Children (n = 38) aged 3-15 y were randomly chosen, at the time of diabetes diagnosis, for conventional management at a hospital ward, or for treatment partly in a training apartment where the family was offered problem-based education and special therapeutic support. HbA1c, blood glucose stability, urinary C-peptide excretions and incidence of hypoglycaemic attacks and diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) were monitored and some standardized, self-estimated psychological tests were performed during the first 2 y after diagnosis. During the 3 y thereafter, HbA1c, presence of DKA, microalbuminuria, retinopathy and hypertension were monitored. None of the patients demonstrated signs of diabetes microangiopathy or DKA. The overall mean HbA1c level was 7.2% 5 y after diagnosis and 30% of the children had HbA1c values <6.3%. There were no differences in the HbA1c values for the patients treated by the different management regimens. Blood glucose variability (SD) was also similar, with 75% of the values in the range of 3-10 mmol/l. Patients with poor glycaemic control (mean HbA1c >8.3%) year 5 after diagnosis had already the second year after diagnosis significantly higher HbA1c values and blood glucose variability. The fathers of these patients demonstrated a higher degree of maladjustment. On the basis of increasing HbA1c values, high blood glucose variability and psychosocial risk factors such as their fathers' emotional responses, patients at risk for poor metabolic control in the future can be identified within 2 y after diagnosis. Efforts and resources can thus be focused at an early stage on this group.