Twenty preschool-age children with developmental delays and language impairment participated in this study, which compared fathers' and mothers' directiveness and parental stress. Similarities between fathers and mothers were found for turntaking control, response referents, and responses to the child's participation. However, fathers differed from mothers in two of the dimensions of directiveness examined: fathers used more response control and topic control than mothers. Both parents reported similarly low levels of child-related and parenting stress, but mothers perceived more stress than fathers related to the responsibilities associated with parenting a child with a handicap. Correlations between directiveness, child characteristics, and stress revealed that fathers used greater turntaking control and topic control with children who were developmentally less mature, whereas mothers used greater topic control with children who were less involved in interaction. Both fathers' and mothers' use of response control was positively related to stress. Implications for involving fathers in parent-focused intervention include screening father-child interactions before intervention, interpreting parent-child interaction styles in terms of their role in enhancing the child's social participation, and acknowledging the role of familial factors (such as stress) on interaction styles.