I know exactly what you were going through, whatever you did was wrong, even when you did go out of your way to be good things seemed to go wrong, and the end event was some form of punishement.
I arrived at harpenden at the age of eight, with almost two years of a Sister who had done 21 years of service, I could be controlled and things went reasonably smoothly, with just the odd physical punishment to keep me in some form of order.
Then came a replacement Houseparent, things were smooth for a short time then problems started between us, by the time she had put my head through a glass window and the Gov (Roycroft) had caned me over the event, it was on a downward spiral from that moment, there was the idea that I should be moved up to the Speial Unit at Harrogate, but as this would mean no visits from my mother due to the long distance, and it was then decided that as the local clinic could not see to my needs, I was to be removed from the NCH, it was just luck that my mother was able to take me back at the age of eleven.
They kept tabs on me for the following five years.
If they had only been able to sit me down alone during my stay and ask how things could be made better for the staff and myself during my time, things might have been easier. During my stay at Harpenden I was afraid of Roycroft, so could never take the courage to explain to him why things always seemed to go wrong, and that I was so often in trouble for what were really minor matters.
Telling my mother at the time would have done little good, she would never have believed the staff could punish in such ways.
It would not have mattered which cane you chose, they all hurt.