What kind of father is Atticus and what values does he try to instill in Scout and Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus Finch raises his two children to be good people. He emphasizes the importance of empathy and, by extension, tolerance in the development of a moral sense.

One of the biggest lessons Atticus teaches Jem and Scout is the lesson of empathy: “you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes.” This lesson is applied to Scout's first grade teacher as well as to Boo Radley and others in the novel. 

The parenting style of Atticus Finch is rather calm and abiding. He does not go out of his way to control his children's behavior but does apply a firm and consistent hand when the behavior becomes negative.

Although he allows his children freedom to play and explore, he is also a firm disciplinarian, always teaching his children to think of how their actions affect others and devising punishments to teach his children valuable lessons.

There is a distinct moral bravery to Atticus Finch and he teaches his children to have the same bravery, always doing what is right regardless of what other people may think. Though he teaches strength in this way, he also has his soft side. 

As a father Atticus is affectionate with Jem and Scout, ready with a hug when they need comfort and available to spend time reading to them.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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