Describe Atticus Finch as a parent in To Kill a Mockingbird. How does he treat his children, and what kinds of things does he want to teach them?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus as a parent is an example of fairness who treats his children well as being able to understand unfairness, and teaches them beliefs or ideas to live by. Atticus talks to his children, trying to explain the adult world.  The children are truly children at the beginning, playing make-believe games with Boo Radley as the villain.  Because it is innocent, no one gets hurt and all is well in their world.  When their father becomes the lawyer for Tom Robinson, their world changes.  Now, the unfairness of their world to people of color begins to affect them.  They begin to see how their father is treated for standing up for Tom or the housekeeper even in the face of his sister's criticism.  The children understand their father's insistence about not judging people, being respectful of all people no matter what others do, and above all, to stand up for their beliefs.

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Atticus Finch is a loving parent and a positive role model who is sympathetic to his children's needs. Atticus treats his children with respect and allows them to develop into independent individuals. He allows Scout to act like a tomboy and encourages Jem to become a football player. Whenever Jem and Scout get into altercations, Atticus treats them fairly by listening to both sides of their stories. Atticus instills a sense of moral responsibility into his children by teaching them important lessons in tolerance, respect, and perspective. He is honest with his children and takes time out of his day to explain certain terms and situations to Jem and Scout. Atticus wants his children to mature into morally upright individuals and leads by example. Atticus's children look up to him and develop into respectful, tolerant, and insightful individuals like their father. 

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