Strategies for Managing Angry or Hostile Adults

Topic: Behavior Management
Words: 399 Pages: 1

Aggression results from deep emotional responses, including a reaction to anger or threats, which triggers an emotional response in other persons. To deal effectively with aggression in others requires an understanding of how first to manage own emotional responses. In dealing with aggression, it is critical to respond appropriately to avoid further escalation of the situation that can make it harder to resolve (Reilly et al., 2019). Therefore, some strategies to use when dealing with angry or hostile adults include being self-aware, active listening, and remaining objective.


When dealing with hostile or angry adults, an individual should avoid any physical contact as it can cause provocation. Creating a friendly and open line of communication is important. It results in individuals feeling a sense of respect and eventually opening up about their frustrations, which prevents the situation from escalating to aggression. According to Gestwicki (2015), when talking to a hostile or angry adult, keep a low and assertive tone and remain calm. Talking calmly will encourage the adult to do so while keeping an assertive tone will help affirm one’s position.

Active Listening

Adults might become hostile or angry if they feel they are not being taken seriously or not listening to what they are saying. Most individuals are often so intent on getting their point across that they miss half of what is said. Allowing the adult to speak and listening to what they have to say often will help calm them down, and in many cases, some people just need to vent their frustrations (Faupel et al., 2017). Active listening also involves showing the angry person that they are being listened to and understanding whatever they are saying by engaging with them. While listening, it is important to remain empathetic and ask constructive questions to seek clarification on what is being said. Therefore, active listening is an essential skill for dealing with angry and hostile individuals.

Remaining Objective

Some aggressive situations are unlikely to be deliberate personal attacks. An individual can feel frustrated for several reasons ranging from personal stress to feeling intimidated; therefore, it is essential to remain calm and avoid taking the situation personally (Faupel et al., 2017). By remaining calm, it allows a person to understand that the other party is frustrated at issue itself and not towards an individual. It is also important not to react to any insults from the angry person.


Faupel, A., Herrick, E., & Sharp, P. M. (2017). Anger management: A practical guide for teachers. Routledge.

Gestwicki, C. (2015). Home, school, and community relations. Cengage Learning.

Reilly, P., & Shopshire, M. S. (2019). Anger management for substance use disorder and mental health clients: A cognitive-behavioral therapy manual. US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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