The Barna group has a survey done with pre-teens, the age-group that appears to get little attention. It is poignant to me as my son will be reaching this age soon, and the majority of the children in our church are part of this age group.
The study underscored the importance of age 12 as a transition time for kids. At that point, young people are notably vulnerable to losing trust in their parents, losing interest in family activities, lean more toward popularity than morality, and question their future.
Often, we as the church, worry about teenagers the most, as we consider this stage the defining period for young adults. But perhaps it is the pre-teen years that are most important. If these children can make a confident and successful transition to teenhood, then perhaps they are on the right road.
From the conclusions it seems that the family is particularly key. I suppose it is because when the children become teenagers they can be a lot more independent and do not rely on their parents. If they get to their independent stage without a foundation of trust in their parents, then this will make things difficult.