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Masturbation is a harmless and ubiquitous habit with kids. In small children it should be no more alarming than thumb sucking, another annoying habit (for the adults in the area) that feels good for the child. In general, pleasurable or tension-releasing habits like masturbation, thumb sucking, and nail biting are reinforced in the brain by telling the child not to do them. If you have a young child who does it in front of the company, you are perfectly within your rights to explain that "we don't do that in the living room in front of the company." If you have the urge to spank your child over this or it is making you tense, call your doctor to discuss it. Lastly, remember that a lot of times these types of habits are most prominent when a child is bored. Stimulation of a child's mind will do wonders to keep him from stimulating other parts of the anatomy.