(The following is a Guest Post by my husband.)
If there's anything we've learned from our two teenage sons, it's that we have to be very clear with our answers. We realized a long time ago that for many children, repetition is the key to their learning (along with the occasional smack upside the head. I'm kidding.). So we often have to repeat our answers over and over and over and over again. This is not because they are intentionally disrespectful. It's because they are simply children and our words don't always seem to connect to the proper processing neurons in their developing brains until the third or fourth time we've said something (and this is based on years of unsubstantiated scientific evidence).
Needless to say (but for the benefit of the reader I'll say it anyway), whenever our sons ask me something and my answer is "NO", they will inevitably ask me at least 2 to 3 more times. My guess is that they either 1) didn't hear my answer the first time (this has happened on more than one occasion) or 2) are hoping that inundating me with the same question will somehow change my mind and I'll say "YES" (this is more often the case). But see, if I do that then my NO loses all of it's power. And Daddy must have all the power. It's rule #1 in the Book of Parenting. Didn't get your copy yet? I think it's out of print, but check Amazon.com to see if there are still a few used copies around.
So I can say that for the most part they've come to understand that when I say no, I mean NO and it's not up for discussion. Unless of course, it is. Surprisingly, my sons have pretty much figured out when my NO is a definitive no and when a little more prodding may get me to change my mind. For instance, we'd all gone to the beach a while ago before the current heat wave. It was maybe 60 degrees at the beach this particular afternoon. The boys asked me, "Dad, are you going to get into the water with us?" To which I replied, "Nooooo... it's way too cold!"