The relationship between a father and a daughter is something that has been cherished throughout the ages. Each plays a large role in the development and growth of in each others lives and personalities. The same is true for the relationship between Atticus and Scout in the novel To Kill a Mocking Bird.
The stereotypical father to a daughter is usually large, protective, and very kind. Atticus, however, does not fit the stereotype. He is kind, but unlike most fathers, he is tall and skinny, and just tends to read all day. Atticus does not fill the stereotype; however he is a father that parents his daughter with values and tolerance. He does play a role of father figure, but Atticus seems to be less of a father and more of a teacher in Scouts life. The way he instructs her about life, and about how to deal with people, it seems Atticus is attempting to be a teacher to Scout.
Atticus, in his wisdom and age, understands Scout very well, if not too well. We see Atticus as being almost omniscient in Scout, and Jem's lives. He is the rock and ever unchanging constant factor in their life and his influence is very heavy. Scout is almost a challenge to Atticus, as to how to rear his child to the best of his ability to shape her for the best of circumstances. Though he is her father, Atticus is a teacher and a mentor. His influence affects a lot of Scouts decisions, and Scout helps teach him about life as well.
Scout, being a young developing girl, has many changing aspects and thought processes. She tends to be unreliable, and ever-changing, and not at a slow pace either. Scout shows Atticus that kids don't yet know the basics; they need to be taught from the beginning, and need to learn quite a bit about etiquette and how to deal with other human beings. Her relationship with Atticus tends to be mostly that of a pupil to a teacher, but sometimes shifts slightly. In some instances, she fills the role of Atticus' daughter, and acts upon love as if related, rather than reason. For sure, Scout knows that she loves Atticus, and she knows he is her father and she respects him. She just does not always treat him like a father, and when she doesn't, she is his pupil. Scout has limited knowledge because of her age, and thusly, cannot understand Atticus as well as he understands her. Atticus tends to be an enigma to Scout, and reveals himself only when she asks questions, but not revealing himself all the way. She does not understand him in a way a daughter gets a father, but she does have the general knowledge of understand of how a student understands a master. This just furthers the point of their distant relationship. Thought Scout does not understand Atticus as Atticus does Scout, they still have a profound relationship that is almost air tight.
The sacred bond between daughter in father comes in many varieties and fashions, one of which being Teacher and Student. This happens to be the way that Atticus and Scout are, which does mean that they aren't as close as others. Scout is still developing in life, and her role in Atticus' life is changing, and eventually will take on an entirely different form. But as of now, Atticus tends to be the understanding teacher, while Scout is the ignorant pupil.
Sources: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee