WASHINGTON (AP) — Even if your daughters don't pay much attention to politics, they'd be hard-pressed to have missed Donald Trump's attack of a former Miss Universe's weight or comments about a 400-pound hacker. It resonated with a 15-year-old who said this week the words damage girls' body image and asked Hillary Clinton how to help.
And it resonates with adolescent and mental health experts who say it's time to make clear to kids that they're more than their looks — even if a presidential candidate can get away with publicly degrading comments.
Girls are particularly at risk for having a distorted body image that can lead to eating disorders, regardless of their weight.
"For them to have that be reinforced by a presidential candidate, it really sets us back generations," said Dr. Jane Swedler, chief of adolescent medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York.
"We can't tell the kids just to turn him off, because that's not the answer," added mental health expert Linda Lucker Leibowitz of the University of Pennsylvania. A longtime school counselor, she is now associate director of school and mental health counseling at Penn's Graduate School of Education — and says parents, teachers and counselors alike need to talk with children of all ages about this kind of weight bullying.
Here's some advice for parents on dealing with these issues as they relate to the presidential election: