A Blog Post about a Dumb Diary

What is a Diary? A diary is a private place where you can write about your feelings, thoughts, opinions, etc.—Basically, you can write whatever you want. Keeping a diary is a great idea because you can go back and read your old entries to see how you’ve grown.

But what is Dear Dumb Diary? Dear Dumb Diary is a book series written by Jim Benton aimed at the audience of children just beginning to read chapter books (suggested age is 9+). He teaches them to values of friendship through the experiences of a younggirl named Jamie Kelly.

As someone who has read Dear Dumb Diary books in the past, I believe it is the perfect way to reach children just when they start to read. Benton’s books are easy to read, have many visual depictions, and address problems that are “relatable” to young children—keeping them interested.

My topic of addressing the negative attitude towards attention seeking behavior is something that I wish to instill in people at a young age. Getting the message out to people when they are still learning how to interact socially with others will help shape all their future social relationships.

So, how am I going to do this? I am researching attention-seeking behavior in young children to try to figure out what larger message I want to send through my experiment. I am also looking online to find tips on how to write diary entries and why people write them. Lastly, I’m examining examples of entries from Benton’s books to help me get a better idea of how I’m going to tackle my topic in this genre.

Attention Seeking Behavior in Children:

  • Behavior is dependent on caretaker availability
  • The Dollard and Miller Theory- conditioned fear/anxiety model to deal with children’s separation anxiety- children fear when they are separated from their caretakers and feel relieved when they are reunited
  • Younger age- more attention seeking behavior towards parent of opposite sex
  • Correlation shown through experiment done with painting and caretaker interaction

Some tips I’ve found for Diary writing:

  • Be willing to write
  • Decide what you want to write
  • Set a timer so you aren’t writing for too long (unless this restricts your creativity)
  • Don’t stress over it
  • Starting to write is the hardest part and then the rest will flow
  • Decide when you want to write- will this be regular or just whenever you feel like you have something to write about?
  • Date your entries
  • Create an intro entry for your first entry
  • Write to your diary likes it’s a friend you completely trust
  • Ask yourself questions

Some reasons that people write Diaries:

  • Historical account of events
  • Potential Publication
  • Make given moment last forever
  • Tell your side of the story
  • Shed light on details of your life

Some conventions I’ve noticed in Benton’s entries:

  • “Dear Dumb Diary” to begin every entry
  • Date at the top of every entry
  • Talks about daily events
  • Includes personal stories
  • Short
  • Humorous
  • Dramatic
  • Sketches to demonstrate what she’s talking about
  • Very conversational tone- as if actually talking to Diary
  • Usually complaining about something
  • “Thinking out loud” style
  • Very descriptive language
  • Simple vocabulary
  • Vivid examples to illustrate points being made

Benton frames his “Diaries” surrounding a big singular event, focusing on the events that happen before, during, and after in multiple entries. I’m planning on mimicking Benton’s style of writing to write my own diary entries in the form of a novel, potentially using the same character of Jamie Kelly in order to address my topic of attention-seeking behavior in children. I hope to delve into the topic by creating personal experiences for Jamie that involve this type of behavior, it’s consequences, and how she feels about it. I’m playing around with the idea of including diary entries from both Jamie as well as another character I will create who is actually exhibiting the attention-seeking behavior. I will not be able to get super technical in this genre because it is directed at children and the message needs to be portrayed in a clear and simple manner.

This will be a little different from writing a personal diary as I will be writing from the perspective of a girl in elementary school/middle school. However, I believe that I will still be able to draw from my own experiences to help fabricate detailed stories to tell in the diary entries. I’m excited to draw upon the research I’ve done to send a message to children and maybe even their parents (who may be reading the book to their children). I want people to learn at a young age why attention-seeking behavior occurs and why it isn’t always something to be labeled as negative. Hopefully this book will help kids learn how to treat/act towards each other.

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