School’s back in session and fall soccer season is in full swing. Are you feeling it? This is the first time in six years I won’t be on the soccer sidelines, and I’m going to miss it! Youth travel soccer was a great experience for my son and my family made some great friends through our local soccer club. However, youth travel soccer was also my first exposure to “sports parents”—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So when the makers of Bad Parents, an independent comic film about soccer parents gone bad, asked me to take a look at their movie, I said, “Sure!”  As you can probably tell from the trailer below, Bad Parents is not a movie for the whole family. The film, which is not rated (edited to add: If I had to guess, I’d give it a PG-13, possibly R, for language and sexual humor), is a dark comedy about what happens when a suburban soccer club decides to go to an “A team/B team” philosophy for the upcoming season. It basically skewers the suburban, youth-sports-centric culture, especially the bad behavior of the parents. It’s told from the point of view of Kathy, a soccer mom played by none other than Janeane Garafalo (I’m a fan! Anything starring Garafolo, I’m giving a chance.).

So, the film is pretty funny. My husband and I not only had a few laughs but also a few moments of validation, having lived through almost the exact same scenario when my kid’s soccer club decided to split into “A” and “B” teams. I loved how writer/director Caytha Jentis, who wrote from her own experiences as a soccer mom, totally captured little moments that I also experienced as a soccer mom: How the parents all set their watches to keep time when the game starts, or the embarrassing “Mom cheers” on the sidelines (in our case, the team moms shook a can full of of coins when the kids scored). Speaking of cheerleaders, Cheri Oteri is also hilarious in the film and gives a subtle nod to her Saturday Night Live “Spartan Cheerleader” character. The cast is actually chock full of great comedic/character actors including Christopher Titus, Kristen Johnson, Michael Boatman, and Reiko Aylesworth.

The parents’ bad behavior is over-the-top in the film, but also included stuff I’ve seen in real life, and not just in soccer. Parents offering their kids material rewards if they score a goal? Check. Parents bad-mouthing the other children on the team? Check. Parents offering sexual favors to the trainer in order to get their kid preferential treatment? Oh thank goodness, I’ve never seen that in real life! As silly as this film can be, it does make you think, and examine your own behavior just a little bit. More importantly, it might make you wonder why youth sports brings out the worst in some parents, and what we can do about it. I mean, nobody wants to be “that parent.” Right?

To wrap up, the Bad Parents film is a quirky, funny, independent comedy and it’s worth a look if you’re looking for some laughs as a sports parent. Download it on iTunes or Amazon, or visit the film’s website here to learn more.

How NOT to be “That Parent”

And perhaps now I’ve got you wondering: Is your child’s sports success a little too important to you? Concerned you might be “that parent?” Not to worry. There are many resources that can help you develop appropriate behavior for sports parenting. Here are just a few:

Empowering Conversations with Your Child:  Tips for talking to your kid about sports from the Positive Coaching Alliance, including this: “Remind yourself that the youth sports experience belongs to your child, not to you.”

Janis Meredith: A wealth of knowledge from an experienced sports mom.

Sports Dad Hub: Blog with lots of tips and “mindset reminders” for “fueling your child’s passion for sports without burning him out.”

SportsParent Central twitter list I’ve started a twitter list of people I believe are posting great content to help sports parents make knowledgable decisions and help their children enjoy the youth sports experience. You can find it here. Feel free to suggest some additions.

Have you seen bad behavior on the sidelines in youth sports? Are you “That Parent” or do you know one? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment!

Disclosure: I was not compensated, nor did I receive any goods, in exchange for this post. Opinions are mine, all mine.

A big part of parenting now is being involved in kids’ media choices. As pop culture gets pushed down to younger and younger children, parents have to work harder to figure out which songs, games, movies and books are appropriate for their child’s age group. While the proliferation of technology makes our job harder in many ways, technology tools can also help parents in our quest to stay on top of the media our kids are consuming. Inspired by my friend Duong Sheahan’s post on her top five apps for college students, I decided to make a list of my favorite apps for what I call “conscious parenting.” Here are some apps I use to make media choices and to buy or rent books, music and movies.

Common Sense Media If you’ve never checked out Common Sense Media, you are missing out on a great parenting resource. This independent organization provides free reviews, advice and media literacy curriculum to help families and educators make good choices for kids of all ages. I love their 10-point mission, which reads more like a manifesto on “media sanity.” Reviews use child-development principles to determine age-appropriateness, but the site also lets kid and parent reviewers weigh in. The Common Sense Media app lets you read reviews of movies, games, TV shows, music, and more on the fly. Even better, the reviews are sorted by age so you can quickly find what is appropriate for your kid.

SoundHoundEver find yourself wondering whether that pop song on the radio is age-appropriate? Soundhound will help you figure that out pretty quickly. With this instant music recognition app, just let it “listen” to the song for a few seconds. Soundhound will identify the title and artist, and from there give you access to the lyrics. Take a look. Can you read them without blushing? Soundhound is also fun to use for identifying music you like, and finding new music you’ll enjoy.

Now that you know what’s age-appropriate, how to get that media quickly? Most of the parents I know are constantly on-the-go, so it makes sense to have apps that save time, like these:

Amazon.com: Assuming you already have an Amazon.com account, this app makes it super fast and easy to order books, movies, and music for your family.

Redbox:  If you like to rent movies from Redbox, you’ll love this app. It lets you find the movie you’re looking for at a Redbox near you, make sure it’s available, and reserve it for pickup. What could be easier? Again, it’s the on-the-fly convenience that makes this app so attractive. I’ve used it many times in the car on the way home from a soccer game.

Fandango: I use Fandango to find movie times near me. It also suggests nearby restaurants, if you’re planning a family night out. I  haven’t used it to actually purchase tickets yet. I find it to be reliable and quick, but I’d love suggestions on other movie apps.

Anything to add? What apps make parenting easier for you?