Who says they don't come with a manual? Shore area parents can get instruction on raising kids with free parenting classes in Toms River.

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (S.T.E.P.) is being offered by the Municipal Alliance Coalition. S.T.E.P. parenting facilitator Christine Malinowski says they run the program in the spring and fall and will be expanding the program.

"We run about ten sessions for the family. They do receive a free handbook as part of the program and then they come in and meet with me. Their children are eligible to come along. I have high schoolers that volunteer and they come and baby sit the kids," explained Malinowski.

Classes for parents and guardians of children ages 3 to 6 take place Tuesday nights beginning February 18th. Classes for parents and guardians of children ages 5 to 11 are scheduled on Thursday nights beginning February 20th.

Malinowski said the classes offer guidance and support to anyone raising children. She said the parents themselves at first are unsure what they're going to encounter but soon realize that their are parents just like themselves participating and become a support for each other.

"It's a great program because they give strength to each other each time they come to session. the purpose of the program is that they have a group where they can come and share their experiences.

Malinowski said parents can register by calling her directly at 732-278-2378

For more information about a Municipal Alliance in your town call County Alliance Coordinator Mary Gibson at the Ocean County Health Department at (732) 341-9700 ext 7280