Dark details prompted one mother to call for immediate help.

*Featured image contains photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Every parent wants to believe in the best of their children because many parents — especially moms — have unconditional love for their babies. So it’s hard to imagine the gamut of feelings one mother felt when she realized her growing child was contending with dark thoughts. What she did next, however, may have saved hundreds of lives.

The Dark Discovery One Mom Made in Her Son’s Room

messy bedroom
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Back in 2019, a mother named Nichole Schubert was cleaning her house and her 17-year-old son’s room when she came across his journal. Inside were detailed plans about how he would kill her and then attack his Washington high school.

Schubert was shocked, sad, and devastated. “It was very descriptive,” she later recalled in an interview with Good Morning America. “It was just heartbreaking. I didn’t really want to know the details,” she continued. “That’s my child; I gave birth to him. It hurts a lot. It still hurts.”

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The mom recalled how her first reaction was to protect her kid. Still, she was worried about how detailed the plans were, and she eventually decided to call authorities for help.

“Your first instinct, as a parent, is to protect your child. But at that point, I felt like if he is actually going to do these things, he would be safer [with help],” Schubert explained in the interview.

It wasn’t just about me and him at that point. It was about a whole school — hundreds of people, hundreds of kids, children.

Nichole Schubert

In addition to calling authorities, Schubert handed in the notebook and revealed she had previously found what she thought was a homemade pipe bomb in her kid’s room. After police became involved, the boy explained that the journal was just a fantasy, not a real plan. However, he was arrested and pled guilty to a felony charge of threatening to bomb or injure property and misdemeanors for harassment.

As a result, the boy went through a mental evaluation, completed a rehabilitation program, and did community service afterward.

What One Mom Did After She Found Her Son’s Diary

In the interview, Schubert reiterated that she is sharing her story because she wants other parents, educators, and community volunteers to pay attention to the signs. With an increasing number of mass shootings and deaths in the States, she believes it’s essential to stay in kids’ business to keep them safe even though they hate it.

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“As parents, it’s our job to know what our kids are doing. Just be aware and watch for signs. Kids will normally tell you by their actions when something is wrong,” she said.

Obviously, we can’t control our children’s actions all the time. Who can? But there are signs that something’s not right.

Nichole Schubert

“I was in his room, you know? What are you doing? Where are you going? All the time. And he hated it. But he’s alive. And everyone’s alive, and he’s not in jail,” she continued.

How a Mom Proves the Importance of Being Aware of Warning Signs

This story is heartbreaking but also an important reminder that the layers of parenting are deep and complex. Schubert did what she believed to be the right thing that day, even though her son was extremely upset with her. Fast forward to today, and he’s working, hoping to go to college, and hasn’t been in trouble with the law since.

Whether you agree with Schubert calling authorities or not, she did get her son the help she believed he needed by paying attention to the signs. And that’s a prompt for parents everywhere who are quick to shrug off the signs when their kids are hurting or in need of help, simply because we’re used to seeing them daily or willfully ignoring a situation because we believe it will get better on its own.

According to Hopkins, there are several signs parents should always be wary of, especially when dealing with teens. Those can include:

  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision
  • Lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

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The university also suggests parents try and maintain open communication with children and try and keep them engaged in activities or organized sports where they can practice leadership skills and teamwork. Talk openly about depression if there’s a history in the family, make routine mental health screenings part of regular doctor visits, and if you do see any warning signs, don’t hesitate to ask for help and support.

Who knows what might have happened had Schubert not made the call she did that day. The takeaway is that she did make it, and although it was rough, things got better for her son. Sometimes, being a parent means following your instincts and doing the hard thing so that in the long run, they have the best shot and you have the best relationship possible.


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Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.