How to Calm Down an Angry Mother

Feeling like she is not being heard will only make your mother angrier.
... Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

You have a lot to lose when your mother is angry. Whether it was your fault or hers, no problem will be solved when your mother is agitated. Helping your mother calm down will make it easier to troubleshoot the situation and find ways to fix it. You can help your mother de-escalate her emotions with patience, understanding and accountability.

Give your mother some time to calm down. Keep in mind that when a person is angry, the body goes into fight/flight mode. This response diminishes a person's ability to reason, and it will take about 20 minutes for the person to fully recover, explains John R. Schafer, who served as a behavioral analyst for the FBI, in his article "Controlling Angry People" for "Psychology Today." Postpone the conversation until later. Revisit the subject once your mother is visibly more calm and collected.

Allow your mother to vent and talk about what is bothering her. Actively listen to what she has to say without interrupting or judging her. "Once angry people vent their frustrations, they become more open to solutions because they think more clearly when they are not angry," explains Schafer.

Do your best to understand why your mother is angry. Was she worried because you came home past your curfew? Did she feel hurt that you forgot her birthday? Acknowledge and empathize with her feelings. Help your mother identify the feelings causing her anger by naming them. Use statements such as "I understand that you were worried because I didn't answer my phone."

Stay calm and collected. Take a deep breath and relax before you continue with the conversation. In his article "Ten Keys to Handling Unreasonable and Difficult People" for "Psychology Today," Preston Ni, a professor of communication studies, recommends counting to 10. He says,"by the time you reach 10, you would have figured out a better way of communicating the issue, so that you can reduce, instead of escalate the problem."

Take accountability for your role in the situation. Analyze how you could have done things differently to avoid this situation. Apologize to your mother for making her upset. Often, the angry person just needs to hear that the other person is taking responsibility for her actions. Ask what you can do to make reparations or fix the situation.

  • Pick your battles with your mother. If she seems to become upset regarding certain issues, try to avoid them or work around them. Don't try to always be right or have the last word. Avoid arguing about insignificant things.

Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.