girl going to bedHands down, one of the most frustrating and exhausting (literally) parts of parenting small children is the lack of sleep. From middle-of-the-night feedings to nightmares and kids who just don't want to sleep, there are a number of issues that leave parents red-eyed and in need of copious amounts of caffeine. But should it get this bad?

Nightline recently interviewed parents Danielle and Marcello (who don't want their last name used) who were so desperate for sleep, they took extreme action. Between their two children -- a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old -- they say they were staying up virtually all night long. Danielle said she was lucky if she was getting fours of sleep a night -- and not in a row. 

Both parents work full-time, and when they simply couldn't function anymore, they hired sleep consultants.

The service runs about $2,000, and it includes an overnight visit and follow-up support. That's a lot of dough! And the consultants admit that most families could do what they do themselves -- using things like controlled crying, black-out shades, and sound machines. But if parents aren't able to -- for whatever reason -- then isn't getting someone else to do it worth it?

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I suppose it depends on your budget, just how tired you are ... and the level of guilt you might have for farming out such a chore.

The fact these consultants even exist is worrisome to a degree. I mean, do children today really have more trouble sleeping than they did for hundreds of years before such a service existed? Are we really that bad at instilling good sleep habits at an early age? Or are parents today just more willing to throw up their hands and bring someone else in to do the job when they can't. 

I mean, you can hire people to do everything from potty train your kid to help them with their homework and remove lice from their head. Is it a good thing that parents are able to ask for and get help in areas that challenge them (or they don't want to deal with), or is it somehow cheating our children? Is taking the easy way out always a bad thing, or does it make sense sometimes?

I don't know. I suppose if parents have the cash and want to go this route, then that's their business. You just have to wonder if you start down that road of hiring experts when the parenting gets rough where else it may lead you and what message it sends your children.

Would you ever hire a consultant to help get your kids to sleep?

 

Image via ABC