Since coming to the US, I've learned a LOT about being a good parent.

One of the most admirable things I observe everyday about gwailo parents is how much patience and respect they have for their little ones.

If you are a parent, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The urge to snap. The propensity to scold. The quick fixes of threat and punishment to get your message across so your kids will just stay still for one damn moment.

In Malaysia, you will often see (or hear) mothers either scolding or screaming after their children in public places when they misbehave. If you stay long enough, you might even witness a few tight slaps before said children are being dragged kicking and screaming through a supermarket aisle or out of a park.

I think in the six months I've been here, I've only seen one mother who was more than stern in trying to keep her boy in line, who had a patch over his eye, which may be saying something. Most of the time, even when a lot of tears and whining are involved, American moms tend to keep their tempers in check very well, rationalising, explaining, soothing all unhappiness away without ever raising their voices up an iota – even when it seems that the child deserves a little more than that. At most, a stern warning of a time-out is issued.

How DO they do it? It seems inbred, this much patience and respect for little kids. Well, not inbred, inbred. Maybe it's all the cheese.

Or maybe, it's tricks like these. Isn't the toy time-out just the thing?

I am happy this positive attitude is rubbing off on me.

Look, kids. Mommy's growing!