This research examined two issues relevant to self-fulfilling prophecies. First, it examined whether children's risk for alcohol use, as indicated by their self-efficacy to refuse alcohol from peers, moderated their susceptibility to negative and positive self-fulfilling prophecy effects created by their mothers. Second, it explored behavioral mediators that could be involved in the self-fulfilling process between mothers and children. Longitudinal data from 540 mother–child dyads indicated that (1) low self-efficacy children were more susceptible to their mothers' positive than negative self-fulfilling effects, whereas high self-efficacy children's susceptibility did not vary, (2) mothers' global parenting and children's perception of their friends' alcohol use partially mediated mothers' self-fulfilling effects, and (3) these mediators contributed to low self-efficacy children's greater susceptibility to positive self-fulfilling prophecy effects. The power of self-fulfilling prophecies, their link to social problems, and the potential for mothers' favorable beliefs to have a protective influence on adolescent alcohol use are discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.