I am a big believer in the message of Rabbi Elazar (Avot 2), "Know how to respond to an apikorus."
To me, this is important not in terms of merely knowing how to counter criticism, but in terms of understanding our flaws, and correcting them. The apikorus, when not caught up in his personal baggage, can be the best "lie detector" for us, keeping us honest. Sometimes, the response to the apikorus is "You're right; I made a mistake."
With that in mind, here is a cartoon from a site called The Oatmeal, originally published as part of a broader piece criticizing the ideals as well as excesses of various western religions. [Some of the other cartoons are stronger examples, but the language isn't really for my blog.] You may need to click on it to get a clear image:
So, Jewish parents: How would you respond?
Is it entirely inapplicable to us, or too much of a caricature to be relevant?
Is it accurate in its depiction, but wrong because this is proper pedagogy?
Is it accurate in its depiction, and correct in its criticism?
None of the above?
My first instinct is that this criticism isn't about religion at all, but about poor parenting. On the other hand, religion can bring out the worst in parents, particularly those who don't have a clear understanding of the religion they are promoting. I can see insecure parents, who know they are supposed to market ideals they don't really understand, falling into the trap of this kind of parenting. So in a sense, it's an on-the-mark critique of the nexus of poor parenting and religious ignorance.
What say you?