What is the parenting style Atticus uses with his kids in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus allows his children much more freedom and independence than most parents of the 1930s. While he is at work, the children have a free run of the neighborhood, and they fall under the even hand of their maid, Calpurnia. Atticus tries to lead by example: He always answers their questions in a straightforward manner, and his own honesty is unquestioned in the town. Atticus treats all people evenly and fairly, and he requests his children to "step into their skin" to see how others think and feel. He teaches them about humility by his silence on his marksmanship skills. He teaches them to trust others and turn the other cheek instead of using his fists. He allows his sister, Alexandra, to come and live with the family during the Tom Robinson trial, but he does not allow her strong will to override his own beliefs on how to handle his children. Atticus is not perfect: He, and Alexandra, both regret their decision to allow the children to walk unaccompanied to the Halloween carnival, after which they are attacked by Bob Ewell. But it is his own belief in the overall good nature of most people that forced him to disregard the depth of Ewell's hatred and retribution. In the end, the children see through their own experiences that most of what Atticus has taught them is true; and they recognize that, though older than most of their friends' parents, he is far from feeble and wiser than them all. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question