The authors investigated young children's ability to decode the emotions of happiness and anger expressed by their parent and an adult stranger. Parents and adult strangers (encoders) were videotaped while describing events that had elicited happiness or anger. Children viewed brief clips edited from these videotapes and indicated the emotion that their parent or the stranger was expressing. With male encoders, only children's age predicted accuracy. With female encoders, mothers' expressive style and children's age interacted to predict children's decoding accuracy. Compared with older children of less positively expressive mothers, older children of more positively expressive mothers were more accurate overall, because they were better at recognizing happiness. In general, children were no more or less accurate in decoding their parent's emotions than they were in decoding an unknown adult's emotions.