AV1, Thanks for clarifying that part that the boys mum died when they were young meaning your friend really is then the only mother figure they really know . Personally I feel the boy should be given his space at this point . It took a while for her to have her own son or child for her husband if the son is just five could it be more to do with the boy feels left out now there is another boy in the family? Reading your responses to the posts here I do think your friend should leave well enough alone , nothing is broken so nothing needs fixing. Again it maybe the boy is going through his own issues nothing to do with his step mum. Two out of three Na pass mark , with her own little five year old son to care for she maybe better just leaving issues as they are IMHO.