16 year old states she is going to live with her father

Tiffany - posted on 08/05/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )

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My daughter has lived in the same community since kindergarten. She is getting ready to enter her senior year in high school. I feel that this is a triumphant year for her with graduation, job prospects, sports, prom, and school activities she has participated in her whole life! Last night she told me that she was not coming home and that she planned to live in a neighboring state with her father. He has been living with his parents since our divorce 14 years ago. He does not work and when she visits him, she stays in a bunk above his bed. He has never acted as a parent but has definitely been a good buddy to both of my girls. My 19 year old is also living with him now and attending the local state university.
My reaction to the demand was: "No, you are not. I have legal custody and I will have the sheriff retrieve you." However, I am told that this could cause her to run away or commit suicide. I really don't know what to do. I feel that she may be happier with her father but I think that she is safer and will be more productive with me. I have devoted my life to parenting my children and I think I do a pretty good job. When my oldest graduated she went to live with her father and has since gotten a large graffiti like tattoo on her forearm, a piercing in her nose, and has failed (for the first time in her school career) several important classes. There isn't a lot of structure, rules or responsibilities with their dad so it is a very attractive environment for a teen.
Twice, in the past two weeks I have taken my daughters iphone because of the disrespectful way she was speaking to me. Once she told me "No" and the second time, she spoke to me in a condescending manner. I honestly think that losing her phone is what has prompted this decision. I feel as if I am being strong-armed and that giving in to her is allowing her to run from her problems. She has also recently suffered a break-up with a boyfriend and severed a long-term girl friendship. Which I am sure both of these issues play a role in her decision as well.
Sadly, she went up to her father's and told him that she is being mistreated because I reprimanded her by taking her phone. She has a habit of inaccurately depicting situations in which she is the victim and the whole world is against her. Her father has not spoken to me for over ten years. My husband has tried to communicate that my daughter over-dramatizes yet I believe this fell on deaf ears. My oldest has joined the band wagon and is now telling me that it would be best to let go over my daughter. I feel as if both of my children have betrayed me. I have centered my world around them and am devastated by their actions. I am not sure whether to help my child pack or fight to get her back.

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