NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people wait years for their senior prom, but now it’s not only high schoolers preparing for the milestone — it’s also pre-schoolers.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, ‘pre-k proms’ are all the rage, but not everybody is buying into the new trend.

“I did not go to prom, no,” Lisbeth Morales said.

And to this day she regrets it.

“I had an overprotective mom,” she said, “No dances, no prom.”

For many, senior prom is an occasion not to be missed.

It’s a tradition that’s generally considered a right of passage into adulthood, but now –from tuxes and the gowns, to the corsages and the crowns — prom has gone pint-sized.

A growing number of schools both locally and across the country are hosting proms for the pre-k set.

“It’s adorable. Girls dancing with girls, boys running around,” Morales said.

The events often come complete with a DJ and photographer. Schools and parents post pictures and videos of the events online.

But is the cute new trend going too far?

“It’s a little weird,” one New Yorker said.

“Some of the pictures that I saw were low-cut gowns, you know, getting their hair done, putting makeup on,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, said.

Hafeez is a psychologist who specializes in working with children. She said a kids party is one thins, but a prom with all the primping and prepping can really blur the boundary between childhood and teenhood.

“One of the biggest consequences is that you are missing out on the innocence of childhood; of just playing around, and not having to think about what people think of you,” Hafeez said, “about what your hair looks like, or if this dress makes you look fat.”

Experts say it can create a lot of pressure at a very young age.

“That’s the other thing, the king and queen, like you’re basically identifying one or two children saying they’re better than you now. Older 17, 18, it’s still tough at that age. Can you imagine at age 5 you are looking at the other kids going, ‘Why is he better than me?'” Hafeez said.

Additionally Dr. Hafeez said proms are something kids should look forward to, a reward for their hard work.

“If you’re setting that example so early on, you’re basically teaching your children that every accomplishment is going to be celebrated. You want to praise your children and let them know that you are proud of them but this big production sends the wrong message,” Hafeez said.

Still, many parents are in favor of pre-k proms saying it gives children a chance to have fun in a safe and trusted environment.

 

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