This paper reviews the concept of "benign" childhood epilepsies on the basis of the literature review and our own published work. The practical diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications of this concept and its limits are discussed and the main syndromes reported as "benign" are reviewed. The recognition of some childhood epileptic syndromes whose prognosis can be established from the onset of the disorder has proven very useful, but does not apply, by far, to all epileptic children. Other important informations on the natural history of various epilepsies, the knowledge of general favorable prognostic factors and the low relapse rate after drug withdrawal in many successfully treated cases has greatly helped the clinical management of many situations. There are numerous myths surrounding the diagnosis "epilepsy" which can have deleterious psychological consequences and which are important to recognize and fight. A globally "benign" final prognosis will depend as much on these factors as on the absolute number of seizures, the duration of the disease and the need for medical treatment.