As a trauma-informed coach I sometimes run across a client who tells me something along these lines:
• no one ever pays attention to them, they feel unimportant
• they are lost in the shuffle of life
• their sibling/s always got the attention
• they weren’t cared for or loved
• they feel the need to be perfect
I’ve learned to pay attention.
This person could be:
1. someone from a large family
2. someone who listened to too much Smothers Brothers (I’m showing my age here! ;-))
3. someone who was a “glass child”
Glass Children have siblings who are mentally ill, disabled, present challenging behaviors, are Children Exposed to Trauma (CETT), etc.
Glass Children are looked through by their parents. The ill child gets most of the attention.
Glass Children are “the good kids” who go out of their way to not disappoint. They are seen as the child who needs less and this is a Godsend to the parents who are constantly stamping out physical, behavioral, emotional, and sometimes literal, fires from the unhealthy sibling.
Do you know a family in crisis? Do you know a glass child who could use some attention? Invite them to your home to hang out with your kids and keep them for dinner. If you're a family member with no children, ask to take them out for ice cream or a movie. Ask open ended questions to draw them out and get them to talk about themselves. If you're able, take the sibling who is sick for a few hours. You are giving the glass child and his parents precious time together.