The article develops the argument that successful management of normatively less expected life events and transitions requires from the individual a greater degree of self-regulatory skills than the management of normative events. It is argued that, based on recent historical change, individuals have to master both normative and non-normative developmental demands. With regard to the mastery of non-normative developmental demands, the individual may have to play a more important and active role to compensate for a lack of social structuring and normative orientation. Based on a discussion of literature from the areas of life-span psychology, life-course sociology, and self-regulation, evidence for the importance of the individual in adaptive regulation of non-normative developmental challenges is presented.

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