Atticus catches the children trying to send Boo Radley a note. He does give them a warning or a set of rules that the children are to follow:
Jem and Dill (with Scout looking on) try to send a message to Boo by tying it on a fishing pole and casting it toward his window. Because Dill fails to ring the bell which he is to use at the first sign of anyone approaching, Atticus catches them. Atticus gives them several rules to obey: They are not to play the game he had seen them playing, make fun of others, or go to the Radley Place unless they are invited.
Atticus often caught the children doing something in reference to the Radleys. One day he caught them play acting. The children were acting out a drama, each pretending to be one of the Radley family members. Atticus catches them with scissors. This time Atticus asked the children if what they are doing has anything to do with the Radleys. The children lie and say no. Atticus takes the scissors and walks away. Atticus could make his presence known almost silently. The children are sure he knows about their game:
One day when they are involved in the game, they fail to see Atticus approach. He asks them what they are doing, but Jem replies, “Nothing.” Atticus takes the scissors from them and asks them if the game has to do with the Radleys. Jem denies that it does and Atticus goes inside.
Atticus has a quiet way of disciplining the children. His message is effective. Atticus is often a silent observer. Nonetheless, the children know when he is upset. Scout wants to stop playing the game. Jem accuses her a being a girl. She indicates that she believes
Atticus knows about the game. This indicates that Scout does not want to upset Atticus. The children revere their father. They might think he is old and feeble, but deep down they respect him.