The Long Term Effects of Glass Child Syndrome

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Glass child syndrome is a condition in which children experience intense fears, a general lack of focus, and isolation. This can lead to a number of problems, including anxiety and depression.

Often, siblings of disabled children are called “glass children” because their parents are so consumed with caring for the special child that they ignore the healthy sibling. This emotional neglect plays a huge role in their development and can affect them as adults.


Depression is a mental illness that causes you to feel sad or empty, and it may last for more than a few weeks. It can also interfere with your daily life and relationships.

People who have depression can talk to a mental health professional or take antidepressants to help them cope with their feelings. They may also have a physical exam or lab tests to see if they have another medical problem that could be causing their symptoms.

In some cases, depression may require hospital or residential treatment. Your doctor can also try electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which uses electrical currents to stimulate your brain.

Parents should understand that their children are facing unique challenges and don’t take their emotional health for granted. They should be skeptical of their statements that everything is fine, express unconditional love frequently and discuss glass child syndrome with them.


Glass children have a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders. This is because their brains are more vulnerable to anxiety-triggering events.

A traumatic experience, such as abuse, or ongoing stress, such as a prolonged illness, can cause anxiety. The condition can also be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias.

Genetics and the environment can also play a role in an individual’s vulnerability to anxiety. Twin studies suggest that 30-40 percent of individual differences in anxiety can be attributed to genetic factors, and environmental influences such as early trauma or parenting practices can also contribute.

Treatments for anxiety disorders include talk therapy and medication. In addition to medications, lifestyle changes, such as stress management techniques and meditation, can help patients manage their symptoms and make them less disruptive in their lives.

Behavioral Problems

Glass children are siblings who grow up in a home where the parents place disproportionate stress and energy on one child. This sibling may have an obvious physical disability, addiction, serious illness or significant behavioral issues.

Many children with these syndromes are also very prone to anxiety, tummy aches, headaches and inability to concentrate. They often avoid social situations because of these symptoms, and a physician might be able to diagnose them with anxiety disorder.

Although glass child syndrome is not a permanent condition, the long term effects of it can be devastating. Alicia Arenas is a speaker who has experienced it firsthand and now helps other parents with special needs children. She uses her experience to speak out against looking through the siblings of high-needs children and teaches people how to help their glass children.

Physical Problems

The long term effects of glass child syndrome are not only emotional but also physical. They are prone to anxiety and headaches, tummy aches and inability to concentrate.

The underlying problem is that parents place disproportionate stress and energy on one of their children. As the disabled child takes up most of their attention, the healthy child’s needs are not prioritized.

When a healthy child sees their disabled sibling with constant yelling, abuse, loud tantrums and breakdown episodes, they feel abandoned and pushed aside. This can lead to low self esteem and confidence.

Alicia Arenas has struggled with her glass child brother for many years. She uses her experiences to speak out against looking through siblings of special needs children. Taking a little time to help a glass child can make a world of difference in their lives.