glass child describing their experiences on Reddit
A glass child describing their experiences on Reddit

Related Slang


Updated August 4, 2023

Glass child definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Glass child" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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