The current study investigated relations among maternal emotion socialization, children’s facial emotion recognition (FER), and children’s behavioral problems. A sample of 118 preschoolers (M
age = 41.96 months) and their mothers participated. Mothers reported their reactions to children’s negative emotions and rated children’s internalizing and externalizing problems by completing the Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale and Child Behavior Checklist, respectively. Children’s FER was assessed with a task that involved matching emotion labels to facial expressions. Results revealed that FER moderated the association between minimizing/punitive maternal reactions and children’s externalizing problems. Minimizing/punitive maternal reactions were found to positively correlate with externalizing problems in children with lower levels of FER, but not among children with high levels of FER. Exploratory analyses with child gender also suggested that the moderating effect of FER in the relation between minimizing/punitive maternal reactions and children’s internalizing problems applied only to boys, not to girls. The results highlight the importance of children’s FER and gender, in addition to maternal reactions to expressed emotion, in shaping their socioemotional adjustment.