How is Atticus with his children?" To Kill a Mockingbird

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus Finch, the lawyer of "To Kill a Mockingbird" is what a lawyer should be:  upright, tolerant of differences, altruistic, and stalwart.  With his children he is the same.  Atticus, who tolerantly allows his daughter to call him by his first name, is loving, spending time reading to her as well as listening.  He instructs her and her brother Jem wisely.  For instance, when Scout asks if her family is poor, Atticus does not reply with a simple yes or no.  Instead, he explains that they are poor because the farmers, who pay him, are poor and cannot afford to give him money as payment for his services. When Jem damages the camilla bushes of an old lady who is very unpleasant to the children, Atticus tells Jem that he must read to her.  While Jem reads, he and Scout learn of her addiction to morphine and her fight as she dies.  Mr. Finch allows his children to witness the trial of Tom Robinson so that they will perceive prejudice and learn that truth knows no color.  While some of his child-rearing practices are unorthodox, his motives are highly ethical.

Mr. Finch's kind nature is also evidenced in his wish that the children not have shoot guns:  "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back year, but I know you'll go after birds.  Shoot...bluejays..if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Later on, the children remember this lesson as Tom Robinson unwittingly becomes a "mockingbird."

engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus is both stern and fair as a father. He takes the time to explain answers to his children's questions at various points throughout the book, and the close-knit nature of their family is well-illustrated.

One atypical feature of the father-child relationship of this era, as illustrated in To Kill a Mockingbird, is that both kids call Atticus by his first name, rather than regularly using "Dad" or "Daddy" or even "Pa." Their affectionate submission to him is shown by their use of his "official" title.

Atticus does not say that the children should stay clear of guns altogether, but rather, uses the "sin to kill a mockingbird" story as an illustration of humanity and civility; both traits that the old south was known for, even in times of turmoil.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He is an amazing parent.  He loves his kids, but does not allow them to get away with poor behavior.  He takes every opportunity to teach his children a lesson that will help mold them into wonderfully productive and fair citizens.  I admire him and wish we had more parents like him today.

zumba96 | Student

He is a great parent and he takes the time in order to influence his kids so they can be the best they could be. Atticus instills a sense of justice within the kids and explains that it is right to love everyone no matter the race. He also taught them to fight back with words instead of fists. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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