Your child with low self-esteem worries and frets about failing. He starts giving up quicker and easier. Finally, he just does not try. When your child is giving up too quickly and too easily, he is on his way to shutting down, although occasionally, giving up quickly is the last step and comes after not starting or trying.
Here is how it works. Fretting and worrying changed to giving up quickly and easily. Criticism and angry reactions from adults or peers caused your youngster to give up. At some point, he just quit.
Your child asked himself, "What can I do?" This was his answer. "Just go through the motions. Act like I'm trying. Stop as soon as they get off my back." Your child is not trying to succeed; he is only trying to keep things from getting worse. He does not want to be put down and hurt.
Your child needs to know you love him for who he is and not for how well he does. You accept him on an as-is basis. Respond positively anytime he makes an effort of any kind to please, especially when he is trying to please you.