Let's be honest, nepotism is rampant in theatre communities. Whether it's professional settings, community or educational, directors casting their children in lead roles is practiced far and wide. While I don't agree with the practice and do find it more than a bit unethical, I've come to the realization that rather than getting stressed, I have two firm beliefs for those who do it:
1. Be honest and upfront about it.
2. Your child better pursue theatre in the future.
The first is rather obvious. If you are honest during the audition process and notify everyone that you'll be giving your son or daughter the lead role in that show, I might not agree with you but I'm not going to light torches and grab pitchforks over it. And it, at least, leads to a more honest audition process where the performers know exactly what roles are actually available.
But the second is a bit more complex. Because if you are going to give your child a lead role, that means you're purposefully not giving that opportunity to another performer. An opportunity that could be most beneficial in developing that performer's talent and versatility. Also, by practicing nepotism constantly, it could lead to other performers either losing interest in auditioning for you or theatre overall. Who knows how much talent was squandered because of nepotism in high school/community theatres over the years?
If you're son or daughter goes onto pursue theatre and a great career with it, fine, they used the opportunities you gave them and it worked out. In some cases this does happen, I know of at least four current Broadway performers whose journies can be traced back to their director parents casting them in lead roles.
But I've also seen the opposite where director parents give their children the lead roles and after high school or community theatre, they never perform again or go into an entirely different careers. When that happens, you've wasted priceless opportunities for other performers/students.
So if you want to give your children all the advantages of being in theatre by casting them in lead roles over others, I hope they use it to propel pursuing theatre, otherwise, the damage you're doing could be endless.