When Atticus reacts to Jem's Boo Radley game in To Kill a Mockingbird, what do you notice about the way he disciplines his children?
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Atticus played a little game with his children (and Dill) himself when he caught them playing the parts of the Radleys outside one day. They were busy playing "Chapter XXV, Book II of One Man's Family" when they spotted the previously unseen Atticus behind them, "slapping a rolled magazine against his knee." When he asked them what game they were playing, Jem lied. "Nothing," he told his father. When Atticus asked what the scissors were for, Jem again replied, "Nothing." When Atticus asked if the game had anything to do with the Radleys, Jem lied again.
"I hope it doesn't," he said shortly, and went inside the house.
Although Jem wanted to keep playing, Scout knew that Atticus' firm answer meant that bad things could happen if they continued. Jem argued that Atticus didn't tell them they couldn't continue playing, but Scout didn't want to risk the tanning Atticus had threatened. She was also pretty sure that her father was aware that Jem was lying, but he decided to give them another chance to mend their ways.
When Atticus did catch them later trying to send Boo a message on the end of a fishing pole, he warned them in stronger terms.
"I'm going to tell you something and tell you one time: stop tormenting that man."
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