Development of the frontal lobe is critical to acquisition, execution, and control of a wide range of functions, from basic motor response to complex decision-making. These functions are influenced by contingency-based (e.g., reward and response-cost/punishment) feedback that is mediated through the adaptive integration of fronto-subcortical neural circuitry. The frontal lobe manages incoming information and chooses the appropriate action based on one's goals in a particular context. This aspect of frontal function, while only one component, is crucial to development and maintenance of approach and avoidance behavior central to all human (and animal) behavior. Furthermore, disruptions in fronto-subcortical circuitry governing motivated behavior appear to contribute to a range of developmental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and confer vulnerability for psychopathology more broadly. The particular deficits that manifest in altered behavior depend upon the specific circuitry that is compromised due to the functional specificity of distinct regions of the frontal lobe and its interconnections with subcortical structures. Neurobiologic models of motivated behavior provide a valuable framework for characterizing developmental disorders from a transdiagnostic dimensional systems perspective. Improved characterization of approach and avoidance motivation across neurodevelopmental disorders has the potential to inform the development of novel interventions and personalized medicine.