To provide data to guide physicians regarding the extent to which pediatric patients and their families should be involved in decision-making discussions by their health care teams, we compared the standard rounding procedure in a pediatric oncology unit (rounds conducted out of earshot) with bedside rounds in which management was discussed in front of patients and parents. Type of rounds was alternated in 2-week blocks for 4 months. The impact of the two types of rounds of 35 parents and children was studied. Parents preferred bedside rounds to standard rounds, and perceived increased opportunities to obtain information and ask questions. Parents and children differed in their reports of how much bedside rounds upset children. Older children, compared with younger children, more strongly disliked standard rounds; this appeared to be related to feelings of exclusion. The two types of rounds differed in their effectiveness in providing specific types of education to residents. The findings suggest that bedside rounds have a positive impact on parents' attitudes toward physicians, that they do not dilute the child's sense of relationship with the primary attending physician, and that they contribute to certain aspects of resident education.