Raising daughters: The father factor

Orlando dad plays key role in his daughter's success


ORLANDO, Fla. – One out of three children in the United States lives in a home without a biological dad. Are they missing out? New research suggests the answer is yes.

And for young girls, an involved dad may be especially important. In fact, studies show that dads give girls 90 percent of their self-esteem before age 12 , so getting involved early is important.

There  is a father-daughter duo in Orlando that's a winning combination on and off the court.

Nine-year-old Jaden Newman is a basketball prodigy.

"I started playing basketball when I was 3. My whole family played it, and I like it too," she said.

Jaden averages 14.5 points a game and has even scored as many as 63 points in her youth league. She practices between three and four hours every day.

Now she's a recruiting target of at least one Division I basketball program. She received a full recruiting packet from the University of Miami, as well as from several other colleges and has already made her first recruiting trip to campus,but Jaden's goals are even bigger.

"I want to be the first girl to go to the NBA," Jaden added.

So what's behind this 4-foot, 7-inch star's ambition and success? She credits her coach, who also happens to be her dad.

"He tells me to keep working harder, and if I miss a shot, he says that I'm going to make the next shot," said Jaden.

"On the court, I'm a coach, and you know, at home, I'm dad," said Jaden's father, Jamie Newman.

Jamie Newman, who isn't a bad shot himself, is there for every win and every loss.

"When you have a father who really makes an effort in their child's life, whether it is a son or a daughter, you will see how they flourish," he said.

Recent research shows dads matter when it comes to their daughters. Teen girls are seven-times more likely to become pregnant if they don't live with their fathers.

A study by the U.S. Department of Education found highly involved dads have students who are 43 percent more likely to earn mostly As in school.

And one recent report showed fathers who help with household chores like cooking, cleaning and laundry are more likely to raise daughters with less traditional, often higher-paying jobs. 

"They see all the stuff that I do, the cooking, the cleaning, all that type of stuff and she'll see it and be able to know how the house should be kept, how to be a wife and how to be a responsible parent and how to pick a good husband, because she has high standards to look up to," said Jamie Newman.

Jaden says having her dad involved in her passion motivates her even more.

"He's funny. He keeps me going," she said.

"Just the main thing is working hard, no matter what she does in life, just continue to work hard at it and she'll be rewarded," Jamie added. 

Jaden's older brother, 12-year-old Julian, is also a basketball phenomenon. Currently, he is the No. 1 point guard prospect in the nation for the class of 2020. 

See ESPN's story on 9-year-old Jaden Newman.