Although children's active role in socialization has been long acknowledged, relevant research has typically focused on children's difficult temperament or negative behaviors that elicit coercive and adversarial processes, largely overlooking their capacity to act as positive, willing, even enthusiastic, active socialization agents. We studied the willing, receptive stance toward their mothers in a low-income sample of 186 children who were 24 to 44 months old. Confirmatory factor analysis supported a latent construct of willing stance, manifested as children's responsiveness to mothers in naturalistic interactions, responsive imitation in teaching contexts, and committed compliance with maternal prohibitions, all observed in the laboratory. Structural equation modeling analyses confirmed that ecological adversity undermined maternal responsiveness, and responsiveness, in turn, was linked to children's willing stance. A compromised willing stance predicted externalizing behavior problems, assessed 10 months later, and fully mediated the links between maternal responsiveness and those outcomes. Ecological adversity had a direct, unmediated effect on internalizing behavior problems. Considering children's active role as willing, receptive agents capable of embracing parental influence can lead to a more complete understanding of detrimental mechanisms that link ecological adversity with antisocial developmental pathways. It can also inform research on the normative socialization process, consistent with the objectives of developmental psychopathology.