PARENTS should not tell their young teenage children that it is wrong to have sex.
This unusual piece of advice is part of a British campaign to involve mothers and fathers in sex education.
The advice warns parents against lecturing their teenagers as to what's 'right' and 'wrong' about sex.
They should curb their tongues for fear of discouraging youngsters from 'being open', according to the campaign.
Critics have slammed the advice as misguided and which would marginalise the role of parents.
While parents are not supposed to give moral guidance, they are encouraged to get their children to use condoms and other contraception from the age of 13.
They should offer to go with their teenagers to their GP or a sex advice clinic to get contraceptives, the advice recommended.
Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said that parents should assist teenage children if they are sexually active, reported the Daily Mail.
'We want parents to help young people to resist the pressure to have early sex, but also to explain the importance of using contraception if and when they do decide to have sex,' she said.
Officials at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said the minister's advice applies to parents whose children are 13 - three years under the legal age of consent.
The leaflet comes in the wake of the case of Alfie Patten, the 13-year-old boy who fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl and sparked a debate about how to cut rates of teenage parenthood.
Mrs Hughes and her colleagues have tried to revamp their failing 'teenage pregnancy strategy' - which is based on universal sex education and wide distribution of contraception - by ordering compulsory sex education in primary schools.
The attempt to recruit parents to give state-approved advice to their children is backed by the production of leaflets, to be available in pharmacies.
There will also be a £530,000 ($1.2m) handout to the FPA - once known as the Family Planning Association - to provide training for parents who want to advise their children on sex.
The leaflets said: 'Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what's right and wrong may discourage them from being open.'
According to the guidance leaflets, called Talking to your Teenager about Sex and Relationships, 'the more they understand, the more they are likely to make the right choices'.
The leaflet does not suggest that the right choice means delaying sex until the legal age of consent.
Parents are assured: 'Under the NHS, contraception and condoms are free and there are lots of safe and effective methods that are suitable for young people - encourage your teenager to visit their local clinic or GP so they can make a choice that's right for them.
'Why not offer to go with your daughter or encourage them to take a friend to support them?'
The Conservative Party's families spokesman Maria Miller said: 'Advice from government that tells parents not to talk to their children about what is right and wrong when it comes to sex and relationships is profoundly misguided.
'It is not the role of government to marginalise the critical role that parents have to play in helping their children form their values.'
The Times quoted Mr Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, as saying: 'The idea that the government is telling families not to pass on their values is outrageous.'
Author and researcher Patricia Morgan, who is completing a book on teenage pregnancy, said: 'All the evidence from the United States is that if parents say they disapprove of underage sex, the teenagers are less likely to do it.'
'If parents talk about underage sex and do not disapprove of it, the children go on to do it. It is pretty basic stuff,' she added.
'Parents are not allowed to know if their child is being given contraception or getting an abortion. But they are being told to teach their children about sex in a manner dictated by the state.'
This article was first published in The New Paper.