The aims of treating epilepsy are to stop seizures, and to neutralize any associated cognitive or psychosocial penalty associated with epilepsy or its treatment. Inappropriate medication and/or continuance of seizures have deleterious effects on quality of life. The Epilepsy Task Force devised a 30-item questionnaire which was sent to children with epilepsy whose families are members of the British Epilepsy Association. The 896 replies which were received within the first two weeks have been analysed. Forty-two per cent of respondents had tonic-clonic seizures. Thirty-five per cent had had no seizures within the previous six months, but 29% reported seizures which occurred at least once a week. Although 42% didn't mind their seizures, the remaining respondents described their seizures as making them feel helpless, scared, panicky, frustrated and different from others. The most common medications were carbamazepine and sodium valproate. Side effects attributed to the medication included tiredness, difficulty in concentrating, dizziness, headache, irritability and weight gain. Thirty-six per cent said that their doctor had never explained about their epilepsy. The questionnaire included space for free-text comments and these were made by more than 400 respondents.