This study investigated father-child Activation Theory and the impact of activative fathering on children's dysregulation and social skills. The sample followed 145 families of typically developing children across ages 4 to 6. Fathering and mothering behaviors were coded via naturalistic observations at child age 4, children's dysregulation was coded during a laboratory puzzle task at age 5, and children's social skills were rated by parents and teachers at age 6. Results found support for a constellation of activative fathering behaviors unique to father-child interactions. Activative fathering, net of mothering behaviors, predicted decreased behavioral dysregulation one year later. Support was not found for moderation of the relation between activative fathering and children's dysregulation by paternal warmth, nor was support found for children's dysregulation as a mediator of the relation between activative fathering and children's social skills. These results suggest that parenting elements of father-child activation are unique to fathering and may be more broadly observable in naturalistic contexts not limited to play activities alone. Additionally, activative fathering appears to uniquely influence children's self-regulatory abilities above and beyond identical mothering behavior. In the present work, paternal warmth was not a necessary for activative fathering to positively contribute to children's regulatory abilities nor did children's dysregulation link activative fathering to social skills.